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Goal Celebrations Are Part of the Game

Posted April. 14, 2006 03:16,   


A TV commercial from an electronics company has become the talk of the town lately among soccer fans and web surfers.

The commercial opens with Park Ji-sung (Manchester United) mimicking a rock musician on TV. He replays a guitar solo over and over. In the following scene, Park scores a goal, he slides on the grass and plays air guitar.

At an evaluation match held against Sweden last November, Kim Yeong-cheol (Seongnam) scored his first international match goal. He was later asked why he ran in an odd direction where there were no cameras facing him after he scored the goal. Kim’s answer was, “I didn’t know what to do for the camera since I’ve never scored a goal before.”

He is right. One needs to score a goal first in order to strike a cool pose. A goal ceremony is like signing your name after finishing a painting. Fans expect a certain flourish from the goal-getter with which they can identify the climax of their emotion.

The folk dance performance displayed by Cameroonians in 1990 Italy World Cup was an instant classic. So was Bebeto’s “rocking the baby” goal ceremony. Ahn Jung-hwan (Duisburg) kissed his wedding ring after scoring a golden goal in a World Cup match against Italy in 2002. The originator of the ring kissing was Raul Gonzales of Spain.


Christian Bieri (AS Monaco) likes to lift up his jersey and show off his abs after scoring a goal. In 1999 Women’s World Cup, Brand Chastain of U.S. took off her jersey in jubilation after a penalty shootout that won the World Cup. Her sports bra ceremony was said to have increased the popularity of women’s soccer.

Regretfully, such displays will be toned down in the upcoming Germany World Cup. FIFA has banned behaviors that cause excessive delays, gestures that mock or enrage opponents, such as removing one’s clothing, covering one’s face with shirt, or wearing one’s shirt on one’s head. A warning will be given to players that exhibit such behavior.

Outrageous goal ceremonies: Di Canio’s fascist salute-

There have been occasions where a goal ceremony touched a sensitive political nerve. Last January, Italy’s Paulo Di Canio (Lazio) extended his right arm to the fans after scoring a goal, giving what appeared to be a fascist salute. In February of the same year, Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto (FC Barcelona) performed a monkey dance after scoring a goal against Real Zaragoza. Eto later said that he did it in retaliation of the insolence he received by Zaragoza fans. According to Eto, the spectators cried like monkeys to mock him and threw peanuts into the field when he scored the goal. It is anyone’s guess what sort of goal ceremonies, if permitted, will be on display at the 2006 Germany World Cup.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com