The counter attack is football’s equivalent of the sucker punch. When executed properly, it is the best example of the fluidity of football. Here’s my top five, feel free to suggest your own.
5. Javier Pastore, Palermo (v Fiorentina)
Pastore’s big money move to PSG attracted plenty of scrutiny. This is a brief example of why he was so coveted as the Rosanero slice through La Viola with a couple of perfectly weighted passes. Easy.
4. Landon Donovan, USA (v Brazil)
USA, ripping through Brazil on the break? Damn straight. This is as good a demonstration of the counter as you’ll see from any side in the world. The Yanks are coming.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United (v Arsenal)
Poor old Arsenal. They could always fall back on the opinion that they played the best football, even if they didn’t win. Then United came and ripped them to pieces with fantastic, exciting counter attacking football like this.
2. Alessandro Del Piero, Italy (v Germany)
Del Piero had struggled at times to reproduce his best Juventus form in the Azzuri jersey. This was a moment to savour, booking Italy’s place in the world cup final with an emphatic finish at the end of a perfect counter.
1. Davor Suker, Croatia (v Denmark)
This has to be my favourite for two reasons. 1) Suker’s first touch is immaculate, and 2) the finish is even better; Schmeichel, having sprinted back to his area just in time to face up to the advancing Suker, can only stand and watch as the ball is lofted perfectly over his head.