The EURO 2012 group stage games have concluded, leaving eight squads competing for the crown. But before we get into the knockout stage, it’s time for my top-five group stage goals. Enjoy.
#5 – Antonio Di Natale vs Spain
Not everyone would have squeezed this goal into the top-five but I had to do it. First of all, it’s an early group stage game against the defending Euro Cup and World Cup champions, Spain. It was also the first goal of the game over an hour into the match. The ball from Pirlo, and the run alone from Di Natale are exceptional but it’s the clinical, calm, smooth finish that makes this goal pretty. Di Natale runs up on the ball from Pirlo, adjusts his body to strike, and delicately places it into the corner, over-top one of the world’s best keepers Iker Casillas. Filthy finish indeed.
#4 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs France
The big swede strikes again. Zlatan has been scoring at will for years now, but this one will undoubtedly make most of his highlight reels. In this game against France, Zlatan volleys a cross that came in from the wing, passed France keeper Hugo LLoris. What’s remarkable about this volley is that it’s from just under 18 yards out. Crowd goes nuts, Ibra’ makes Bentley’s Top Five.
#3 – Danny Welbeck vs Sweden
In a game that totaled five goals, Welbeck was the man who brought the house down with this winner. In a roller-coaster game that was once lead by England, Welbeck provided this back-heel magic for the game-winner. Not a bad run into the box from Theo Walcott either. Here is a live video of Danny boys goal.
#2 – Mario Balotelli vs Ireland
This kid is entertaining. Balotelli has been in the limelight for doing good, and doing bad. This time however, he is adding to his highlight reel with this grown-man goal. Mario is being held pretty bad on an Italian corner-kick, but decides he is going to volley it in anyway. Too big, too strong, too hungry. What a beastly goal.
#1 – Jakub Blaszczykowski vs Russia
What a brilliant goal, by the captain, of the host nation Poland. Not only is the goal itself world-class but the fact that the Polish captain did it in front of his people is clutch! Blaszczykowski cuts inside with a set-up touch to his left foot, and unloads a curling bomb from 18 yards. Oh yea, you gotta’ love the celebration of kissing the Polish flag on his jersey. He did it for his country!
Honorable mention goals – Pirlo free-kick against Croatia, Mario Gomez spinning gather against the Netherlands.
Paul Bentley is a contributor to Rant Sports
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