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In Pursuit of the Elusive Perfect Goal: 2008

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Welcome to what I hope you will experience as a four or five night midwinter-lull footie video festival, to warm your hearts and hearthsides as we trek together round the globe in search of the 2008 perfect goal…

This feature purports to represent many of the best goals of 2008 by way of video evidence. The brief remarks framing the video clips are intended mainly to provide relevant archival information—with, here and there, a bit of mostly enthusiastic appreciation,  amateur aesthetic critique, and common-fan gossip added in purely as stuffing.

It should perhaps be explained, to qualify the above, that the intent to provide relevant archival information was limited in important respects by several decisive factors.  First, the basic research for the piece was done by looking at video clips.  Of maybe 500 matches, containing maybe 2500 goals, which were then reduced down to a thousand, and then… well, you get the sad picture.  One’s two-week “holiday” (!) expedition to the Land of a Thousand Goals had its enthralling moments certainly, but eyeball death repeatedly appeared imminent, sleep became a forgotten memory, and finally, lest it take till Doomsday to finish the video-searching, clip-shuffling and fact-checking, some lines had to be drawn.  I mean, after all, who wants to keep watching other people scoring for weeks on end when you yourself, due to this strange endeavour, aren’t?

Selection Criteria

The clips were chosen principally for their visual quality and clear representation of the goal plus the flow of play from which it develops.  But when there was great quality in a goal and good video quality wasn’t to be found, poor quality video was settled for. Narrated soundtracks were preferred but not always available. English narration was usually preferred when available; some of the non-English narration, however, will probably prove to those who experience these clips at least as informative in comparison, and not infrequently also even a bit more exciting (particularly in the cases of the Spanish-language clips).  Non-narrated clips with music tracks can be predictable but they can also be inspiring.  Inspiring ones have been preferred, again when available.

I have not picked a “best” goal, or even a “ten best”–my search has left me deeply convinced all such evaluations contain strong subjective elements, and that therefore the perfect goal’s beauty is almost always in the eye of the obsessed beholder–but I do believe there are some obvious (and some not so obvious) candidates for these honors; and have tried to indicate them by emphasizing the scorer’s name in boldface.

Never did the inaccessibility of a clip daunt this researcher from his relentless pursuit.  Not that there weren’t certain mountains to climb and deserts to cross, when it came to access.  The least familiar goals from the most obscure games in the most unknown leagues proved, curiously enough, easier to find than some of the best known goals in the most important games in the largest leagues. This discovery will come as no surprise, though, to footie video junkies.  

The biggest issue for anyone seeking out the most popular clips these days is the obvious one: nothing can stay popular for long without someone claiming to own it, with lawyers not far behind.   So if you want to follow this trail of the perfect goal you will be foiled maddeningly at times by the proliferating withdrawals from You Tube and other major sites of certain clips for copyright reasons–with UEFA and the EPL appearing the principal policing cruisers in these unregulated video-clip-posting high seas, never quite closing down on the bold buccaneers but often driving them out of You Tube, Daily Motion, Footytube (et al.) and back into uncharted waters from which they came. In those perilous waters many of these clips were found.

And if you click on one and find somebody doing or saying something that does not appear even remotely connected with footie, you will be proceeding at your own risk: caution is advised. In fact, caution is advised in regard to everything connected with cruising unfamiliar internet sites–but you already knew that.  And it was solely in your entertainment interests that this tireless researcher himself, throughout his alleged “holiday”, hurled all such caution to the winds; so, please to not blame him for anything that may befall you on your trek.

Finally, as to the archival data. The overwhelming majority of goal clips posted on the net contain little or no identifying information (dates of matches in particular are almost always missing), so the factual data you will find here is almost entirely of one’s own no doubt imperfect provision. And as a mere human, as suggested above under “limitations” and “Doomsday”, one had to finally draw the line on looking up the exact dates of every match on every clip.  Probably ninety-five percent of the dates given here are correct, but if you attended one of these matches and find I’m a day or two off in dating them, please don’t let me know. 

The Best Goals of 2008 – Navigation:

In Pursuit of the Elusive Perfect Goal: 2008
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 1 (World Football)
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 2 (England / Scotland)
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 3 (Europe)
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 4 (Americas)

Also See: The Best of Football and Soccerlens in 2008

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