If Myer Bevan were in any doubt about his impact on New Zealand’s 3-1 win over Honduras at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, which saw him notch two crucial goals, it would have become clear to him after the match, when a throng of young Korean fans descended on him, chanting his name and asking for autographs and photos, requests to which the young forward gracefully consented with a broad grin.
Watching him make his way through the large crowd of admirers in Cheonan was a familiar face and family member.
“It’s the greatest day of my life; I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” a delighted Murray Bevan, Myer’s uncle said.
“I played football myself and then I coached Myer between the age of five and 12, but he got too good for me, so I had to hand over that side of things to more qualified individuals.
“It took me 15 hours to get here, if you include a stop-off in Tokyo. It was a long journey, but completely worth it in the end!”
Fortunately, he arrived in time for kick-off, because had he been just a minute late, he would have missed his nephew giving the All Whites the lead in spectacular fashion.
“All I really remember about it is sliding on my knees to celebrate,” said the beaming striker. “In fact, I’d be curious to know when I actually scored it. Do you know how many seconds were on the clock at the time?”
Officially, 45 seconds of the match had gone by when the New Zealander fired an unstoppable shot in off the crossbar from the right-hand side of the box.
Although the strike did not knock record holder Monday Odiaka – who scored for Nigeria after 14 seconds at USSR 1985 – off his perch, it is one that the ecstatic No. 19 will remember for quite some time.
“It was an incredible feeling,” said Bevan, who later added a second goal from the penalty spot in the 56th minute.
“And I’m pretty sure it was a nice one, too! I haven’t had a chance to watch it again. But aside from my two goals, the most important thing is that we won.”
Indeed, this was a critical victory for New Zealand, who only claimed a point from their closely contested opening draw with Vietnam (0-0).
“We were all very frustrated after that game, and as a forward, I was particularly disappointed because it’s always annoying when you don’t score,” said Bevan.
“We had hoped to get our U-20 World Cup campaign off to a better start and that result put pressure on us ahead of the Honduras match. But we did what we needed to do and I made up for our first game by scoring twice.”
Bevan is known for his consistency, as his fine performances at the 2016 OFC U-20 Championship demonstrated.
The dynamic attacker’s name was on everyone’s lips during the continental competition, during which he scored five goals to finish joint top scorer and was named Player of the Tournament.
“What great memories I have from that event. But it’s nothing compared to my two goals today. It’s like a completely different world here. It feels like I’m dreaming and I really hope it’s the kind of dream that’s going to last a bit longer,” he concluded, before turning away to kindly sign more autographs.
Story courtesy of FIFA