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What is an 'Olimpico' goal & which players have scored them?

10:30 BST 05/08/2021
Megan Rapinoe Australia vs USWNT Olympics 2020
A rare sight, the goal can draw admiration if it is meant and frustration if it is a fluke

Football is filled with all sorts of unique terminology and phrases which can make it tough to follow if you're new to the sport. Indeed, you'd need a glossary!

If you were watching the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, you might have heard commentators refer to a player scoring an 'Olimpico' goal.

It is a rare achievement, but what exactly is it? Goal takes a look at the meaning of the term and the players who have scored in such a manner.

What is an 'Olimpico' goal?

An 'Olimpico' goal or Olympic goal is a goal that is scored directly from a corner kick.

So why is it called an 'Olimpico' goal?

In 1924, Argentina player Cesareo Onzari scored against reigning Olympic champions Uruguay from a corner kick. Henceforth, the goal became known as 'Gol Olimpico' - Spanish for 'Olympic goal'.

There was initially some dispute over whether the goal should stand, but the game's rule-making body the IFAB had indeed recently permitted such goals to be scored.

It is still perfectly legal to score directly from a corner kick, but it is notoriously difficult given the angles involved, with the corner taker in line with the opposition goal, not to mention the number of bodies in the way.

In order to score from a corner kick, a player must apply sufficient swerve to the ball so as to bend it away from the byline and back in towards the net.

Of course, it is entirely possible for a player to accidentally score an Olimpico goal, but some players do deliberately attempt them.

Which players have scored 'Olimpico' goals?

U.S. women's national team legend Megan Rapinoe has scored a number of Olimpico goals during her career, doing so at the Olympics on two separate occasions.

In August 2021, during the 2020 Olympics bronze medal match against Australia, Rapinoe curled a corner kick past Teagan Micah.

Rapinoe had also achieved the feat nine years earlier as the USWNT cruised to a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. 

In the semi-final game against Canada, Rapinoe curled the ball directly into the goal at the near post from her corner. In the process she became the first-ever player to score an 'Olimpico' at the Olympics.

As well as Onzari and Rapinoe, a number of other high-profile stars have managed the feat.

Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry scored an 'Olimpico' for New York Red Bulls against Columbus Crew in a 2012 game.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham has also scored directly from a corner kick, notably doing so for LA Galaxy against Chicago Fire in 2011.

Joao Morais scored an Olimpico goal for Sporting in the 1964 Cup Winners' Cup final against MTK Budapest.