Defenders are probably even more important for a team than their attacking players simply because of the fact that a team cannot lose if they do not concede a goal. However, they do not usually score a lot of goals as they lack the finishing touches of a striker or a midfielder. Moreover, they spend most of the time inside their own half and therefore, do not usually get the opportunity to score a goal.
Usually, most of the big games are decided by strikes from the attacking players and they are the ones who take the plaudits. It is very difficult even for the regular strikers and forwards to score in the finals of the major tournaments, as there is considerable pressure associated with those matches. Moreover, the finals of such tournaments are usually low-scoring affairs as most of the teams adopt a cautious strategy in them.
However, some defenders have managed to score match-winning goals in the finals of the major tournaments for their respective teams. Here are 3 such defenders that scored in the final of a major tournament.
#1. Ronald Koeman (Barcelona vs Sampdoria, 1992 European Cup)
Barca’s dream team were the favorites to win the European Cup final against Italian side Sampdoria. They had players like Michael Laudrup and Hristo Stoichkov in their side, but could not score more than 1 goal in the final. Koeman, who played as a sweeper, scored the all-important goal three minutes to the end of extra time to win the trophy for Barcelona.
Koeman scored the goal from a free-kick as he was a set-piece expert. He has actually scored 239 goals in his entire career and most of them came while playing for Barcelona. He used to take his free-kicks with considerable power and beat Gianluca Pagliuca, the Sampdoria goalkeeper, with a rasping shot.
That was Barcelona’s 2nd European Cup win and Koeman’s contribution to it was immense. He was also very solid defensively in that match. Barca did not allow Sampdoria to make a dramatic last-minute comeback and managed to hold onto the lead.