There have been better World Cup goals. There have been more iconic moments. We've even witnessed more important incidents. Diego Maradona's goal vs. England in 1986 where he ran through the entirety of the opposition before scoring the match winning goal is all of these things.
Nonetheless, there remains something special about Dennis Bergkamp's 89th minute strike that put the Netherlands through to the 1998 World Cup semifinals.
It was beautiful. Bergkamp's immense skill is on display, pulling the long ball down, transitioning it seamlessly to get around the Argentinian defender, and then flicking it past the 'keeper.
It was important. There was no time for Argentina to recoup after this score. Two minutes earlier, Ariel Ortega had been sent off, and this goal was like the undertaker showing up while you cling to your last breath.
It was iconic. The goal has become something more than the sum of its skill and meaning through the legendary call from Jack van Gelder. There is no composure to it. No objectivity. Just sheer joy. A guttural sound that comes so naturally out of the Dutch commentator's mouth, it's perfect, and it matches the relief the goal brought to Netherlands supporters.
Feature photo courtesy of The Guardian