40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History: #23 Jared Borgetti - Mexico vs Italy ('02)
Jared Borgetti a.k.a. El Zorro del Desierto- The Desert Fox.
Hailing from the badlands of Mexico, Jared Borgetti was ready to take anything head on. Aye, you heard that right. One of the best headers of the game, Borgetti was the leading goalscorer for Mexico on the international stage until a little gem called Chicharito came up and claimed the throne.
When Mexico took on Italy in the 5th game of Group G in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Italians were expected to send 'em back to the desert. The Mexican attackers weren't given a chance against the indomitable trio of Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini and Fabio Cannavaro. Imagine the state of mind of an attacker who goes out on to the field after reading those names on the opponent's team sheet.
You'd be right if you thought most would sully their shorts but Jared Borgetti believed in his strengths and went about his business.
Now, Italy wanted a result. A draw would do and they would eventually eke it out at the end of 90 minutes. But it didn't happen before they were given a right scare by none other than the prolific Borgetti.
Mexico were knocking the ball around the park rather comfortably and for a while, it looked like nothing of note would pop up at the end of that. I cannot tell you just how wrong that thought would prove to be in an instance.
After a string of passes that saw the ball being shifted to the left, Cuauhtémoc Blanco saw Borgetti running towards the near post and lobbed the ball in the hopes of meeting him. The way the ball was dropping into the box, nobody would give any striker a chance. It's dipping and it's on the leftward edge of the 6-yard box.
But Borgetti, in one of the greatest tics of body adjustment, flicked the ball over the head of Gigi Buffon and into the far post to score one of the greatest headed goals the game has seen.
Borgetti really had nothing going for him. Neither did the ball have the pace nor was it falling at a place from where you'd tip an attacker to go hell for leather. He was running across the delivery and even his own momentum was against him. Worse yet, he had to outwit none other than Paolo Maldini in the air and also take the ball past Gigi freaking Buffon.
He shot all the odds in their faces and wheeled away in celebration of one of the best goals of the tournament and that's the reason why it finds a spot in our 40 Greatest Goals in World Cup history.Published 22 May 2018, 19:24 IST