You will be aware, of course, of the FIFA Puskás award, an annual celebration of the best goal scored around the world. This year's edition features a typically strong field, and we at SB Nation Soccer sorted it all out last week. Now we turn our thoughts to a higher, nobler end. Goals are all well and good, but this ...
FIFA should have an own goal version of the Puskas— Steve Schmidt (@SchmidtXC) November 15, 2014
... is the most correct anybody's ever been about anything, on the internet at least.
FIFA don't, because FIFA have no sense of what's really important. So into the breach we step. We've combed through the archives -- well, YouTube -- and below, in alphabetical order, are what we consider to be the ten best own goals of the year. (Well, of the year running between 3rd October 2013 and 26 September 2014, which is FIFA's window for their version.) Watch them all. Love them all. Then, at the bottom, pick your favourite.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the inaugural SB Nation Soccer Sàksup Award. (Do you see what we did there?)
1. Joao Carlos, Boa Esporte
"Own goal" is a fun pair of words. So, too, is "diving header". Stick the latter in front of the former and the fun multiplies. And when you can add "from the goalkeeper" to the end, well, it's hard to think of a more pleasurable seven word sentence in the English language. Suitable for a family website, anyway.
We particularly like the way Joao Carlos' own goal is foreshadowed earlier in the break, as Boa Esporte's attack breaks down. First one of his colleagues fluffs a header, then another pings the ball into an unsuspecting face. Two peculiar acts of physical farce that hint at the glory to come. Also, pause the video at 25 seconds for a beautiful tableau on the nature of grief and man's place in a cruel universe that hates him and wants him to suffer.
2. Zamir Daudi, Viktoria Aschaffenburg
We've generally restricted this list to professionals -- laughing at amateurs and kids is cruel, you heartless monster, and so you'll have to wait for the honorable mentions down the bottom -- but this was too beautiful to leave out. The grand tragedy of Zamir Daudi's effort is the difficulty of the touch before. The ball has just bounced and is flashing back across him at pace, and with attackers lurking either side he has a vanishingly small margin for error. And he nails it. It's a beautiful touch, one that kills the danger stone dead.
Now, just to hack it clear.
3. Milan Gagic, Young Boys
You don't get many 20-yard left-foot half-volleys into the right net, let alone the wrong one, so even if he doesn't win today, Milan Gagic has pulled off something truly memorable. Though not quite as baffling a miscue as some on this list, the effortlessness of the swing is what really makes this one. As perfect a slice of imperfection as you could ever wish to see.
As with many
human tragedies own goals, Gagic's special moment is greeted with widespread laughter. The opposing players, who have to hide their mirth in a huddle, so as not to appear too cruel; the woman with the glasses in the crowd, whose day has absolutely been made; and the opposing manager, who can't quite keep the tickle of a smirk from crossing his face. Such joy spread by so simple a cock-up.
4. Marwin Hitz, FC Augsburg
Another fine piece of foreshadowing offered up by the footballing gods, who contrive to have Marwin Hitz save the ball with his face just seconds before scoring with that same, treacherous visage. We were a little unsure on whether to include this one, since it does look a lot like he loses consciousness as the ball crosses the line, but in the end we decided that he wouldn't mind. Hell, he might not even remember, which makes this victimless schadenfreude. Which might rather defeat the point, come to think of it ...
5. Philipp Hutter, Sturm Graz
Most of the goals on this list are local affairs, that unfold around the penalty area. Even the Boa Esporte one above, though it comes from a break, still hinges on the keepers failed attempt to claim the cross. But this is something very, very special. Sixty yards, two touches, and one completely inexplicable non-touch.
He gets the bounce wrong. He must get the bounce wrong. And in doing so, he proves one of the oldest footballing maxims of all: letting a gentle return header run under your fingers and into the net is one thing, but letting a gentle return header run under your fingers and into the net while you're wearing a giant yellow advert on your arse is quite another.
6. Izaldo, Nautico
Kudos to Izaldo here. Some people might take their first attempt at an own goal, a thumping miscued clearance that hammers into the bar and back again, as a sign that this wasn't going to be their day. That they should just get on with defending competently and leave the spectacular self-destruction for another time.
But not Izaldo. He kept the faith, and when the opportunity came again, he was ready. This does not slip! We go again! A routine header over the bar? No thank you!
7. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City
Vincent Kompany is many things. Captain of Manchester City. Kind of dull at the talking. One of the best centre halves in the world. But where there are some defenders who radiate assurance, such that any mistake seems almost unbelievable, Kompany plays every game in the manner of somebody forever on the edge of making a teribble mistake.
That he generally manages not to fall over the edge is what makes him so good. But it comes, every now and them. One of the crunching tackles is a beat too late and suddenly he's been sent off; one booming clearance goes slightly wrong and falls to the feet off an opponent. Or, as here, a swing of the left boot results in the ball looping up in almost precisely the opposite direction, stranding Joe Hart and just evading Jesus Navas' attempted karate clearance. And that's what you get with Kompany: as a fan of either side, you know that there's the potential in there. And as a neutral, there are few sights more enjoyable in the world than aggressively competent people doing aggressively incompetent things.
8. Nils Peterson, Werder Bremen
Gosh, what a glorious finish this is. A cushioned, curling, side-footed volley into the top corner. Look at the shape of it. Look at the arc. If Dimitar Berbatov had done that in the right end, the internet wouldn't have slept for a week. As it is, poor Nils Peterson has to come to terms with the sudden realisation that he's achieved the impossible. There's a striker wearing a protective mask, who is not the silliest looking person in that penalty box.
9. Stefan Seufurt, Schweinfurt
10. Eñaut Zubikarai, Real Sociedad
Finally, we turn to a gentler reprise of Marwin Hitz's It's A Knockout effort. Though not as obviously farcical, and so perhaps not as obviously funny, there's still something enjoyable about the fact that this happens at just the right speed to ensure that Zubikarai can (a) see it coming, (b) see it going, and (c) spend the rest of the game worrying about whether he might have been able to catch the thing. He couldn't have, of course, it was going far too fast. But still, it'll nag. Straight through his hands, it went.
Honourable mentions go to Rafael Marques, Giannis Kargas, an unnamed Everton U21 goalkeeper, Steven Gardner, Kolo Toure and Diego Lopez/whoever passed the ball to Diego Lopez. And a reminder: goals scored after the beginning of this October are excluded, because FIFA's calendar is all weird. So Christopher Kramer, Santiago Vergini ... you'll have to wait until next year.