The story of team sport is also the story of individual misses, dropped batons, fluffed catches, chances not taken. But few acts have the finality of an own goal in soccer. When a fielder drops a catch, he can hope that a bowler will pull him out of the hole where he has gone to hide by dismissing the batsman soon after. Perhaps a mix-up will lead to a run-out and personal redemption. But an own goal is its own punishment, no matter if your team wins by a huge margin.

And yet. There are few things funnier than watching a talented young millionaire at the peak of his physical powers do what players at lower levels regularly do. You and me, for instance. For one brief moment as a catch is dropped or a self-goal is scored, we find ourselves the equal of the best in the world. We may not be the person most likely to head a ball into the goal in the quarterfinal of a World Cup to…

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