Monday, July 10, 2006

Zidane's Inspirational Foul

"No-one celebrates a bad foul, but just as no-one celebrates a blazing fire in a carpet warehouse, it doesn't stop you having a good look." (Danny Baker) Simon Tyers rounds up football's 50 fouls that most warranted a stretch for assault and GBH.

1) Harald Schumacher v France, 1982 : Sometimes known as Toni, always known as the goalkeeper who all but killed Patrick Battiston. Referee's response : goal kick.

2) Mario David v Chile, 1962 : They didn't call it the Battle of Santiago for nothing, you know. David takes revenge on the Chilean who broke his team-mate's nose (see no. 15) by executing a perfect karate kick on his neck. Red card.

3) Eric Cantona v some French club, 1992 : You must know this one, it's shown all the time. Player releases ball; a second later Cantona jumps - jumps - in two-footed on the player's mid-leg region. Red card immediately.

4) Graeme Souness v Dynamo Bucharest, 1986 : Like Cantona, except the studs were in the groin. Hmm. Best not to think about that one for too long, really.

5) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer v Newcastle, 1997 : Man Utd, losing 1-0 in a match in the tense title race against Arsenal, get a last minute corner. The ball is cleared to Rob Lee. One on one, with 75 yards to go and a 10 yard start on Solskjaer. The baby-faced assasin finally catches up with him, after an exciting sprint, on the edge of the box, where Lee recieves a full-blooded two-footed challenge. Mind you, from a Man Utd perspective, it saved a certain goal, and so the end justified the means.

6) Steven Pressley v Aberdeen, 1998 : 'I can appreciate how it might have looked on TV but I've not doubts there was no malice in the tackle.' Pressley, obviously shrugging off any inconvenience that Smith's karate kick onto his head might have caused.

7) Julian Dicks v Chelsea, 1996 : Dicks goes unpunished, Spencer needs 30 stitches in his head after it meets the studs of Dicks' boot.

8) Mark Bosnich v Spurs, 1993 : Had it not happened on the same night that Matthew Simmons got his Warhol-esque 15 minutes of fame, Mark 'I'm Basil Fawlty, me, honest' Bosnich would have got more attention for knocking Klinsmann out. As it is, his knee-to-forehead-of-standing-Klinsmann assault remains a hazy memory for most. Including Jurgen himself, one suspects.

9) Jamaican player v Toros Neza, 1997 : One of the greatest fights in football history - ending with pre-English era Jamaicans bringing chairs, bricks and broken glass onto the pitch to aid their cause. Sadly, we can only pick one moment - about 7 seconds into the brawl, a Jamaican gets a full drop kick in the back.

10) Roy Keane v Crystal Palace, 1994 : Before this FA Cup semi-final replay, the two managers had appealed for calm between the fans after the first game had seen fighting that led to the death of a Palace fan. All the more ironic, then, that Keane should give Gareth Southgate a set of studs in the chest.

11) Eric Cantona v Swindon, 1994 : Eric's first sending-off in England, and no expense was spared either - a full set of right boot studs in John Moncur's chest, with the referee about six yards away.

12) Gianluca Pagliuca v Roma, 1993 : Pagliuca gets sent off on an occasional basis for professional fouls, but this is by far his best work. On a wet pitch, he starts the slide towards the onrushing striker from four yards out, and yet still packs enough energy into the, er, 'tackle' to send the player into a half-somersault which ends with him landing on his neck.

13) Leonardo v USA, 1994 : Kevin Keegan's pre-1998 finest commentating moment, as he defends the Brazilian's right to elbow Tab Ramos in the face, breaking his nose, by claiming that Ramos should have been disciplined for holding Leonardo's shirt, and thus any later actions should be nullified.

14) Paul Bosveldt v Man Utd, 1997 : Dennis Irwin nearly gets the lower part of his body snapped in two as Bosveldt's boots land halfway up his leg. The moment that turned the whole country behind United's European bid. If only for a few seconds.

