The 2021 European Championships – also known as Euro 2020 – aren't even four days old. But the "goal of the tournament" competition is over.
Patrik Schick of the Czech Republic – a +8000 longshot to win the tournament at BetMGM – ended the competition on Monday against Scotland. When a Scottish shot ricocheted out toward midfield, Schick, with his first touch, let fly from some 50 yards out:
Schick's quick thinking and precision caught out Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall, who scrambled back toward his own net, but soon realized his sprint was hopeless. The ball sailed in under the crossbar. Marshall careened into the back of the net right behind it.
The "tactical cam," stationed high behind Scotland's goal, captured Schick's strike in all its glory – and explained how he caught Marshall so far off his line.
With Scotland in possession, Marshall had stationed himself a few yards from the midfield circle. Such positioning is somewhat common in modern soccer – goalkeepers stray far outside their box to offer themselves as a passing outlet, and to be able to intercept through-balls when opposing teams launch counterattacks.
Marshall was probably a bit too far off his line. But had the ball ricocheted 10 or 20 yards further upfield, he might have been in position to beat Schick to it. And had Schick's shot been anything less than perfectly weighted, Marshall might have been able to save it. The goal was less about his faults, much more so about Schick's brilliance.
Photos captured by Getty Images, however, tell the cruel story of Marshall's embarrassment:
Schick, a 25-year-old striker, plays for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga. He scored both goals, including this stunner, in the Czechs's 2-0 win, which put them atop Group D after one match. Their next match is Friday, when they're +250 underdogs to beat Croatia.
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