The Rene Higuita scorpion kick save is one of the greatest moments in goalkeeper history. Here is an overview of one of the most amazing soccer tricks of all time.
In a friendly match between England and Colombia in September 1995, Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita pulled off one of the greatest soccer tricks of all time. The Rene Higuita scorpion kick became an instant world-wide soccer sensation. The following is the story of the Rene Higuita scorpion kick before, during, and after the event.
Origins of the Rene Higuita Scorpion Kick
Popular soccer wisdom often states that all the best goalkeepers are a little crazy. Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita, nicknamed “El Loco” (the Madman), provides ample evidence in support of this theory.
As well as being an excellent goalkeeper, his eccentricities, his fondness for trying to score goals, and his questionable haircut have always made him stand out from the crowd. When the Rene Higuita scorpion kick was revealed to the world at large in 1995 against England, Higuita cemented his eccentric reputation.
Higuita explains where the idea for the scorpion kick originated: “It came from a soft drink, a TV commercial. I filmed this advert with some kids and one of them controls the ball with his chest and starts doing some tricks and chips over me. At first I didn’t know how to respond, but in this moment the scorpion came out of me”.
His scorpion kick was captured by the camera crew and used in the commercial. His fans, upon seeing the footage, began asking him to do the trick in an actual match. Despite letting the scorpion kick loose on the Colombian training ground, and occasionally in pre-match warm-ups, nobody thought he would ever try it in an actual game.
The Rene Higuita Scorpion Kick – England vs. Colombia, Wembley, 1995
On September 6th 1995, in a friendly against England at Wembley Stadium, Rene Higuita spectacularly unveiled his scorpion kick. It is testament to his eccentric character, and his own confidence, that Higuita should pick such a high profile friendly to try out one of the most amazing soccer tricks of all time.
A crowd of 20,038 were gathered inside Wembley to watch the friendly. In the first half, with the game scoreless, England advanced towards the Colombian goal. When the ball was cut back to Jamie Redknapp, Redknapp miss-kicked his chipped cross sending the ball arcing through the air towards Rene Higuita waiting to receive the ball on the Colombian goal line.
However, instead of simply catching the ball Higuita flipped his body forward, striking the ball cleanly with his upraised heels and safely clearing the danger. The crowd, the players, and the commentators were instantly awed. The English commentator, in typically British fashion, stated with surprise “Goodness me! Have you ever seen anything like that in your life from a goalkeeper?”
The game ended goalless, but the match will never be forgotten. The scorpion kick had been born, the most outrageous and amazing soccer trick to have ever been seen in a game of football.
The Rene Higuita Scorpion Kick Soccer Trick After 1995
Unsurprisingly, the Rene Higuita scorpion kick has not been seen much since 1995. In March 2008, in a league game between Standard Liege and Gent, Standard goalkeeper Rorys Aragón Espinoza successfully executed the scorpion kick. While the Ecuadorian goalie didn’t get great contact on the ball, and the ball was sailing wide, he none-the-less raised a deserved cheer from the crowd.
In July 2008, during a testimonial match for Colombian soccer striker Victor Hugo Aristizabal, Higuita demonstrated the scorpion kick once again. His former Colombian team mate, Carlos Valderrama, lofted a free kick towards Higuita’s goal. Not missing the opportunity, Rene Higuita once again executed a solid clearance using his scorpion kick. The crowd was delighted, even if there was a hint of a set-up between the two flamboyant Colombians.
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The Scorpion Kick – Greatest Soccer Trick of All Time
The Rene Higuita scorpion kick was ranked 94th in Channel 4’s “100 Greatest Sporting Moments”. In a poll conducted by www.footy-boots.com, the scorpion kick was voted “Best Ever Football Trick”, beating the likes of the Ronaldinho Flik Flak and the Cristiano Ronaldo Step Over.
Despite being third on the list of all-time top scoring goalkeepers, a notable achievement in itself, Rene Higuita will be forever remembered for his scorpion kick. In a 2007 FIFA.com interview, Higuita was asked if the scorpion kick was now a thing of the past. Higuita replied, with typical enthusiasm, “I still practise it! You never know when it might come out again, so keep watching closely.”
Watch Rene Higuita the incredible scorpion kick