Torsten Frings (Germany v Costa Rica, 2006)

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Munich, June 9, 2006: the opening match of the World Cup. After just six minutes Philipp Lahm would set 
a very early candidate for goal of the tournament, curling the ball in off the post from distance. But with the score 3-2 to Germany after 87 minutes of thrilling football (and poor defending), Lahm’s goal would be bettered by his own team-mate – as Torsten Frings explains.

“It was a special moment for me, especially as it happened on home soil at a World Cup. 
It was the first game of the tournament and we were 
all so up for it, not just on 
the pitch but on the terraces too. The fans were so excited. We knew we had to get off to 
a good start.

“I remember the goal clearly. Bastian [Schweinsteiger] played the ball across to me and I had time to run onto it and hit it cleanly first time. As I hit it, 
I knew it was going on target. Then I looked up and saw 
it flying past the Costa Rica keeper and into the back of the net. The crowd behind the goal went absolutely mad.

“We had worked on that 
set-piece in training, and as 
a midfielder I was always working on my shooting, so 
I guess it was a combination of a training-ground routine and the strength of the shot. I hit it as cleanly as I’ve ever hit anything before or since.

“From our point of view, 
it was a dream start to 
the tournament. But things could have turned out very differently, especially as Costa Rica had equalised our opening goal and were still in the game at that point. The fact that my goal came with only 
three minutes left really finished them off.”

Interview: Richard Edwards. Illustration: German Aczel. From the September 2012 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!