In 2001/02, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal was operating at the peak of their powers. A 24-year-old Thierry Henry along with Dennis Bergkamp in the front line while Patrick Vieira and majestic Robert Pires patrolling the midfield was a sight to behold by anyone who was a Premier League addict at the start of the new millennium.
The Invincible season had not yet arrived, but its echoes had already emerged. In a league game against Newcastle United, Bergkamp was in full swing and the result was a goal worthy of the Puskas award.
The midfield maestro Pires received the ball on the left flank from Bergkamp, just ahead of the half line, and then played a sumptuous ball back to the Dutchman who had rushed forward to the opponent’s box.
Bergkamp, whose flair and ball control we can teach in universities, received the ball behind him and in a moment, turns around the Newcastle defender Nikos Dabizas using his left foot.
A beautiful pirouette saw the ball land on Bergkamp’s right foot and the Dutchman netted it past the goalkeeper, giving Arsenal a well-deserved lead.
After the game, Arsenal’s manager Wenger clarified that it was an unbelievable goal that cannot be replicated for ages. And I guess the time has now arrived.
In the ongoing UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, a similar sight occurred in a game between England and Northern Ireland that reminded the ardent football fans of Bergkamp’s genius.
A similar pass, a similar turn, and a similar goal were enough to prove Wenger wrong. The 23-year-old Ella Toone who plays for Manchester United in the Women’s super league played a midfield splitting pass, finding her teammate, Alessia Russo up front.
Russo then did what exactly Bergkamp accomplished over two decades ago. She received the ball on the right foot, turned, left the defender in her tracks, and slotted the goal with the same foot in the bottom right corner.
I thought Bergkamp was Dutch and retired.— David Alituha (@DavidAlvid97) July 15, 2022
This was a classic case of nostalgia for all the football fans. It was a trip down memory lane that no one saw coming, but was glad they could see it come to life once again in their lifetime.
England is unbeaten in the Euro Cup, so far having scored 14 goals without conceding any. But if such magical moments are to continue, there is nothing that can stop England’s Women’s team from lifting the coveted trophy.
The goal in Jose Mourinho’s language is nothing short of ‘Football heritage.’