Not the sort of position you want to find yourself in moments after a backpass
Huge relief for Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall on Monday afternoon, who is no longer the man responsible for the worst goal concession of Euro 2020.
Step forward your new champion Unai Simón, of Athletic Bilbao and Spain.
Just 24 years old but may already have achieved everlasting infamy for being in goal during his country’s Euro 2020 round of 16 match against Croatia.
What on earth did he do?
Here is the full horror:
🚨 Stop scrolling and watch this! 🚨
This is one of the most bizarre own goals you will 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 see! 😱#CROESP | #ITVFootball | #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/Waz7297HS8
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 28, 2021
And here’s everything wrong with what you’ve just watched:
Spain were doing their usual Spain thing, keeping possession in their own half without a care in the world. There was a brief disturbance in the tiki taka force, when Aymeric Laporte, on the top left of the picture above, slipped over with no one around him, possibly attempting a showboating plank to unsettle the Croatians.
He recovered quickly to pass forward to Pedri, but perhaps the signs were there that calamity was just around the corner?
Pedri, the furthest forward of the Spanish triangle outside the centre circle on the left flank, goes back to his keeper.
He’s hit that quite hard! Never mind, keeper seems to have hit wits about him…
The ball, travelling far faster than it should on its way back to the goal Spain were defending, skipped up off the turf with unexpected vim just outside the box, like that thrilling first swinging ball of an overcast afternoon at Lord’s.
Simón should have read this as more dangerous than it was. To invoke another cricketing term, this was a moment for the long barrier.
The ball was moving quicker than expected, its trajectory has been altered: just get some meaty body behind it and worry about the aesthetics later.
Instead, the keeper was casual, keen to test for the theory that most goalies could play out on the pitch now, actually. Maximum faith in his abilities to control a moving football. Faith: misplaced.
Or lack of it.
Simón seemed caught in two minds between the modern habit of keeping his head raised and using studs to blindly kill the ball, and a more conventional instep method of control. In the end, he managed neither and in a moment the ball was on its way to its final resting place.
The panicked run back
*record scratch* – "Yeah, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here…"
The immediate abandonment of the run back
Simón thought better of it almost immediately and instead settled into a brief moment of reflection before collecting the ball from the net and providing a far more convincing public apology than Matt Hancock’s:
Apology accepted Unai, because your mistake has continued a superb tournament for the real star of Euro 2020 – own goals:
Most goals scored in a single European Championship finals:
M.Platini (1984) – 9
𝐎𝐰𝐧 𝐆𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐬 (𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎) – 9
A.Griezmann (2016) – 6
S.Milosevic (2000) – 5
A.Shearer (1996) – 5
M.van Basten (1988) – 5
P.Kluivert (2000) – 5
M.Baros (2004) – 5
C.Ronaldo (2020) – 5#Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/sunuLxGiZY
— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) June 28, 2021
Euro 1960-2016: 9 own goals
Euro 2020: 9 own goals
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 28, 2021
These Spanish fans might be less understanding:
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
But cheer up, muchachos, at the time of writing you’re winning the game.