Euro 2000: David Trezeguet's Golden Goal v Italy

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David Trezeguet Golden Goal

You really have to watch it from a certain angle. Forget the context; put aside the fact that it was the most famous ever ‘golden goal' in the final minute of the final at Euro 2000.

Just focus on its quality and admire the technique, especially looking on from behind as he strikes the ball on the half volley. It is everything you need from that kind of goal; the way he twists his body, gets his foot over the ball and somehow places it into the top corner with his laces. Then think about what it meant; for France and for David Trezeguet. It tells you all you need to know about that moment and that player.

Maybe it is a perception, but there seems a genuine disdain for strikers known for scoring goals. Trezeguet is one such player, often dismissed and criminally underrated by the belief that he doesn’t do enough in general play.

But football is about scoring goals, and anybody whose biggest asset is a knack of doing so should never be dismissed. Trezeguet, or ‘Trezegol’ as he would go on to be known at Juventus when he joined them that summer, came alive in the box in that moment at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam, and made a career out of doing so.

He would go on to create a historic partnership in Turin, with Alessandro Del Piero, who was missing chance after chance at the other end as a dominant Italy side let slip a lead in the cruelest manner possible.

France Euro 2000

Sylvain Wiltord’s last-gasp equaliser in normal time canceled out Marco Delvecchio’s close-range volley. For the Azzurri, it was difficult to take when Trezeguet struck in a similar vain in extra time. Robert Pires held his cross until the right moment; he reached the byline and played the ball, bouncing and with very little pace, into the path of the former Monaco forward who had pulled off the back of the defence to create space for himself.

He was an expert when it came to positioning and sensing an opportunity in the box, but the quality of the finish and the difficulty he faced in executing it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Goals like that are lost in the moment, and part of the reason Trezeguet is underrated is that the goal isn’t appreciated nearly enough aesthetically, even though it was almost a trademark moment.

At the turn of the century, following on from the World Cup victory on home soil two years earlier, Les Bleus' striking berth was the target for three strikers from the same generation: Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka and Trezeguet.

The former was coming of age as a frontman at Arsenal, having began his career as a winger, and he would go on to become the all-time top goalscorer for his country. It was Anelka who perhaps began his career with the most potential as a teenager, but there was no doubting Trezeguet’s credentials at the time.

The match was over in a flash; Trezeguet’s shirt was removed as the final whistle sounded. The tense, strained atmosphere collapsed, replaced by elation and a cacophony of noise in one dugout and stunned, empty silence in the other. Golden goal had set an incredibly tempestuous scene.

David Trezeguet

Is it any wonder that such a rule has been outlawed? UEFA must have been so pleased with the outcome; it was designed to put a stop to edgy periods of extra time, to make both teams go for it, and on that occasion, if they were looking for optimum drama, they could hardly have wished for a better final.

But Italy’s defeat showed how difficult it is to accept in such a way; there were instant suggestions that it was unfair, how they could lose from such a strong position in an instant. Watching on, others probably learned lessons, and eventually fear of losing in a second trumped the joy of winning. Extra time reverted to type.

Penalty misses in the other two major finals which followed in his career plagued Trezeguet’s reputation, too. He failed to convert in final shootouts of both the Champions League in 2003 against AC Milan and the World Cup three years later, when Italy exacted their revenge. But his consistency at Juventus, and the loyalty he showed in staying after the calciopoli match-fixing scandal, will forever cement his place as a club legend.

Strikers are built to score goals, and there weren’t many better at that than Trezeguet. That moment in Rotterdam is, without doubt, his crowning glory; the greatest possible dramatic moment in a final of a major tournament. But the quality of the strike and the fact it came in a game France had no right to win will ensure it is forever a moment the streets will never forget.

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