NGA 2 KOR 2: The greatest miss there ever was

MOVE over, Ronnie Rosenthal. Shift up, Chris Iwelumo. Shuffle along, Ade Akinbiyi. Make space, Diana Ross. We have a new contender for the greatest miss of all time. Step forward Yakubu.

Quite how the Nigeria striker managed to sidefoot wide of an open goal from four yards midway through the second half is anyone’s guess. Even the jabulani can’t be blamed for this one.

And even though Nigeria’s match against South Korea was full of incident, and full of goals, the one moment from this game that will be shown more than any other in years to come will be Yakubu’s miss. The repeat fees from BBC Three World Cup compilations alone should keep Sepp Blatter in Ferrero Rocher chocolates for the rest of his life.

It will be forgotten that Yakubu scored a penalty two minutes later. It will probably be forgotten, too, that a draw took South Korea through to the knockout stages, and eliminated Nigeria. The miss was that bad (or that good, if you’re the comedian given the job of doing the voiceover for that BBC Three bloopers compilation. How apt, come to think of it, that this game should be shown live on BBC Three).

What happens to a striker when he misses a chance as easy as that while on international duty? According to Mick McCarthy, he gets mocked mercilessly when he returns to his club.

McCarthy saw that for himself when Iwelumo returned to Wolves, having missed a sitter for Scotland in a World Cup qualifier against Norway in October 2008.

Just over a week ago, when Robert Green’s howler against the USA was the biggest thing on any England fan’s mind, McCarthy wrote about Iwelumo’s misfortune in his column for The Guardian.

“I knew Chris’s phone would be off straight after the game so I sent him a text, then rang him later that evening,” McCarthy wrote.

“We had a good conversation. I gave him my support, told him these things can happen and that he had to move on from it as quickly as he could.

“And of course what happened? He came into training first thing on the Monday morning and the lads took the piss out of him mercilessly.

“They spent the entire training session trying to recreate that opening against Norway and taunting Chris over whether he could put one away.”

Pre-season training at Everton should be fun, then.


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