FIFA World Cup 2018 closing in on a dubious record with own goals

Morocco's Younes Belhanda looks dejected after teammate Aziz Bouhaddouz scores an own goal and the first for Iran   | Photo Credit: Reuter

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has so far been a testament to the abilities of the underdog, with lesser-known teams consistently rising up to the challenge from their lionised opponents. However, this year’s cup may also be well on its way to acquiring another, more dubious record. If the sloppy footwork of some sides maintains, the 2018 World Cup could soon snag the record for the most own goals in the history of the tournament.

The disastrous blunder by Aziz Bouhaddouz of Morocco, who found the back of his own net during an otherwise scoreless group B match, has turned into a trend that other unfortunate souls have followed. As of now, a total of five players from five different teams have own goals spoiling their stat sheets. This figure is just one away from the number of own goals scored in the 1998 World Cup, which holds the current record for the category. Having been the deciding factor in three matches so far, the own-goals of this year’s cup merit closer attention.

Here is a look at all of the own goals of the 2018 World Cup thus far.

Aziz Bouhaddouz, Morocco vs Iran (June 15)

The wave of own goals began with the aforementioned Aziz Bouhaddouz of Morocco. The 31-year-old forward found himself utterly humiliated when he accidentally headed a lob from the opposition into his own net. What’s worse is that this error came during the fifth minute of stoppage time, effectively sealing the fate of Morocco and handing the win to Iran. The north Africans suffered the first own goal of the tournament, and it was also the most devastating.

Aziz Behich, Australia vs France (June 16)

Aziz Behich of Australia picked up where Bouhaddouz left off the very next day. Behich found himself in the lane of French star striker Paul Pogba, deflecting the ball into his own goal post. The goal was originally awarded to Pogba but was given to Behich afterwards. The mistake allowed France to pull ahead of their opponents with a 2-1 lead, meaning that goal made all the difference in the end.

Oghenekaro Etebo, Nigeria vs Croatia (June 16)

The Nigerians became the next victims during a group D bout with Croatia. As a messy first half of play by the west African squad began to wind down, a smooth-sailing Croatian header ricocheted into the Nigerian net off the leg of Oghenekaro Etebo. The goal put Croatia up 1-0, and the gap was eventually widened by a penalty kick courtesy of Croatian captain Luka Modrić.

Thiago Cionek, Poland vs Senegal (June 19)

A two-day break from own goals was broken when Thiago Cionek of Poland added another to the tally. When Senegalese striker Idrissa Gueye whizzed one across the ground towards the net, Cionek made inadvertent contact with the ball, wildly changing its trajectory and sending it past his own goalkeeper. The accident gave Senegal a one goal lead, which they maintained as they went on to conquer the Poles 2-1 and became the first African team to win a match in this tournament.

Ahmed Fathi, Egypt vs Russia (June 19)

Egypt's Ahmed Fathy scores an own goal to open the account for the hosts Russia during the FIFA World Cup 2018 match in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Egypt's Ahmed Fathy scores an own goal to open the account for the hosts Russia during the FIFA World Cup 2018 match in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The fifth, and perhaps silliest own goal of the tournament, was made by Ahmed Fathi during Egypt’s match with Russia. After the Russian side fired off a vicious volley toward the goal, Fathi attempted to divert the ball’s course by sliding into it with his knee. However, the result was a deflection that slowly curved past the Egyptian goalkeeper and into the bottom right corner of the goal in a downright comical fashion. Luckily for Fathi though, the Russians would soon pile on with two additional goals, so blame for Egypt’s crushing 3-1 defeat cannot be placed squarely on his shoulders.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 2:30:09 PM |

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