World Football: 25 Sweetest International Goals of 2013
The recently concluded Confederations Cup exceeded expectations with some fantastic games and eye-popping golazos.
2013 has been a thrilling year so far for international football. World Cup qualifying has brought out the best of several top nations vying to reach Brazil next year.
Here are 25 of the sweetest goals from across the globe from the year so far.
(Belarus U18) vs. Belgium U18, January 10
We kick things off with a stunner from an unlikely source, Belarus' Nikita Korzun.
The midfielder, who plays his club football for Dinamo Minsk, picks the ball up in his own half before blasting an absolute rocket over the unfortunate Belgium keeper's head.
(Bahrain) vs. Iraq, January 15
On to the Middle East next, to witness Hussein Baba's perfect free kick for Bahrain against Iraq.
Bahrain have been eliminated from the Asia section of World Cup qualifying, finishing behind Iran and Qatar in their group.
(Ukraine U21) vs. Russia U21, January 27
Earlier this year, the impossibly named Vladislav Kalitvintsev likely scored the best goal he will ever score in his career.
The Ukranian U21 player must have hit his shot from at least 35 yards out, one that nestled snugly in the top corner of the Russian keeper's net.
(Chile U20) vs. Peru U20, February 3
Nineteen-year-old Bryan Rabello is a rising star for Chilean football.
The Sevilla attacking midfielder scored this beauty on international duty with the U20 team in February, smashing home a wicked free kick from miles out.
Juan Carlos Garcia
(Honduras) vs. USA, February 6
Next up is the first overhead-kick goal on our list, but not the last.
Juan Carlos Garcia timed his acrobatic strike to perfection to level the score against the USA. Honduras went on to win the World Cup qualifying clash 2-1.
(Nigeria) vs. Burkina Faso, February 10
To Africa now, and Sunday Mba's cracking goal from February.
In an international clash with Burkina Faso, the Nigerian central midfielder showed great touch to set himself up to finish with a technically adroit volley.
(Mexico U20) vs. USA U20, March 4
Not long after Juan Carlos Garcia's strike, Mexico's Julio Gomez struck another overhead-kick goal against the USA.
Direct from a corner, the U20 winger turned his body in such a way to connect with the dipping cross and score past Cody Cropper.
(Italy) vs. Brazil, March 21
This one you may have already seen. Mario Balotelli seems to have upped his game since moving from Manchester to Milan, and that includes his form at international level.
Here is his delightful curling finish past Brazil in a friendly match which finished 2-2.
(South Africa) vs. Central African Republic, March 23
Back to Africa, and Thabo Matlaba's stunner in March for South Africa against Central African Republic.
The left-back, who plays his club football for the Orlando Pirates, could not have hit the ball more powerfully. A fine way to score your first international goal.
(Belgium) vs. Macedonia, March 26
Eden Hazard is sure to thrive for Chelsea next season playing under new coach Jose Mourinho.
Here, the Belgian winger shows his quick feet to jinx past two defenders and finish low past the Macedonian goalkeeper.
(Japan) vs. Jordan, March 26
Like Hazard, Shinji Kagawa is poised for a landmark season at club level for Manchester United next term.
His recent form for Japan has certainly been excellent. Here, he latches on to a sublime assist to volley home in a clash with Jordan.
(Argentina U17) vs. Uruguay U17, April 18
Overhead kicks do not come much better than Sebastian Driussi's strike against the Uruguay U21's in April.
The Argentinian 17-year-old showed his immense natural talent with the strike from beyond the penalty area.
(France U20) vs. USA U20, May 29
The Toulon Tournament is an excellent opportunity to witness some of the best young prospects in the game in action.
Playing for France against the USA, Alexandre Coeff etched his name into the scouts' memories with a beautiful scorpion kick finish.
(Italy) vs. San Marino, May 31
Italy legend Andrea Pirlo makes two appearances on this list, the first for his swerving free kick against minnows San Marino.
The international clash finished 4-0 to Italy, with Andrea Poli, Alberto Gilardino and Alberto Aquilani on the scoresheet.
(England) vs. Brazil, June 2
England and Brazil contested a hard-fought 2-2 draw in June, a thrilling game despite its relative meaninglessness.
Wayne Rooney thought he had given the Three Lions a late win with this thunderbolt, however...
(Brazil) vs. England, June 2
...Brazilian creative midfielder Paulinho struck right back to level things up.
The 24-year-old will line up for Tottenham Hotspur next term and surely hopes to score more crackers like this one.
(USA) vs. Germany, June 3
Early last month, the USA shocked Germany by triumphing 4-3 in a friendly match.
Clint Dempsey's effort was the pick of the goals, the Tottenham forward turning sharply on the edge of the box before curling home a picture-perfect strike.
(Denmark) vs. Georgia, June 5
Another free-kick goal to savour here, this time courtesy of Ajax and Denmark prodigy Christian Eriksen in a clash with Georgia.
The attacking midfielder has been linked with a big money transfer this summer. The Express claim he could be headed to either Liverpool or Tottenham.
(Netherlands U21) vs. Russia U21, June 9
Netherlands were impressive in the recent European U21 Championships, reaching the semi-finals of the stacked tournament.
Georginio Wijnaldum was one of his nation's standout players. Here, the attacking midfielder scores with a howitzer against Russia.
(Netherlands) vs. China, June 11
Staying with the Netherlands, here is Wesley Sneijder's pirouette finish past China last month.
The sweet goal could not have been achieved with the fine link-up play of Sneijder and his teammates. Total Football at its finest.
(Brazil) vs. Japan, June 15
The last couple of months have surely belonged to Neymar. The Brazilian forward has been in blistering form, scoring fantastic goals for fun.
Here is his stunning volley against Japan. Not his last appearance on the list, though.
(Spain U21) vs. Norway U21, June 15
Spain were rampant in their march to Euro U21 Championship glory last month.
Isco's dreamlike outside-of-the-boot finish against Norway in the group stages was one example of his nation's brilliance. He will surely thrive at Real Madrid next season.
(Italy) vs. Mexico, June 16
Another Andrea Pirlo free-kick goal for you to feast your eyes on.
The holding midfielder scored this stunner on his 100th appearance for Italy, as they overcame Mexico 2-1 at the Confederations Cup.
(Uruguay) vs. Spain, June 17
Liverpool forward Luis Suarez had a bit of a rough season off the field. On it, he consistently showed why he is a world-class player.
His devilish free kick against Spain at the Confederations Cup may have only been a consolation goal, but its beauty is undeniable.
(Brazil) vs. Spain, July 1
Brazil's 3-0 dismantling of Spain in the Confederations Cup final was not an overly-surprising result. What stood out was the manner of the home nation's dominant win.
Neymar's cracking strike was the pick of the three goals, scored against a few of his future teammates at Barcelona.