Featured Matches
Previous
AEL
Tottenham Hotspur
1
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
KSC Lokeren
Hull City
0
0
LIVE 0'
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Krasnodar
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Lyon
FK Astra Giurgiu
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
Shakhter Soligorsk
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Astana 1964
Villarreal
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Sarajevo
Borussia Monchengladbach
0
1
LIVE 19'
Leg 1
Game Details
Astana 1964
Villarreal
0
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Aktobe Lento
Legia Warsaw
0
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dinamo Moscow
Omonia Nicosia
2
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Ruch Chorzow
Metalist Kharkiv
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
HJK Helsinki
Rapid Vienna
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Qarabag
Twente Enschede
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
AEL
Tottenham Hotspur
1
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
Shakhter Soligorsk
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Karabükspor
St Etienne
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Elfsborg
Rio Ave
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Dinamo Minsk
CD Nacional de Madeira
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Petrolul Ploiesti
Dinamo Zagreb
5:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
BSC Young Boys
Debrecen
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Apollon Limassol
Lokomotiv Moscow
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Feyenoord Rotterdam
1
1
LIVE 62'
Leg 1
Game Details
Trabzonspor
Rostov
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Panathinaikos
FC Midtjylland
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
PEC Zwolle
Sparta Prague
0
0
LIVE 48'
Leg 1
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
PAOK Salonika
6:05 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
FC Zürich
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Partizan Belgrade
Neftchi Baku PFC
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Grasshoppers Zürich
Club Brugge
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Asteras Tripolis
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Krasnodar
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
RNK Split
Torino
0
0
LIVE 33'
Leg 1
Game Details
Lyon
FK Astra Giurgiu
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
KSC Lokeren
Hull City
0
0
LIVE 0'
Leg 1
Game Details
FK Sarajevo
Borussia Monchengladbach
0
1
LIVE 19'
Leg 1
Game Details
Rijeka
Sheriff Tiraspol
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sassuolo
Cittadella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Espana
Municipal
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Belmopan Bandits
Metapan
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Inti Gas Deportes
Caracas F.C.
0
0
LIVE HT
Leg 1
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Danubio F.C.
8:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Barcelona
Alianza Lima
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Trujillanos
Independiente del Valle
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Millonarios
César Vallejo
12:50 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Universidad Católica
River Plate
12:50 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Corinthians
Goiás EC
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Gremio
ESPN3 11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 10 hours ago
Read
Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Feb 15, 2013

Friedel marvels at Bale's free-kicks

Spurs keeper Brad Friedel compares Gareth Bale's free-kick taking to Juninho and Ronaldo.

Brad Friedel says that the swerve Gareth Bale puts on his free-kicks is "a technique only a few players in the world have" and, although not impossible to stop, they're not far off.

Friedel was watching from the opposite end as Bale struck twice from a dead ball to beat Lyon 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie. He couldn't help feeling an element of sympathy for Remy Vercoutre in the Lyon goal.

"I've seen the first one. There's no spin on the ball the way Gareth hits it. You have to take your first step off the first movement of the ball, and I'm afraid that's the goalkeeper's left and he moved left. Once he did that then he's dead, however, that's 100% not a goalkeeping mistake," Friedel explained.

"I haven't seen the second one from behind the goal yet, I've only seen it from the side. I assume the exact same movement of the ball occurred, and if so it's a really difficult ball to save and again, from my standpoint, it's very difficult to lay blame on a goalkeeper in that instance.

"If you set your wall up correctly you see it come off the foot, and then you have to react to the first direction that it goes – and the problem is that there's no spin on the ball. If there's no spin on the ball and then in mid-flight it goes the opposite way, there's no way to train your eye to deal with that. You just have to try to react the best you can. If someone tries to bend it over a wall with spin on the ball then you know which way it's going to go, unless it deflects.

"[Gareth] has been working a lot on his free-kicks, and he is perfecting that style of free-kick, and I tell you it is so difficult to save. Pepe Reina had all sorts of trouble here when we played Liverpool, it's just such a difficult ball to deal with and it's great that he has that in his repertoire for us."

Friedel said he had faced strikes similar to that from Bale in training, but none quite to that level yet.

"I don't think one of those has gone in against me," he said. "That's a technique only a few players in the world have, to be honest with you. They used to have one at Lyon, Juninho, he used to do the same. It's when you can strike with an open foot and you sort of come over the ball.

"A lot of times there's no spin on the ball, and as a goalkeeper you can't tell where it's going to go, and it moves in the air. It's very difficult. Ronaldo can obviously do it. There's a few players in the world that have really perfected it but it is something that has to be worked on time and time again."

Freidel also rejected the suggestion that one solution would be to remove the defensive wall: "No, if you didn't have a wall then he would just smack the absolute bejesus out of it, low and hard, and you would have no chance."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.