Wednesday 27 September 2017, 07:46

Castellanos' miracle goal

  • Deyna Castellanos' goal from the halfway line is a contender for the FIFA Puskás Award

  • Her strike was named the best goal at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and you can vote for it here

** The Venezuelan is also among the finalists for The Best FIFA Women's Player Award 2017

Sixty seconds was all it took for Venezuela to flit from joy to despair and back again.

Within the space of that minute, La Vinotinto booked their place in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 quarter-finals, had it taken away from them and then snatched it back again. There were two spectacular goals, two celebrations, one substitution and a miracle.

In the 93rd minute of their clash with Cameroon, Alexandra Takounda's back-heeled flick brought the Africans level at 1-1. It spelled trouble for Venezuela, for whom only a win would do, with barely a minute of stoppage time remaining for them to salvage a victory.

Enter Deyna Castellanos. Her miraculous shot from the halfway line flew into the net, sparking wild celebrations and sealing Venezuela's place in the last eight.

"We reached the next round of a World Cup thanks to that goal, so of course it's one of the best moments of my career," Castellanos told almost a year after her strike on 3 October 2016. It took Venezuela into the next phase of the tournament, where they went on to finish in fourth place, was chosen as the best goal of the competition and is now a contender for the FIFA Puskás Award.

In our review of the ten shortlisted goals, we now turn the spotlight on Castellanos' strike. Was it a spontaneous stroke of genius? Far from it.

Her coach's trust No sooner had the ball crossed the line than Venezuela coach Kenneth Zseremeta started** **shouting, "I told you so, I told you so!" to the team's media officer 'Tato' Celis, who had expressed his surprise a few days earlier at Castellanos and her team-mates repeatedly practising their shooting from the centre circle.

The substitution Such moments of extreme tension call for somebody to shoulder responsibility, and the team's captain and leader stepped up. But Castellanos needed a helping hand, someone to kick-off again and give her the ball. That person was Nohelis Coronel, who came on as a substitute after Cameroon's equaliser. "Nohelis asked me where I wanted the ball. I showed her, and she rolled it exactly where I needed it," Castellanos said.

Practice makes perfect Castellanos' memory of the goal remains as vivid as ever: "I can remember it exactly. They equalised in the 93rd minute but there just had to be a way for us to win. I think the goal came about as a result of a lot of practice and because of the belief I have in myself."

Will Castellanos be among the finalists for the FIFA Puskás Award? It is up to users to decide. Click here to vote for your favourite goal.