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31 days to Euro 2012: Poborsky’s stunning lob sinks Portugal

It was a piece of individual brilliance that led Manchester United to fork out £3.5m for the Czech midfielder.

The Czech Republic's Karel Poborsky gets out the sand wedge.
The Czech Republic's Karel Poborsky gets out the sand wedge.
Image: Aubrey Washington/EMPICS Sport

BACK IN THE days before Lionel Messi was embarrassing goalkeepers on a weekly basis, Karel Poborsky won acclaim for a marvelous lob that he soared goalwards without breaking his dribbling stride.

The Czech Republic midfielder received the ball 40 yards from the Portuguese goal in the Euro ’96 quarter-final clash and beat four players on a slaloming run towards the box.

Poborsky had a brief glance up and spotted Vitor Baia preparing to block a shot on his six yard line.

The midfielder, known as The Express Train, did not hesitate as he scooped the ball over the helpless Baia to give his side a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish.


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Poborsky was signed by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after the tournament but only managed two seasons at the club.

He often prospered for club and country when he was given a free role and allowed to drift from wing to wing, and in between.

United fans saw only brief glimpses of his talent but he enjoyed a happier spell at Benfica and rewarded supporters there with an array of great goals.

The Czech Republic would go on to reach the final before losing out to a golden goal from Oliver Bierhoff.

In 2008, Poborsky’s goal was voted the best ever strike at a European Championships tournament.

He repeated the trick in 2003 when he lobbed Edwin van der Sar in the Holland goal in a 3-1 win for the Czechs. The hair was shorter but the magic touch remained.

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