Every football fan has seen his fair share of bad misses, either by playing the game by themselves or by watching other teams play. The bad misses usually end with laughter or anger with the famous words “even my grandma could have scored that”. With numerous of bad misses that have happened throughout the history of football some were so bad, or were so memorable they got their name into the “hall of fame” as the worst misses in the football history.
Here is our pick for top 5 worst misses in football:
It’s not only the miss on its own that makes this one memorable, but it’s the striker that was the artist behind it. The year was 2011 and the match between Manchester United and Chelsea was closing to an end. With teams separated by 2 goals (3:1) and only 7 more minutes to go, Chelsea managed to outplay Manchester United defence and got the ball into space, where the newly signed superstar Fernando Torres was ready to add another goal to his name. He ran into space, outran the goalkeeper and… as you might have guessed it, he missed the goal. And he missed badly. Looking back at that match and listening to the commentator it still makes me grin when he asks “how big does the target need to be”, which is the only suitable response to such a miss.
There are teams and leagues everyone knows, and then there are matches that do not grab as much attention. One of those is the 2010 Asian Games match between Qatar and Uzbekistan. But we are not talking about this match because something spectacular happened, nor did anyone break any records. This match is in our spotlight due to an incredible miss of Qatar player Fahad Khalfan which was so bad there are no words that could describe it. What made it even worse is that he missed the goal in the extra time of a 90th minute. Luckily (for him), his team did end up winning 1:0.
At our number 3 spot, we have got Freddie Ljungberg, the now-retired Swedish winger, who has achieved numerous honours in his career. However, despite all of his titles and rewards, he is by many remembered due to his incredible miss that got its spot on our top 5 list.
It was the year 2005 and Arsenal were playing against Bolton Wanderers. Arsenal with their incredible passing managed to beat all the defenders and even goalkeeper. The ball found its way to our hero Freddie Ljungberg who stood alone in front of a goal, barely 2 meters out with only one job; tap the ball in. Did he do it? Of course not. Freddie Ljungberg somehow managed to blast the ball over the goal and missed a perfect chance to add another goal to his name. This miss was so bad, it would be hard recreating it even if we tried. It surely was a gem of all misses.
When deciding between number three and number two, it took me a while to decide which of the two deserves to be higher up. Then I came to the conclusion that hitting the crossbar in addition to missing a sure goal should be valued more. Or in this case less. Or maybe it was Arnaldo Vera’s face after he missed the goal that did it for me. Nonetheless, for our number two, we travel to South America back in the year 2003, when Emelec played against Libertad in the group stage of Copa Libertadores.
The miss on its own did not change much as far as the final result goes, but it sure did go down in history as one of the worst misses ever seen.
Arnaldo Vera received a nice cross into the penalty area, where he managed to put the ball by the goalkeeper. With no one in between Vera and an empty goal, he went for the shot but somehow managed to miss the whole goal with about a meter in between him and the goal. The miss was so shocking, even Emelec defenders needed some time to process what happened before they cleared the ball.
At our number one spot we have got what is now known as “the miss of the Century”, and it deserves nothing less than that name. For this pick, we need to travel back to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It was a crucial group stage match between South Korea and Nigeria, which would decide which team would get to advance into the next stage of the tournament. It was the 66th minute and Nigeria were a goal behind, but an excellent chance came up, which would tie the match for Nigeria and give them a fighting chance to win the match. Yakubu Ayegbeni received an exceptional pass inside the penalty area where he found himself alone in front of the goal. All he needed to do was to push the ball into the net, which would get his team leveled and possibly a chance to advance further into the World Cup tournament. But he failed to do so.
While this miss is not as “silly” as others, it does deserve to be at the top of our list solely due to the importance of the match and the weight of the missed goal. While other 4 might fly under the radar, Yakubu Ayegbeni miss will remain one which will never be forgotten by himself and his nation.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.