15) Sanchez v Italy, 1962 : Back to Santiago, and the Chilean breaks Maschinot's nose with a punch that most of the heavyweight division would be proud of.

16) Marco Boogers v Man Utd, 1994 : Two things everyone knows about Boogers : he ended up living in a caravan, and he nearly cut Gary Neville's legs off with a wild challenge in his only West Ham appearence.

17) Cameroon team v Argentina, 1990 : A team effort - Caniggia avoids one hospital tackle, only to be sent flying by a second two-footed challenge. Yes, it wasn't just in the last World Cup that Cameroon earned their 'African Uruguay' tag.

18) Dennis Wise v Middlesbrough, 1998 : Gazza can give out the knocks, but he also gets them - his Coca-Cola Cup final enlivened by Wise's jump-in two-footed challenge on his right leg.

19) Willie Young v Arsenal, 1980 : Paul Allen, already the youngest player in this century's FA Cup Finals, would have scored a 'stuff of dreams' goal late on, had Young not crudely, but effectively, cut him down.

20) Ian Wright v Man Utd, 1997 : Some people claimed that Schmeichel wasn't actually touched by Wright's full-studs-on-leg-over-the-top-of-the-ball stamp, even though Wright later admitted it, and the two had to be seperated by police in the tunnel after Wright pushed away stewards and team-mates alike to get to Schmeichel, who he'd earlier claimed had racially abused him.

21) Alan Shearer v Leicester, 1998 : What's this doing here? The FA said he was only trying to free himself from Neil Lennon's legs, so why should we doubt them?

22) Giuseppe Bergomi v Norway, 1993 : Bergomi isn't one to hang around - sent off 15 seconds after coming on as sub after kicking a prone Norwegian in the face in a crucial World Cup qualifier.

23) Stuart Pearce v France, 1991 : A match better remembered for a) Graham Taylor dropping Lineker for David Hirst, b) Alan Shearer's first international goal, and c) Geoff Thomas single-handedly finishing his international career. What they don't remember is Psycho forcing a forward roll-cum-somersault out of a French midfielder who had let go of the ball a split second earlier.

24) Andoni Goicochea v Maradona, 1987 : The Butcher of Bilbao broke Maradona's right leg with a two footed challenge. He keeps the boot that made contact in a glass display case in his house. Charming.

25) David Batty v Tunisia, 1998 : OK, so Batty probably didn't mean to overhead-kick a Tunisian in the face so hard that Batty spun 180 degrees in the air...

26) Vinny Jones v Man City, 1990 : A normal Wimbledon-Man City old 1st Division game. Kick off. The ball is passed to the City striker. Who is promptly sent flying by Vinny. Three seconds in, and Jones breaks his own fastest league booking record (which stood at two seconds longer)

27) Julian Dicks v Man Utd, 1996 : Andy Cole was sent head over arse by a sliding two-footed challenge. Andy Gray nearly spontaneously combusted, while even David Mellor called Dicks an animal (Dicks amusingly threatened to sue)

28) Peter Schmeichel v Charlton, 1994 : A classic of the kamikaze goalkeeper collection - Kim Grant is sent flying 30 yards out by a goalkeeper seemingly oblivious to the fact that Rufus still had Paul Parker to beat. And to compound the action, Schmeichel handballed as well. A red resulted, although United still won 3-1.

29) Kevin Moran v Everton, 1985 : The first Cup final dismissal, and a challenge which Moran put everything into. I bet that in the days after United won that match someone said that they should have the Cup win rescinded because of the sending off.

30) Eric Cantona v Norwich, 1994 : The first sign, really, that Cantona was a 'bit of a livewire', as he kicked a passing Ian Butterworth in the stomach. Jimmy Hill complained, at which Alex Ferguson said that the BBC were Liverpool supporters. Incredibly (for the time), some people didn't think that was the case.

31) Faustino Asprilla v Man City, 1993 : Asprilla, in an early match for Newcastle, elbows Keith Curle in the face in the first half. Not content with that, he ends the match by headbutting him. Asprilla is eventually banned for four matches; curiously, Curle is also called before the FA, but let off.

