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23.05.2007 Commentary


Players who score goals regularly are the most valuable of all footballers. But scoring is not just reserved for the strikers in a side.

A successful team needs its midfielders to contribute a number of goals each season, while tall defenders who are experts at heading often score five or six goals per year from set pieces.

For out-and-out strikers, goals are what they play for and are judged on.

The goalscorer's art

Pace, power, accuracy, confidence and a deadly eye for a chance are just some of the qualities required to be a top goalscorer.

Some skills can be honed in training - close ball control or swerving a shot, for example. Other qualities, such as confidence and vision, are harder to master.

Football has become quicker at the highest level and most strikers need great pace to break past increasingly mobile defenders or into space to receive the ball before anyone else.

Others are taller, stronger players who can score with towering headers or blasted shots. Most crucially , strikers have to be able to spot a goal chance and take it well.

Own goal

An own goal is technically any goal in which the last person to touch the ball before it crossed the line was a player from the defending team.

In practice, however, an own goal is awarded not only when the ball has been deflected, but also when a defending player has made a genuine error or caused a major change in the course of the ball.

Among the most common are own backpasses to keepers who fail to collect or kick the ball, skewed defensive clearances that are sliced into the net, and misdirected headers.

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