7 May 2012

The finest pass from the finest player

It's the pass at 1 minute 54 seconds on this video, during a game which secured Paul Gascoigne's place in the 1990 World Cup squad and probably represented his finest 90 minutes in the national shirt.

No other Englishman could have played that pass, or tried to, or thought to, or even noticed it was on. There are countless other examples of his utter brilliance, but this moment represents his uniqueness.

Even if you're not a football person at all, take a moment to look at this bit of skill. Eminent coaches and technicians of the game still don't know how he did it; how he found the quickness of thought, vision and technique to deliver that particular pass. Moreover, Steve Bull, the man who scored the resulting goal, still doesn't know how he did it either.

Gascoigne went on to be instrumental in all four England goals in this friendly leading up to the World Cup; the reaction from Bobby Robson when the young star scored the fourth himself is fantastic. "He's off to the World Cup!", or words to that effect. And there he would delight and surprise the globe with his talent and, ultimately, move the nation with his tears.