James McFadden v France, 2007
The truly great goals are the ones where you not only remember the goal itself, but you remember the context. You remember where you watched it. You remember the noise after you saw it. You remember the stadium, the pub, where you sat in the living room to see it. You remember the way that time froze as you saw it happen, and the moment of silence after it hit the net.
Every generation has one, and James McFadden’s astonishing strike in the Parc des Princes is one of them.
Thierry said he’d see us in Paris
Scotland were in the group of death; World Champions Italy, World Cup runner up France, a Ukraine side led by legendary Andrei Shevchenko, then perennial opponents Lithuania, Georgia and the Faroe Islands.
Scotland had a brilliant start to the group, blitzing the Faroes at Parkhead and defeating Lithuania in Kaunus, before Gary Caldwell’s famous winner over France at Hampden. Despite the lofty opposition in the group, Scotland were well in with a chance of qualification as they travelled to Paris.
Pick it out, Landrau
The Scots set up to defend and to spoil, losing midfield lynchpin Darren Fletcher mid-way through the first half. After reaching half-time, a battling point looked the best they could hope for. On the 64th minute, James McFadden wrote himself into Scotland folklore. Trapping the ball perfectly from Craig Gordon’s kick, he immediately spun on the ball, before unleashing a rocket from his wonderous left foot.
Sailing over Mickaël Landreau, the ball nestled into the top left hand corner of the goal, causing chaos among the travelling fans in the Parc des Princes, pubs up and down the country, living rooms and anywhere with a radio signal.
The Scots held on for a famous win, and while disappointment ultimately followed in the group, this goal lives on, forever.