Monday, September 6, 2010

6 September 1995 - The Scorpion King

On 6 September 1995, Colombia and England played to a scoreless draw in a London friendly. The match remains notable as the debut of Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita's invention of the scorpion kick.

Higuita, who played for Spain's Real Valladolid at the time, had already established himself as an eccentric - but effective - keeper, winning multiple Colombian League titles with his former club, Atletico Nacional. But his flair for the dramatic occasionally backfired, such as when he tried to show off with the ball at the midfield line in a 1990 World Cup match against Cameroon and gave the ball away to Roger Milla, who scored to eliminate Colombia from the tournament.

Playing against England, Higuita played impressively, keeping a clean sheet throughout. But his moment of brilliance came when he defended a shot by midfielder Jamie Redknapp. As the shot arced toward the goalmouth, Higuita dove forward and brought his legs up behind him to swat the ball away. He dubbed the new move "the scorpion kick."

The kick impressed the crowd and England boss Terry Venables, who later said "I've never seen anything quite like that," but added "We won't be teaching our goalkeeper that, even if it does bring back the crowds. We'll leave that to him, he's the only one who can do it." England's Channel Four voted it 94th in their 2002 list of the top 100 sporting moments.

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