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40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History: #29 Arie Haan: Netherlands vs Italy ('78)

Anirudh Menon
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 15:58 IST

Arie Haan

Think the Netherlands of the 1970s, and your mind automatically makes the connections... totaalvoetbal... the long, shabby, lovely, hair... the beaded necklaces... the insane pressing - oh you don't know about the insane pressing? Watch this first, gegenpress kiss that bright orange backside - it's insane

- but what you don't really think of are long-range screamers. You know the kind, the one where someone standing some 30-40 yards out looks up, sees the keeper standing where he should be, decides, "You know what? F*** it. Imma leather this".

That's cos you think, 'surely that's too direct for this Dutch team, too mainstream, too vulgar.' but by Jove, are you wrong.

Arie Haan scored just 6 goals in his international career, a career he spent finishing runner-up at two World Cups (ergo, a rather decent career) and 2 of them were absolute blockbusters. The first one we are referring to is when he nonchalantly jogged down the middle of the field, look at a sea of West Germans part in front of him for no reason, and let fly from 25 yards - a howitzer that whistled past before anyone could say "OH MY DUTCH!"

But the best of the lot, the one that makes this list, was against Italy three days later. Playing against a very good Italian team, the Dutch had come from a goal down to equalise at 1-1; but with just about quarter of an hour to go, the men in Orange needed something to inspire them. And out of the shadows, stepped Haan. Literally.

No, seriously, one of the banks of floodlights at the Monumental threw the weirdest of shadows on the field, and taking the ball at his feet some 40 yards out, Haan moved quietly out of the giant shadow, looked at the great Dino Zoff in goal - and decided. "F*** it, Imma leather this".

And by God, did he!


That's how you hit a football. It won the Netherlands that match, and it's got Haan screaming in at #29 on our list of 40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History

Published 16 May 2018, 21:23 IST
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