Wednesday 30 November 2016, 09:22

Skrabb's scorpion kick finds the top corner

Are you familiar with the 'scorpion kick'? You may not know the term itself but you will certainly remember the outrageous save made by former Colombia international goalkeeper Rene Higuita, who kept out a Jamie Redknapp cross-shot during a friendly with England at Wembley in September 1995 with a 'scorpion kick'. Flinging himself forwards and flicking his legs up over his head behind him, Higuita cleared the ball with his heels.

The technique can also be used at the opposite end of the pitch, and a few players have already scored goals with it. One particularly eye-catching effort was recently achieved by Simon Skrabb, whose version was at least as spectacular as Higuita's save and justifiably earned him a FIFA Puskás Award nomination for the best goal of the year.

It happened on 31 October 2015 and Gefle IF were at home against already-relegated Atvidabergs FF on the final matchday of the Swedish first division season. Skrabb, who was 20 at the time, was playing for the visitors and had scored three league goals prior to the match. His fourth, however, was to be an unforgettable one.

Only 12 minutes were on the clock when Kristian Bergstrom drilled a cross into the box from the left. The ball, arriving at pace, was slightly behind Skrabb, who was almost inside the six-yard box. Yet the quick-thinking Finn threw his left leg in the air and flicked the ball with his heel, causing it to fly into the top-right corner to put the visitors 1-0 up. The rest of his team ran the length of the pitch to congratulate him on his unique strike. The player himself could scarcely believe it and kept putting his hand to his mouth in astonishment.

Naturally, it was voted as the goal of the year in Sweden. "I just wanted to get the ball towards goal somehow, to just get a shot off," said Skrabb, who previously made headlines as a 16-year-old in 2011 by becoming the youngest ever goalscorer in Finland's top flight. "That's what occurred to me and in the end it worked out well. In training I'd practiced a few overhead kicks and other acrobatic ways of shooting, but that was something completely new for me. A lot of people heard about it and congratulated me. It was fun. My phone didn't stop ringing."

Incidentally, following Atvidabergs' relegation, Skrabbs joined Gefle of all teams – the very club he scored his wonder goal against – in a move that must have sparked the odd comment in the changing room. And now his goal could even win the FIFA Puskás Award, although Skrabb himself is a touch pessimistic: "Obviously it's a real disadvantage to be up against Messi and Neymar. Their fan sites have more people than the entire Nordic region put together. But you can always hope." Yet a goal like his means he can do more than just hope. Fans are able to vote and have until 2 December to do so. Cast yours now!