Femi Solaja with agency reports
The dream of Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa to win the ‘Goal of the Tournament’ of the just concluded Russia 2018 World Cup finals has vanished into thin air following the announcement of French star, Benjamin Pavard as the overall winner.
In the final coalition of the votes from fans all over the world and announced yesterday, Pavard’s stunner against Argentina wins the Hyundai Goal of the Russia 2018 World Cup. The 22-year-old netted sublime equaliser for France in 4-3 comeback win over South American football power house.
The defender’s effort pips 17 other sublime World Cup goals, including that of Nigeria’s Musa Ahmed, to top accolade.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia treated football lovers to 169 goals in 64 o
In an online poll where over three million FIFA.com users cast their votes, Pavard’s outside-of-the-foot rocket for France against Argentina, in which the 22-year-old displayed marvellous technique, has been voted the best at the tournament.
The winner now describes the goal: “The ball bounced up as it came to me. I didn’t even think about it. I just tried to get over it and keep it down,” Pavard told FIFA.com after France’s Round of 16 thriller with Argentina.
“I was trying to hit it in the direction it came from, which is what the strikers always tell me. I didn’t think it over, and when it went in I just felt so happy.”
Pavard’s goal saw off stiff competition to win the accolade, including Juan Quintero’s delightful low free-kick for Colombia against Japan in the group stage which finished second, and Luka Modric’s long range stunner against Argentina, also in the group stage, which came third in the voting.
Pavard becomes the first European player to win the Goal of the Tournament accolade since its creation in 2006.
At Brazil 2014, it was bestowed on eventual adidas Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez, whose venomous, dipping volley also later earned him the 2014 FIFA Puskas Award.
Other previous winners include Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina) and Diego Forlan (Uruguay) winning in 2006 and 2010 respectively.
Ahmed Musa, who was voted ‘Man of the Match’ his his two goals win over Iceland in the second group D match had also wished his second goal effort wins the prize following his twit after the shortlist; ahmedmusa718-“it is honor to be nominated for Goal of the Tournament. One of my best football memories so far! Go to FIFA.com and cast your vote before 23rd July. Your love and support is always appreciated #NaijaAllTheWay” he twitted shortly after the announcement and urging Nigeria football fans to stand behind him for the priceless award.
Musa’s goal which was short listed along with 17 others for the best goal of the tournament eventually ranked eighth behind those of Benjamin Pavard of France, Colombia’s Juan Quintero, Croatia’s Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Russia’s Denis Cherysev and Belgium’s Nacer Chadli.
Ahmed Musa’s goal is however rated above those of Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal and Germany’s Toni Kroos among the top 10 goal.