32) Robbie Slater v West Ham, 1997 : Hugo Porfirio landed on the advertising boards a short distance away after being launched by a sliding challenge.

33) Barry Richardson v Macclesfield, 1998 : Richardson actually got his contract cancelled after kicking a prostrate opponent in the chest, launching a mass brawl.

34) Michael Owen v Manchester United, 1998 : Someone recently said that Owen had 'a rock solid temperament'. Having never seen his headbutt sending-off offence in an England U-18 game, we'll have to settle for his attempted disabling of Ronny Johnsen's ankles that got him dismissed.

35) Tommy Widdrington v Port Vale, 1993 : Vale veteran John Jeffers was launched into the air after a full-blooded foul by Widdrington.

36) Des Walker v Ipswich, 1993 : A forgotten classic which earned Walker a red card after the game, for headbutting John Wark on the back of the neck.

37) Joao Morais v Brazil, 1966 : For all Eusebio's brilliance in that World Cup, they could never quite shake off the memory of their player firstly upending Edson Arantes with a sliding tackle, and then, when he got up, going for the old favourite 'kick in the thigh' method that ruled Pele (who never played at Wembley, y'know) out of the rest of the tournament.

38) Neil Ruddock v Manchester United, 1996 : A reserve game, but no reserve in Ruddock's slide from four yards out that ended with Cole four feet in the air with his leg broken, and then landing so badly on the other one that he broke part of that as well.

39) Peter McParland v Manchester United, 1957 : In the 50's it was legal for strikers to shoulder-charge goalkeepers : McParland tried it on Ray Wood in that year's cup final, but only succeeded in knocking him out with a headbutt as well. Ah, but it was so much more gentlemanly in the old days...

40) Graeme Souness v Celtic, 1987 : Souness' player-managing debut. He spent the second half managing after kicking an opponent in a midfield tussle.

41) John Fashanu v Spurs, 1993 : Gary Mabbutt had his cheekbone fractured and had to train in a 'Phantom of the Opera-style mask' (TM : every newspaper ever). The case went to court, but was thrown out after Graham Kelly suggested that such challenges happen in every game on a regular basis. Right you are then, Graham.

42) David Batty v Chelsea, 1997 : Before the game, Batty, interviewed on Radio 5 Live, said that despite his hardman image, he'd never been sent off. Cut to a few hours later, and Batty had corrected that situation by jumping in with both feet on Eddie Newton.

43) Johnny Giles v Liverpool, 1974 : The Charity Shield ('but there's no charity here...') that ended with Keegan and Bremner sent off. Earlier in the game, Keegan had been decked magnificently via Giles' fist.

44) Mick Jones v Chelsea, 1970 : For foul watchers, the 1970 FA Cup Final replay was a classic of the genre, and never more so when Jones went in several hours late on Peter Bonetti.

45) Vinny Jones v Liverpool, 1989 : The Crazy Gang's most famous member sent the Culture Club's Alan Hansen flying with a sliding challenge.

46) Paul Gascoigne v Nottingham Forest, 1991 : Forget the Gary Charles challenge - Gazza's best moment of that Cup final came in the second minute when he introduced one set of his studs to Garry Parker's chest on a follow-through.

47) Zinedine Zidane v Saudi Arabia, 1998 : Zidane, who had had a magnificent game, clocked off early with a stamp on a prone Arabian's ankle.

48) Unknown Paraguayan v England, 1986 : Lineker scored a brace only after recieving treatment for an early elbow in the face that cameras only just spotted.

49) Ian Wright v Manchester United, 1997 : Earlier in the game that ended with no.20, Wright had been booked for nearly making Dennis Irwin the first Irishman in space.

50) Terry Fenwick v Argentina, 1986 : One of football's great mysteries : why, when he had sent Maradona flying in the first half of the same game, did Terry Fenwick react to the same player's later run towards goal by sticking his arm out hopefully?

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