FIFA Puskas Award 2017: Final shortlist announced for Goal of the Year
FIFA have released the final shortlist of three nominees for the 2017 FIFA Puskas Award. The award is given to the player (male or female) who scores the "most beautiful" goal of the year and it is named in honour of Hungary and Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas.
The most popular inclusion in the list is Arsenal's Olivier Giroud who scored with a scorpion kick against Crystal Palace.
The other two nominees are Venezuela's Deyna Castellanos who scored against Cameroon and Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke who grabbed a goal against Orlando Pirates.
The final three were selected after an initial round of voting from the fans. There will now be a final round of voting and a total of votes from both rounds will decide the eventual winner.
The last day to vote on the FIFA website is 23 October - the same day as the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony which will be held in London.
1) Olivier Giroud vs Crystal Palace
The goal personifies the term 'Wengerball', coined after Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger set up teams to play beautiful football with many players involved in a move to score. In a Premier League match against Crystal Palace on New Year's Day, an Arsenal counter-attack saw Olivier Giroud score with a scorpion kick just a day after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had scored in a similar manner.
Giroud himself was involved in the counter-attack and his layoff was crucial in advancing the ball forward. As he sprinted into the box, Alexis Sanchez spotted the run and tried to lob the ball for him to volley. However, the lob fell behind Giroud who did not break his stride and used his heel to loop the ball over his head and beat the goalkeeper to score.
Surprisingly, Giroud lost out to Andy Carroll for the PL Goal of the Month and Emre Can for the PL Goal of the Season.
2) Deyna Castellanos vs Cameroon
When Venezuela played Cameroon in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, it would be a game to remember for Deyna Castellanos. She had already scored in the first half and Venezuela looked all set to claim all three points when Cameroon struck an equaliser in stoppage time (93rd minute).
While the South American side looked like they were ready to give up and settle for a point, Castellanos had an idea. As soon as the last Camerron player crossed the half-line following their celebrations, Venezuela kicked off and Castellanos let fly a shot from the centre circle, catching the goalkeeper unaware and grabbing a winner in the 95th minute!
3) Oscarine Masuluke vs Orlando Pirates
How often do you see a goalkeeper score a goal - that too a bicycle kick? Baroka FC's Oscarine Masuluke did one better - he made sure that was the equaliser in stoppage time!
With the Orlando Pirates leading 1-0 in the South African Premier Division match, Baroka had a corner kick late in the game. Masuluke left his goal behind and made his way into Orlando's box to ensure they had an extra man.
The delivery from the corner curled in and the Orlando goalkeeper punched it clear. The ball fell near Masuluke and as he followed the ball, he dropped to the floor and executed a bicycle kick in the process, beating the goalkeeper who was still recovering from the previous punch, to find the back of the net.