An acrobatic soccer kick can be one of the most intensely athletic and beautiful things in the world of sports. Presented for your approval (as part of our continuing effort to write about the world’s most popular sport and the weird assholes who play it) are two examples of how true that is, and how unbelievably and epically horrible you look when you screw it up.
The first example (with a knee sock tip to Dirty Tackle) comes from the Barclays Asia Trophy semifinals between Chelsea and Kitchee, who are either soccer teams or teenage girls. Chelsea won the match 4-0, but the moment of the game (and perhaps the defining moment in effort leading to failure) comes from Yossi Benayoun. Watch closely at the :05 mark as Yossi approaches from the left. He goes for an overhead shot and kicks the ball directly into his face. I feel like any deeper analysis of the event would take away from its poetic sadness, although I’m tempted to type “Bend It like a mentally handicapped Beckham” and head to the photoshop.
Example two improves on Yossi’s game by eliminating the ball and kicking someone else’s face. The description, via Yardbarker:
Following a third-round game in a U-20 soccer tournament in Brazil on Monday, players from Sport Recife and Vasco de Gama began brawling. Just when things appeared to die down, Sport Recife goalkeeper Gustavo delivered a flying kick to the back of an unsuspecting Vasco da Gama player.
I can only hope he clapped his hands together and yelled BOOM, BOOM, BOOM before pulling that off.
I’m starting to understand why soccer is so popular: nobody has any idea what’s going on and everyone is crazy. It’s like the entire world’s in on a game of Calvinball, and the idea of “rules” and style of play are nonexistent and only defined by fans yelling their interpretations at each other. Pretty soon they’re going to get rid of the ball and the grass and just have lanky guys with shaved heads screaming and kicking each other.
I guess that’s when America will really start getting into it.