World Football: 25 Sweetest International Goals This Year

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

World Football: 25 Sweetest International Goals This Year

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    We are six months into 2012, and the best world football players have not disappointed fans in the spectacular goals department.

    While it is a difficult task to pick out only 25 goals out of six months of football, these goals all deserve a spot on the list because they are world-class.

    From Euro 2012 to the Premier League to Major League Soccer and beyond, all of these goals are worth taking a second and maybe even third look at because of their brilliance.

    Here they are—the 25 best goals of 2012 so far.

David Trezeguet

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    If you were wondering where in the world David Trezeguet has been in the past year or so, he has been helping River Plate secure promotion back to the first division in Argentina.

    This goal from Saturday was the second of the game for the former French international as he led the Argentinian club back to the first division.

    Trezeguet scored 13 goals in all after joining the Buenos Aires club from Baniyas in the UAE.

Marco Pappa

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    When he is not scoring game-tying goals in World Cup qualifying for Guatemala, Marco Pappa is playing for the Chicago Fire in MLS.

    Pappa is no stranger to scoring great goals—in fact, he won the 2010 MLS Goal of the Year.

    This goal from the Guatemalan comes early on in the Fire's recent game with the Columbus Crew.

Nashat Akram

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    This goal comes to us from an international friendly and from a player who is dubbed the Iraqi Beckham.

    Nashat Akram scored this goal for Iraq against Sierra Leone in a friendly match back in May.

    For those of you who may be thinking the name sounds familiar, Akram has spent some time in Europe with FC Twente and now plays for Malaga in La Liga.

Ramires

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    Chelsea's run to the UEFA Champions League title was an historic one. Against Barcelona, one of the club's legends, Frank Lampard, set up one of the club's youngsters, Ramires, for this brilliant goal.

    This goal came just in time for Chelsea, as they were close to elimination against Barca.

    Right before halftime, Ramires and Lampard perfected a simple give-and-go pass, and the Brazilian went sprinting past the defence and chipped the ball over the head of Victor Valdes.

Dalibor Veselinovic

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    The first goal from a bicycle kick on this list comes from Serbian player Dalibor Veselinovic.

    Veselinovic was on loan at Kortrijk in the Belgian Pro League from fellow Belgian club Anderlecht when he scored this goal.

    This overhead goal was the only goal Kortrijk could muster against Gent on the day, but it sure was one for the highlight reel.

Xherdan Shaqiri

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    Continuing with the bicycle kicks on this list is Xherdan Shaqiri, formerly of FC Basel.

    This season was Shaqiri's final season with FC Basel before moving to Bayern Munich, and the club accomplished quite a few things.

    Not only did they knock Manchester United out of the UEFA Champions League, but FC Basel won the Swiss Super League and Swiss Cup as well as Shaqiri earning his second Swiss Player of the Year award.

    This goal came from Swiss Super League action as Basel were only able to earn a draw with FC Luzern on the day.

Eric Hassli

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    Eric Hassli is no stranger to scoring great goals, and he once again struck awe into the fans of the Vancouver Whitecaps back in May.

    Not only did Hassli amaze Vancouver fans, but this goal put the Whitecaps level with Toronto FC in the first leg of the Canadian Championship.

    However, Hassli's goal would not be enough to give the Whitecaps the title, as they lost the second leg a week later in Toronto.

Michael Bradley

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    Michael Bradley had a great season with Chievo Verona in Serie A, and he kept that form going during the recent matches he played for the United States.

    Bradley's one-touch volley against Scotland was set up by a team effort, and Bradley rewarded his teammates' great passing with a laser into the back of the net.

    Although Bradley and the United States did not reach a level of dominance that they did in their 5-1 win over the Scots in their other matches this summer, they showed progress under new manager Jurgen Klinsmann going into World Cup qualifying.

Mark Hudson

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    Now it is time for a few goals that were scored from long distance.

    Cardiff City's Mark Hudson scored this 68-yard goal against Derby in April after the ball was played right to him.

    The Bluebirds enjoyed a successful season, but they missed out on the Carling Cup (losing in the final to Liverpool) and promotion to the Premier League (losing to playoff winners West Ham United in the semifinals).

Luis Suarez

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    Luis Suarez also scored an amazing goal from midfield, although it was not as long as Hudson's 68-yarder.

    Suarez capped off his hat trick against Norwich City with this goal from just past the midfield line and caught the keeper completely off-guard.

    The hat trick came at the end of a controversial year for Suarez, who was suspended for eight games for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra back in January.

Peter Crouch

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    Staying in the Premier League, Peter Crouch scored this wonderful goal against Manchester City in March.

    Crouch took one touch with his foot before volleying the ball past City keeper Joe Hart.

    The Premier League journeyman scored 10 goals for Stoke City this season in his first season with the club.

