Physics of soccer: best free kick and goal by Roberto Carlos against France in ’97

Date:12 May 2010 Tags:, , ,

Devotees of soccer history will remember the free kick taken by the Brazilian Roberto Carlos in a tournament in France in 1997. The ball was placed about 30 m from his opponents’ goal and slightly to the right. Carlos hit the ball so far to the right that it initially cleared the wall of defenders by at least a metre and made a ball-boy, who stood metres from the goal, duck his head. Then, almost magically, the ball curved to the left and entered the top right-hand corner of the goal – to the amazement of players, the goalkeeper and the media alike. Watch the best free kick and goal by Roberto Carlos…

Apparently, Carlos practised this kick all the time on the training ground. He intuitively knew how to curve the ball by hitting it at a particular velocity and with a particular spin. He probably did not, however, know the physics behind it all.

Related material
* Article: Unpacking the physics of soccer
* Article: How does a soccer ball swerve?

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