21 Mar How did he miss that? Football’s worst efforts
Jason Cummings had a day to forget after he blasted over the bar against Raith Rovers at the weekend. He’s not the only one to have done it. PLZ takes a look back over some of the worst misses in football…
Chris Iwelumo, Scotland Vs Norway (2008)
It’s one of those, “Where were you?” moments. Well if you were (un)lucky enough to have been at Hampden Park that afternoon, you’d have seen a chance that looked harder to put wide than it would have been to score.
Scotland were up against Norway in their quest to win a World Cup spot. Having impressed for Wolves, Iwelumo received his first call up to the national side under George Burley and was eager to make an impression.
The 30 year old eventually got his chance, coming on for his international debut as a substitute, with Scotland looking to get a goal.
After some good play by Scott Brown, Gary Naysmith made a darting run into the box, before squaring it to Iwelumo who had the open goal at his mercy. Thankfully for Norway, he was very merciful indeed.
Hampden briefly erupted, before realising that the ball hadn’t ended up in the net. Instead, Iwelumo completely mishit it and skewed the ball wide of the net.
It was so bad that Kris Boyd, unhappy at having not been chosen to play, decided he’d seen enough and stated after the match that he did not wish to be selected again during Burley’s tenure.
Ronny Rosenthal, Aston Villa Vs Liverpool (1992)
The fact that the English Premier League was only one month old at the time and yet this miss is still considered one of the worst in the division’s history, says it all.
Rosenthal was a prolific, Israeli striker, the first foreign player to be bought by an English club for over £1 million after signing for Liverpool from Standard Liege.
Under Graeme Souness, the Reds travelled to Villa Park to take on a Ron Atkinson side that had just signed Dean Saunders from them for a massive £2.5 million.
The notably unappealing green shirt worn by Liverpool would transpire to be only the second worst sight for fans that day.
With the score level after goals by Mark Walters and, of course, Saunders against his old club, both teams were trying to get ahead in the game.
The opportunity then opened up. A long ball from David James bounced down to Rosenthal, who suddenly found himself with acres of space, one-on-one. Doing the hard part, he rounded the goalkeeper, Nigel Spink, to give himself a wide open goal to finish into.
Somehow however, Rosenthal decided not to simply pass it into the net, but instead managed to chip the ball straight onto the crossbar.
Fernando Torres, Manchester United Vs Chelsea (2011)
Everyone knows the story of Fernando Torres in England. Signed by Benitez for Liverpool, a hit on the Kop, before transferring to rivals Chelsea for an incredible £50 million, before it all turned sour.
The Spaniard was expected to take his scoring prowess to Stamford Bridge and fire in the goals for Chelsea. However despite being supported by players such as compatriots Juan Mata and Cesc Fabregas, as well as an in-form Eden Hazard, to name but a few, none could help striker recover the finishing touch that had made Chelsea splash out big time for his talents.
Such was Torres’ misfiring ways, his reputation as one of the world’s deadliest strikers turned into an object of derision.
One particular effort perhaps sums up Torres’ time at Chelsea best and was one of the most memorable.
Chelsea were at Old Trafford, 3-1 down with around ten minutes remaining and desperate to try and claw back the deficit.
Ramires picked the ball up in midfield, before playing an excellent ball through the Manchester United defence to the onrushing Torres.
The run was timed to perfection, so too was the step-over that took him around David de Gea to give him an open goal. The finish however? Not so much.
Torres completely mishit his shot , sending it flying wide past the post. All he could do was drop to the ground in despair, with a look on his face that suggested even he didn’t know how he missed that one.
Peter Van Vossen, Celtic Vs Rangers (1996)
Over the years, there have been plenty of great Old Firm goals scored. Speak to anyone who has ever hit the net in one of those matches and they are likely able to recall the occasion as a career highlight.
However despite the many greats; Larsson, McCoist, Hartson, Laudrup…… there is a Van Vossen.
Even though the Dutchman picked up 31 caps during his career and appearing in the 1994 World Cup and at Euro 2000, he is not recalled in Scottish football without a smile. Though not for the right reasons.
At Parkhead, the two Glasgow rivals faced off. Rangers broke free with an attack that left Celtic completely exposed at the back.
With two-on-one closing down on the goalkeeper, the ball was squared to Van Vossen, taking his time to steady himself for the shot from the pass, but managed to loft the ball high over the crossbar and into the stands.
He departed Rangers less than two years later.
Emile Heskey, Aston Villa Vs Manchester United (2011)
What can be said about Emile Heskey that hasn’t been said already?
Notoriously poor for his shooting, Heskey did a fairly successful career, picking up 62 England caps and with transfer fees totalling over £20 million.
Despite this, he has never been considered as being particularly prolific.
Although there are probably several examples of bad misses from the striker, one in particular stands out as being truly spectacular.
In 92 appearances for Villa, Heskey only managed to score 9 times, and it is not terribly difficult to see why.
Cutting inside from the right hand wing, Heskey might have had visions of hitting a long range screamer that sailed into the United net that would send the Villa fans wild.
It never quite turned out that way though, with his shot instead going so far wide of the goal that it went out for a throw in.