Goals give a player authority. With his commanding drive that delivered a 1-0 win over Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, Didier Drogba played like a leader of the Chelsea team and also spoke like one afterwards. At present he has a higher status than at any point since he moved to England two years ago. The Ivorian knows that he has not so much hit a new peak as belatedly rediscovered his old self.
The advent of micro-countries introduced a new terror to international football. You could beat them and still be humiliated. Fifteen years ago Scotland won 2-0 in San Marino, but the goals took a while to come. The game is remembered for the drawl of the late Ian Archer in a radio broadcast: ''We've been playing for an hour and it has just occurred to me that we're drawing 0-0 with a mountain top.''