18:15 reads the time on the clock as Suresh Singh gets the ball inside his own half. For the preceding eighteen minutes and fifteen seconds, Brazil had been clambering all over India, dominating possession, toying with the Indian lads and coming close to scoring multiple times – it was a combination of luck and stubborn, do-or-die defending that had kept the score at a respectable 1-0.
This passage of play was the best possession India had had, and as the ball was passed along the back comfortably, it was Singh who decided to look up and move it forward. What Singh, captain of the Indian team, saw was India’ s no.10 calling for it on the left touchline. He sends it across to him with a brilliant, raking, crossfield ball. Komal Thatal had been relatively quiet in this beginning period (like most of the others) but once he received the ball, you just knew something special was going to happen.
It’s that intangible, immeasurable feeling that one gets – the hairs on the back of the neck get ready to stand up, goosebumps start forming. He received the ball when it was 18:20, and by 18:27 the ball was nestling in the back of the Brazilian net.
What happened in that intervening seven seconds will go down in Indian footballing folklore. Jauntily skipping along with the ball, Thatal teased and tormented the Brazilian wingback Lucas before turning on the gas and whistling past the no.2. Brenner De Silva rushed back to try and tackle the Indian midfielder, but he was ignored with the nonchalance of a young man fully aware of his own capabilities. From there it was all instant – one little touch to get the ball out of his feet, one look up to see where the goalkeeper was and whooosh!, a curler right into the bottom corner.
It was, in a word (or a hashtag, as it were), #Amaze!
Here's the video of that historic goal -
India did go on to lose 3-1, but it was a superb display and the lads pushed the Brazilians to their limits - testing them much more than any of their previous opponents. When that list includes the likes of Russia, China and South Africa - the magnitude of the feat comes into sharp focus.