Of all the great goals that nearly were in football history, few are as evocative as Pelé’s audacious dummy effort against Uruguay in the semi-finals of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Racing onto a pass down the inside-left channel, Pelé flummoxed advancing goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz with an outrageous dummy, letting the ball pass between himself and Mazurkiewicz before running around him. The pace on the pass took Pelé wide of the goal, but he overcooked his attempt to accommodate for the angle and ended up firing the ball agonisingly wide of the far post:
“The dummy was a moment, just something you do,” Pelé said. “You can’t plan it, it happens, it’s a reaction. But I really don’t know why I missed. When I went round the keeper, I thought, OK I’m going to put the ball in before the defender, to the right of the defender, but then I saw he was going very quickly and I thought, I’d better be quick before him and maybe I rushed it.”
It has been described as “a staggering feat of audacity and imagination”, but former Swedish international midfielder Jesper Blomqvist went one better. The ex-Milan, Parma and Manchester United man won Sweden’s Goal of the Season award for this stunning interpretation of Pelé’s famous attempt in an Allsvenskan match between his club IFK Göteborg and Helsingborgs in 1995: