Johansson’s 91 thunderbolt sets the standard

18 Apr 2019
  • Ingrid Johansson scored a stunning long-range strike for Sweden in 1991

  • One of ten goals in contention to be named the Women’s World Cup’s best ever

  • Johansson hadn’t seen her “perfect strike” replayed until as recently as 2015

For some, it’s intricate team moves. For others, scintillating solo efforts and slaloming runs set the pulse racing. Plenty of football fans will say, however, that there is nothing to beat a sweetly struck long-range shot, and few in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ history have been hit with more power and accuracy than Ingrid Johansson’s.

The Swede’s stunning 1991 effort features on a list of ten shortlisted goals - all in the running to be crowned the Women’s World Cup’s greatest ever.

Yet, remarkable as Johansson’s strike was, what’s even more incredible is that it took 24 years for the goalscorer to see footage of her handiwork. As she explained to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in 2015: "I've never seen it until now. They didn't show a lot of football at home back then, so I didn't actually know if anyone had managed to film it.

“That World Cup was in China, and the match took place in the middle of the night in Sweden, so I don't think it was aired here."

Fortunately for Johansson and all lovers of great goals, the TV cameras were on hand to capture her moment of magic. It came in a thrilling group-stage encounter against eventual champions USA, in which Sweden – having been 3-0 down – scored twice in six second-half minutes to spark a dramatic finale.

The Americans held on, but the calibre of play and level of excitement set a standard that helped establish the Women’s World Cup as a permanent fixture on the global football calendar. Johansson’s goal, struck from over 35 yards, was an obvious highlight, and deservedly takes its place among the tournament’s finest.

But is it the best ever? That’s down to you, the users, to decide. Until 6 May, you’ll be able to view all ten of the shortlisted strikes and pick the goal you believe should be crowned the Women’s World Cup’s greatest.

What they said

"It sounds crazy but I don't remember [how I hit the ball]. But looking at the shot and how far away I am from goal and the flight it takes, it must have been a perfect hit.

“Did I score lots of goals like that? No. I could shoot quite decently, but I was normally closer to goal when playing with my club. I later heard that Gunilla Paijkull (Sweden’s then national team coach) had said at the time, ‘Oh, so stupid. Why is she taking on that shot?’” Ingrid Johansson