The World Cup is where footballers come to showcase football in all its glamour. In each hosting of the World Cup, there is enough talent, humor, awe, and thrill to last you a lifetime. Luckily, you are treated to a spectacular viewing of the event once every four years.
For any fan, the paragon of any World Cup is the goals scored. Sure, the masterful play, skillful tactics, and dribbling skills are great. But the goals are simply spectacular. Here are the top 20 most beautiful football goals in the FIFA World Cup history. Since beauty is relative, the goals are arranged in random order.
1. Brazil vs. Italy (1970) - Carlos Alberto
Brazil is regarded as one of the greatest teams in football history, and it's been so for years. In 1970, they had the chance to showcase their brilliance, synergy, and togetherness in one of the greatest goals. This is after they had just thrashed Germany in the semi-finals to face off against Italy in the final. Tostao, a Brazillian forward received the ball after a preemptive Italian attack.
He quickly passed the ball back and forth to three of his teammates before finding Clodoado. Clodoado then brushed right past three Italian players before passing the ball to Rivelino. Jairzinho got the ball next and he soon after passed it to Pele.
Pele then found Carlos Alberto who shot the ball into the back of the Italian net. The beauty in this goal was in the build-up, and how each Brazillian player knew where the other was, and what they needed to do. Brazil went ahead to win the match and the trophy with a 4-1 goal display. They also took the Jules Rimmet trophy after being crowned champions a third time.
2. Argentina vs. England (1986) - Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona is arguably one of the greatest players the world has seen. Though he already hung up his playing boots years ago, his name still reigns supreme in the football world, and his work is still recognized as revolutionary. The goal that gets him on the list, is in a match between his countryside Argentina, and formidable English side. The subject goal came just four minutes after he had scored the highly controversial 'Hand of God' goal. He picked up the ball in his own half, then delightfully span past two English players.
He then went ahead to pull off an impressive spin into the English playing half. Though Terry Butcher and Peter Shilton tried to stop him, the little Argentinian man was simply unstoppable. The goal went ahead to be termed as one of the greatest goals of the century. Very few players can be able to pull off a masterful run like that, past defenders, at record-shattering speeds, and still, manage to score one of the most beautiful goals. Maradona, was indeed, the greatest player of his time, and one of the all-time greats.
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3. Holland vs. Argentina (1998) - Dennis Bergkamp
In 1998, the Argentinians were a formidable side that could've easily gone ahead to win the World Cup. During the event's quarterfinals, Argentina faced off against a resilient Holland side. The result was a stalemate by the end of normal time, thus they were required to square it off in extra time as Claudio Lopez's goal canceled out Patrick Kluivert's opening goal.
David Bergkamp was deep in the Argentinian side, and very little attention was on him. Frank De Boer had possession of the ball inside his own side. He shot the ball towards Bergkamp. Bergkamp brought the ball down with a sensational touch, he then took it past Roberto Ayala and then smashed the ball past the Argentinian goalie, Carlos Roa.
4. Argentina vs. Mexico (2006) - Maxi Rodriguez
In the round of 16, Argentina had a thrilling game against Mexico. The goal started with one of the greatest footballers of the era, Lionel Messi. He received the ball at the midfield point and decided to pass it inside. After a slip of foot and a miss-controlled ball, Messi passed the ball to Juan Pablo Sorin.
Sorin shot the ball to an anticipative Rodriguez. He calmed it down with his chest, and when it was well within his control, he shot it towards the Argentinian goal. It may have seemed like it was headed out for a minute, but it beautifully curled to hit the inside of the net from the top corner.
This goal was - and still is - a great masterpiece that the football world still watches in bewilderment.
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5. Columbia vs. Uruguay (2014) - James Rodriguez
Another Rodriguez makes it to the list, but this time, it's Columbia's, James Rodriguez. He may not have had a lot of say in the 2018 World Cup due to an injury sustained early in the competition. But he was astronomical to Columbia in the 2014 World Cup.
His most notable goal was that against Uruguay. He was waiting just outside the penalty box for the ball. It had been sprung out to a fellow teammate who hit a header towards Rodriguez. His first contact with the ball was to calm it down and slightly turning to get a better shooting angle. When he got his left foot on the ball, he created a massive shot that went past various Uruguayan players and found its way to the back of the net through the top corner.
The 50th-minute goal went ahead to secure a 1-0 win over Uruguay at the round of 16 stage. He later won the Puskas award still in 2014.
6. Argentina vs. Serbia and Montenegro (2006) - Esteban Cambiasso
When all is said and done, it all boils down to what one team is willing to do to get a goal in. In the 2006 World Cup match between Argentina and Serbia and Montenegro, there was a stunning display of patience and persistence.
Argentina had played the game well and had even already scored a goal in the early minutes of the game. However, they were not satisfied with one goal, they patiently waited while passing the ball between their players. They went ahead and set camp at the corner of the opposing side's penalty box.
Eventually, it was Javier Mascherano, Juan Roman Riquelme, Rodriguez, and Esteban Cambiasso that started passing the ball around. While waiting to exploit any weakness in the opponent's side, Cambiasso got the ball through a delightful backheel from Hernan Crespo. Cambiasso launched the ball into the back of the opponent's net.
The beauty in this goal is how much patience, skill and pinpoint accuracy it took to create the wonderful moment.
7. England vs. Argentina (1998) - Michael Owen
This is one of those goals that involves some of the biggest names in British football.
Michael Owen set his name apart in the match when he received an accurate pass from David Beckham. Owen gave the ball a light touch by the tip of his right foot. When the ball was fully under his control, he sprinted forward past Jose Chamot and Matias Almeyda. Still thirsty to showcase his brilliance, Owen shot the ball right past the Argentinian goalie. This was despite Paul Scholes arriving on Owens right-hand side. Scholes had a better chance of scoring, but Owen took his chance and went ahead to create a beautiful goal.
The goal gave his team a 2-1 lead over the Argentinians. Though England later lost the match on penalties, the goal was still considered a beautiful creation.
8. England vs. West Germany (1966) - Sir. Geoff Hurst
During the 1966 final, Geoff Hurst had already scored two goals for the Britons, and though one of them was controversial, it had been accepted by the referee.
In the dying minutes of the game, England was leading 3-2, and it was certain they were to win the trophy. In the last minute of added time, Hurst got the ball at the half mak, and he ran with it towards the German side. There was hardly any contention as he went past the only defender. He strung in a beautiful goal that gave the English side a strong 4-2 lead.
It was the first and last time for the English to win the World Cup. To date, they are still trying to replicate the '66 results.
Side note: It was also during this match that Kenneth Wolstenholme, the commentator of the match termed the words that would later become famous; "They think it's all over, it is now."
9. Italy vs. West Germany (1982) - Marco Tardelli
When Tardelli scored the goal against West Germany, he went into a run that seemed like would never stop. The goal came about by a skilled passing by his teammates deep into the West German penalty box. He eventually got the ball and shot it past the goalie. Granting Italy a much deserved 2-0 lead. His celebration is recorded as one of the greatest, and so is the goal.
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10. Scotland vs. Holland (1978) - Archie Gemmil
The 1978 World Cup was not a good time for Scotland. They had lost to Peru, then drew to Iran. This meant they had to beat the Dutch by at least three goals. Gemmil had his way of lifting up Scotish spirits. He got the ball in the middle of the field. He dribbled past Wim Jansen, Ruud Kroll, Jan Poortvliet and then tossed it over Jan Jongbloed, the Dutch goalie.
Although the Dutch scored soon after, the goal was a beautiful masterpiece.