40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History: #37 Roger Milla - Cameroon vs Romania ('90)
- Roger Milla's dancing hips set the world alight - and this was the goal that captured the essence of his indomitable spirit.
It's the hips, those dancing hips.
Italia '90 had a lot of things going for it... Toto Schillaci playing the best football of his life, Diego Maradona trying to turn Naples against the Azzurri - and the rest of the country - Jurgen Klinsmann pretending it was the Olympics and he really had to win the 3m diving contest, Rene Higuita, some rather brilliant jerseys, and a lovely mascot.
But it's those dancing hips that encapsulate this World Cup, make it their own; Italia '90 was Roger Milla's World Cup.
38 years old, no longer able to play the full 90 - Roger Milla's half-hour cameos propelled Cameroon to unprecedented heights, hoisting them into the quarterfinals and boy did he do it in style. His first goal against Romania was all about his sheer never-say-die spirit and cool head under pressure, but it's his second that stands out:
Milla chases a half-clearance off a shank from Ioan Andone, beats Gheorghe Popescu to it thanks to a sudden burst of acceleration before embarking on the most aesthetically pleasing of arced runs that allows him to run onto François Omam-Biyik's headed lay-off, skip past Andone's despairing attempt to save it with a last-ditch tackle and absolutely leather it into the roof of the net.
Then, of course, the sprint to the corner flag and the dance that would immortalise Milla in the pantheons of the footballing hall of fame.
He would ensure that the mere utterance of the names Cameroon and Milla would bring smiles to an entire generation of football lovers.
He went on to score 4 goals in the tournament, win a penalty and set up a goal in the quarterfinals... all of this in his "super-sub" role but of the lot, it's this one we think captures the essence of the man.
Determination, footballing intelligence, skillful feet, and a jack-hammer of a shot, that goal was Roger Milla in a nutshell and that helps it slot in at a neat 37 on our list of 40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History.Published 08 May 2018, 15:15 IST