Interviews

Dario Rodriguez: Great Goals Retold (vs Denmark, 2002 World Cup)

The former Uruguay man recalls his 2002 World Cup scorcher against Denmark in the December 2013 issue of FourFourTwo...

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We all love a long-range volley, but when it comes from a defender in a vital World Cup game it becomes extra special. And when it follows some keepy-uppies from a team-mate... well. It’s a goal that’s very unique.

“It was our [Uruguay’s] first World Cup game in 12 years and one of the first matches in the competition, so it was very special for all of us,” says Dario Rodriguez before recalling his masterpiece. “We were losing 1-0. At half-time the manager, Victor Pua, had encouraged us, telling us we would level the score. We went back on the pitch with that attitude and soon there was a corner kick.

“I was supposed to be inside the area, but I had a hunch and stayed away, waiting for a second ball. It wasn’t practiced or anything. Alvaro Recoba took the corner, the ball was cleared by the Danes and it went directly to Pablo Garcia, who controlled it and sent a lob right to where I was standing.

“I didn’t hesitate. I took the shot: a volley that ended up in the upper angle. It was like a missile! Normally those efforts end up far away, on the stands, but fortunately it was a great goal.

“When I was a kid I’d dream about dribbling and scoring like my idol, [striker] Venancio Ramos, but I became a defender and that dream was forgotten – until I scored that goal.

“A couple of years ago, I discovered that it had been chosen as the fourth-best World Cup goal ever [by The Times in Britain]. My club Penarol gave me a plaque to commemmorate it.

“Sadly, we couldn’t win the game and lost 2-1 with a few minutes to go. But it’s nice to know that, as years pass, so many people still remember and talk about that goal.”

From the December 2013 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe