Fifa World Cup 2018 goal of the tournament: Benjamin Pavard wins award for France wonder strike against Argentina
France defender Benjamin Pavard’s World Cup wonder strike against Argentina has been named the Hyundai Goal of the Tournament after a public vote.
Fifa announced the news on their official website late on Wednesday (Thursday morning Hong Kong time).
He beat out competition from Colombia’s Juan Quintero, whose clever free kick in the group stage game against Japan finished second, and Croatia’s Luka Modric who saw his thunderbolt against Argentina, also in the group stages, finish third.
But it was Pavard’s goal in the round of 16 in Kazan that deservedly won the honour from an 18-goal shortlist.
The defender scored from outside the box, executing a wonderful half-volley with the outside of his right boot that left Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani with no chance.
Pavard’s strike made it 2-2 in a game France went on to win 4-3 on their journey to lifting the World Cup.
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That was the 22-year-old’s first international goal and he has only scored twice in two seasons for his club side VFB Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga.
Pavard’s goal has been viewed over 2.7 million times on Fifa’s YouTube channel.
He celebrated on his Instagram account, writing: “Proud, honoured, and always a little hard to believe. Thank you all for your messages.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal against Spain was viewed over 4.5 million times but it was Pavard’s that won the public vote.
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The winner had earlier explained his elation with his goal to Fifa’s official website in the aftermath of the Argentina game.
“The ball bounced up as it came to me,” he said. “I didn’t even think about it. I just tried to get over it and keep it down.”
He added that his teammates had a helping hand in the goal.
“I was trying to hit it in the direction it came from, which is what the strikers always tell me. I didn’t think it over, and when it went in I just felt so happy.”