Sergio Aguero

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    Speaking of Manchester City, they just happened to win the Premier League title on the last minute of the season, thanks to this Sergio Aguero goal.

    This is not the most spectacular goal of the year, but it has a tremendous amount of meaning behind it and in the circumstances it was scored.

    Down a goal to QPR going into stoppage time, Man City scored two goals to clinch the Premier League title and take it away from rival Manchester United.

Nicolas Blandi

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    Back to South America for the next goal on the list, which comes Nicolas Blandi of Boca Juniors.

    Blandi's overhead kick into the back of the net only a yard or so in front of net came at an important time for his club.

    Blandi's goal tied the game with Atletico Rafaela and turned a loss into a celebrated draw.

Danny Welbeck

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    A number of amazing goals have come out of Euro 2012, and Danny Welbeck's back-heel flick is just one of them.

    Welbeck's goal completed England's comeback against Sweden in the Three Lions' second Group D game.

    As we all know by now, England were once again knocked out on penalties in the quarterfinals, but look for their squad to be stronger including Welbeck heading into the 2014 World Cup.

Andrea Pirlo

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    Andrea Pirlo makes his first appearance on this list with his free kick against Croatia in Group C play from Euro 2012.

    Pirlo has shown his brilliance throughout the whole tournament, and this free-kick goal is just part of his amazing play in Poland and Ukraine.

    This is not the last time the Italian midfielder appears on this list, as a certain penalty kick also made the cut.

Osvaldo Alonso

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    Osvaldo Alonso has been one of the key players for Seattle Sounders FC in MLS since 2009.

    Alonso has won team MVP for the past two seasons and may win team Goal of the Year after this strike in the U.S. Open Cup.

    Alonso's volley was the fifth and final goal that the Sounders scored in their romp over upstart club Cal FC.

Ismael Matar

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    Time to go back to the department of international free-kick mastery with this goal from Ismael Matar of the United Arab Emirates.

    Matar's free kick goal against Lebanon was one of the few spots in the UAE's failed attempt at qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    Matar and the UAE were eliminated in the third round of qualifying after finishing last in Group B.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is no stranger to lists like this, and he makes this one with his Euro 2012 goal against France.

    This volley from the Swedish forward came in his country's final game in Group C and final game of the tournament against France.

    The Swedes may have been eliminated, but they went out with a win and with a spectacular goal from their star player.

Sami Khedira

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    Germany have been dominant throughout Euro 2012, and along with their dominance, they scored some great goals against Greece in the semifinals.

    After being equalized by the Greeks, Sami Khedira put the Germans back in front for good with the volley from just inside the penalty area.

    Khedira's goal is also a great display of team passing, as six passes were made around the penalty area before Khedira struck the ball into the back of the net.

Kyle Walker

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    Not many defenders can strike a free kick like Kyle Walker can.

    Walker sent this free kick from right to left into the right side of the net, as he scored Tottenham's second goal of the day against Blackburn.

    We may be seeing a lot more of Walker in the next year or so, as he is on Roy Hodgson's radar to be called up to the England squad.

Mario Balotelli

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    Mario Balotelli is no stranger to controversy, but he is also no stranger to scoring goals.

    Balotelli scored this goal at Euro 2012 against Ireland. He was held in the box by the defender and still had the strength to score on a half-bicycle kick in front of goal.

    The win over Ireland could not put the Azzurri at the top of Group C, but they did get past England in the quarterfinals on penalties.

Andrea Pirlo

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    Pirlo's second stroke of genius at Euro 2012 was his daring penalty against England in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

    After providing pass after pass onto the feet of his teammates all game long, it was Pirlo's turn to take a chance at scoring.

    Pirlo and Italy eventually won the penalty shootout and will play Germany on Thursday in the second semifinal of the tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Not many people can do what Cristiano Ronaldo does with a football.

    There are reasons he is one of the best players ever in world football—and this free kick against Atletico Madrid is just another one of them.

    This goal was part of a hat trick by the Real Madrid player and was one of his 60 goals that he scored for his club this season.

Lionel Messi

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    Lionel Messi is also no stranger to scoring hat tricks, and he did just that in Argentina's recent friendly with Brazil.

    This goal came late in the second half.

    It saw Messi run from midfield to right outside the penalty box and whip a shot into the left corner of the net.

    Messi's goal was his seventh for Argentina this season and his 80th in the past year, as he scored 73 for Barcelona this past season.

Papiss Cisse

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    The best goal of the year so far does not belong to someone named Messi, Ronaldo, Zlatan or Pirlo.

    It belongs to Newcastle's Papiss Cisse.

    Some people are still trying to figure out how the Senegal international scored from this impossible angle.

    Cisse was a hit at Newcastle before his wonder goal, but the goal just added to his legend.

    Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 Premier League games and will look to build on that total in his first full season with the Magpies.