To fully understand why Amandine Henry’s entry on the Goal of the Tournament shortlist for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 was as special as it was stunning, you need to cast your mind back four years to Canada 2015.
Les Bleues were 4-0 up and cruising in their final group game against Mexico when the midfielder put the icing on the cake with a majestic strike from 25 yards that curled into the top corner, The effort would subsequently be nominated for Goal of the Tournament and the French marched on to the Round of 16, where they faced Korea Republic.
Fast forward, and Les Bleues are playing superbly against the South Koreans, but it is now 7 June 2019 and the opening game of ‘their’ World Cup. Just like four years earlier, France are in total control with any early anxiety long forgotten thanks to their 3-0 lead. However, the masterclass is not yet complete…
As captain, Henry had already put in a solid performance, but she was about to make it unforgettable. With five minutes remaining, she picks up a pass from Eugenie Le Sommer, some 27 yards from goal in the inside left position. As she cuts into the centre, options open up around her: Gaetane Thiney to her right, Amel Majri on the left and Valerie Gauvin running deep. But no one closes her down so Henry decides to try her luck. Given what happened next, none of them could reproach her for not passing, as she unleashed a superb in-swinging strike that curled just inside the far post to trigger one final explosion of joy that evening at the Parc des Princes.
It was unquestionably France’s finest goal that night – and arguably of their entire campaign – but was it the best goal of the tournament? That’s up to you to decide!