Ranking England's 20 Greatest World Cup Goals

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentJune 4, 2014

Ranking England's 20 Greatest World Cup Goals

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    England have some wonderful attacking qualities to show off at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling—so goals will be on the menu.

    There have been some cracking strikes by England players at previous World Cup tournaments, ranging from the long-range and sublime to the delicate and important.

    Here, we've ranked the top 20 England goals scored in World Cup games of all time. Let us know if you agree with our selection in the comment section.

20. Bryan Robson vs. France (1982)

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    A simple goal, but effective nonetheless, starts our countdown as Trevor Francis' cross from the right was guided home by the head of Bryan Robson for England's second in a 3-1 win over France at World Cup 1982.

19. Michael Owen vs. Brazil (2002)

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    Heads were turned when Michael Owen took advantage of some sloppy defending from Brazil's Lucio to give England a shock lead in their World Cup quarter-final against Brazil in 2002.

    The lead didn't last until half-time though, when on the stroke of it, Rivaldo levelled for the soon to be world champions.

18. Matthew Upson vs. Germany (2010)

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    England's last goal in a World Cup match belongs to Matthew Upson, whose towering header from Steven Gerrard's deliciously whipped in cross gave the Three Lions a faint glimmer of hope after finding themselves 2-0 down to Germany after 37 minutes.

    It wasn't to be though, as Germany went on to claim a comfortable 4-1 victory in this second-round match in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

17. Gary Lineker vs. Argentina (1986)

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    Gary Lineker's 81st-minute goal for England against Argentina was merely a consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat, having witnessed both Diego Maradona's "hand of God" and remarkable skill prior to it.

    John Barnes' quick feet opened up space down the left and his cross was met by the head of Lineker with England chasing the game.

16. Darren Anderton vs. Colombia (1998)

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    In England's final group game of the 1998 World Cup, Owen's cross from the right side was easily headed away by the Colombian defence.

    But it was only as far as Tottenham midfielder Darren Anderton, who rifled home an unstoppable shot to give England the lead in a 2-0 win over the South Americans.

15. Gary Lineker vs. Poland (1986)

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    In the heat of Mexico's Estadio Universitario, England ran riot over Poland in Group F of the 1986 World Cup with Lineker bagging a hat-trick.

    This, his second of England's three goals that day, was the pick of the bunch.

    Peter Beardsley's pin-point through-ball to Steve Hodge, whose low cross found the instinctive boot of Lineker.

14. Geoff Hurst vs. Romania (1970)

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    A nimble piece of footwork from the hero of 1966, Geoff Hurst, got world-champions England off to a great start at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

    The forward turned his man before finishing with a cool shot in the 1-0 victory over Romania in Guadalajara.

13. Bryan Robson vs. France (1982)

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    Battleaxe Terry Butcher got a very important flick-on to open up space for Manchester United legend Robson to stretch and poke the ball home in the opening minute of England's 3-1 win over France at World Cup 1982.

12. Gary Lineker vs. West Germany (1990)

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    Trailing to an Andreas Brehme goal since the 59th minute, England looked to be heading out of World Cup 1990 until the ball found its way through a confused German defence for Lineker to pounce on with a marvellous finish after taking a fine touch with his knee.

    The goal forced the game into extra-time, and eventually to penalties, where West Germany ran out 4-3 winners.

11. Steven Gerrard vs. USA (2010)

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    England's 2010 World Cup campaign got off to the perfect start when Gerrard put the Three Lions ahead after just four minutes against the USA in Rustenburg, South Africa.

    With the droning sound of the vuvuzelas echoing around the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Emile Heskey played in Gerrard on the edge of the area.

    Gerrard took one touch, kept his balance well, then poked the ball beyond Tim Howard in the USA's goal.

10. Paul Scholes vs. Tunisia (1998)

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    England lead comfortably in their opening game of World Cup 1998 in France against Tunisia thanks to Alan Shearer's first-half opener, but 1-0 was hardly a flattering scoreline.

    In the 90th minute, Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes picked up the ball from Paul Ince on the edge of the area and expertly found space before unleashing a quite wonderful curling effort past Chokri El Ouaer in the Tunisia goal.

9. David Beckham vs. Colombia (1998)

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    With lots of controversy over England boss Glen Hoddle's decision not to start Manchester United midfielder David Beckham in the first two games of the tournament, Beckham got his opportunity in the final group game against Colombia.

    Following Anderton's 20th-minute strike, Beckham scored what would later become known as a trademark Beckham strike to double England's advantage and set up a second-round tie against Argentina.

8. David Beckham vs. Argentina (2002)

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    A penalty is never the most stunning of goals, but they often hold great importance and none more so than Beckham's confident penalty to sink Argentina at World Cup 2002.

7. Steven Gerrard vs. Trinidad & Tobago (2006)

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    England made hard work of their opponents from the Caribbean in their second group game at World Cup 2006 in Germany.

    Only in the 83rd minute had Peter Crouch broken the deadlock, before Liverpool's Gerrard opened up space to smash home this long-range beauty in stoppage time.

6. Bobby Charlton vs. Mexico (1966)

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    "You beauty!"

    Iconic commentary for an iconic goal by Bobby Charlton in the group stage of the triumphant 1966 World Cup at Wembley Stadium.

    Mexico lost possession deep inside the England half, and when Charlton took the ball forward from the half-way line, he only had one thing on his mind, culminating in a spectacular 30-yard strike to give England a 38th-minute lead in the 2-0 victory.

5. Joe Cole vs. Sweden (2006)

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    A goal that dreams are made of for Chelsea's Joe Cole when he smashed home this stunning half-volley to open the scoring in a 2-2 draw with Sweden at the 2006 World Cup.

    Catching the ball perfectly with distance to goal, Cole's strike looped over Andreas Isaksson for one of the goals of the tournament.

4. David Beckham vs. Ecuador (2006)

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    Beckham fooled everyone when his expected crossed free-kick turned out to be a shot, beating Ecuador's Cristian Mora at his near post.

    It was a vital goal too—the only goal of the game—as England qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Germany.

3. Geoff Hurst vs. West Germany (1966)

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    Probably the most iconic England goal of all time and wonderful commentary from Kenneth Wolstenholme to match. West Ham's Hurst wrapped up his hat-trick and England's fourth in their 4-2 triumph over West Germany to seal the World Cup in 1966.

    With fatigue setting in after the game had been forced to extra-time, Hurst used the final strength in his body to carry the ball forward before unleashing a strong left-foot shot past German goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski.

    "Here comes Hurst. Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over...it is now!"

2. Michael Owen vs. Argentina (1998)

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    Owen was just 18 years old when he scored a wonder goal for England to give them the lead in their World Cup second-round tie against Argentina at France '98.

    Beckham laid the ball off to Owen in midfield, who took the ball in his stride. His pace and close-control saw him beat every Argentine defender in front of him, before he coolly finished Carlos Roa for a famous, famous goal.

1. David Platt vs. Belgium 1990

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    Incredible scenes ensued in the 119th minute of England v Belgium in the 1990 World Cup at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara in Bologna when David Platt's goal sent Bobby Robson's men through to the World Cup quarter-finals.

    Paul Gascoigne's beautifully chipped-in free-kick found Platt on the turn deep inside the Belgian penalty area.

    Swinging his whole body around to connect with the ball, Platt fired England through to the next stage of the competition.

    A worthy winner, narrowly beating Owen to the post, of our top-20 countdown.