Ranking Brazil's 20 Greatest World Cup Goals

Christopher AtkinsContributor IMarch 22, 2017

Ranking Brazil's 20 Greatest World Cup Goals

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Five-time world champions Brazil have provided some of the most memorable moments in World Cup history, as well as some of the very best goals scored on football's biggest stage.

    Ahead of the country hosting the competition this summer, Bleacher Report takes a look at some of the very best of those, ranking the top 20 Brazil World Cup goals of all time.

    Ronaldo (pictured) makes our list alongside Pele, Zico, Garrincha and, somewhat surprisingly, a large number of full-backs. Brazil, though, are renowned for possessing flair and quality right across the pitch.

    Which goals will make the cut?

20. Pele (Vs. Italy, 1970)

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    Another World Cup final for Pele brought another truly memorable goal, scoring one of the most iconic headers in football to help down an Italy side who were helpless on the day.

    What separated Pele from many of his peers were his tremendous physical attributes in an era when players were not as focused on nutrition and toning as they are now. It was a balance of that athleticism and his undoubted skill and intelligence that made him "the King."

    The height to which he jumps and his "hang-time" in the air on this strike are truly astonishing, with the goal still used to exemplify how great strikers operate from crosses to this very day.

19. Marcio Santos (Vs. Cameroon, 1994)

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    It is a goal that ticks many boxes, with a no-look pass from Dunga finding Jorginho whose wonderful cross was converted by a Marcio Santos diving header. It is such a simple move, yet executed with precision.

    Brazil swept to the title in 1994 and while the side lacked the magical element of teams in previous years, there were still moments where they demonstrated Brazilian flair and invention.

    Dunga's contribution to this effort, in particular, is worthy of being singled out for special praise.

18. Zico (Vs. Argentina, 1982)

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    Zico makes several appearances on this list but there can be no doubt that this strike against Argentina was by and large the doing of Eder, whose blistering free-kick nearly snapped the crossbar in half.

    Brazil's No. 10 may have been on hand to poke home but the hard part had already been done, and it is the purity and power of Eder's strike that sees the effort rank among Brazil's best in World Cup history.

17. Branco (Vs. Netherlands, 1994)

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    Branco may be best known in England for a miserable failed spell at Middlesborough. However, prior to that he was most famous for his time in Brazil's national side and this well-struck effort against Netherlands in particular.

    The effort may not have been typical of blasted free-kicks in that it never really got off the ground. However, the pace with which the ball was struck from 35 yards left Ed de Goey floundering.

    Add in swerve to bring the ball back on target and the goal gets better with each viewing.

16. Roberto Carlos (Vs. China, 2002)

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    Roberto Carlos' success rate with free-kicks was not all it is cracked up to be. However, when he found the back of the net his goals tended to be spectacular.

    This strike against China in 2002 was his only free-kick goal in World Cup competition and, as powered efforts go, it was well worth a second look.

    The Fevernova ball was known for its ability to swerve when hit from range and the Real Madrid left-back made use of that unpredictability to score on this occasion.

15. Ronaldinho (Vs. England, 2002)

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    The man himself insists that the goal was deliberate so we have to take him at his word and admit that Ronaldinho's lobbed free-kick effort against England was a truly magnificent piece of improvisation.

    There is absolutely no way that anyone other than Ronaldinho would be able to claim that the goal was intentional. However, the former PSG and Barcelona man has always thought outside of the box on a football field.

    The goal would mark the beginning of the end for David Seaman's footballing career but, in reality, there was little he could do to prevent the ball flying over his head with such pinpoint precision.

14. Ronaldo (Vs. Ghana, 2006)

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    It was the goal that sealed Ronaldo's place at the top of the all-time World Cup goalscoring charts.

    Despite coming towards the end of his time at the top of the game, he showed the intelligence and trickery that defined his career in a Brazil shirt in one goal. Ageing and scarred by injury he may have been, but Ronaldo is the consumate goalscorer.

    Kaka's vision and weight of pass should also be applauded.

13. Julinho (vs. Mexico, 1954)

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    We live in an age where video technology allows us to access all sorts of gems from the past and it is thanks to those advancements that Julinho's talents can still reach a wide audience.

    The ability to manoeuvre what would have been one of the old-fashioned heavy leather footballs, beating two players and then firing home is highly impressive. Indeed, if such a goal was scored now, it would be lauded as one of the very best individual strikes in World Cup history.

    Julinho Botelho's ability lives on through such clips, demonstrating why he is widely regarded as one of Brazil's very best exponents of wing play.

12. Zico (Vs. Spain, 1982)

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    Another stunner from the 1982 World Cup and this time it was playmaker Zico coming to the fore with a curled free-kick into the top-corner of the net against Spain.

    Zico was the heart of the '82 attack as the creator-in-chief for a side regarded as one of the best offensive units in the history of football. It was the side that came to define "Jogo Bonito."

    Besides creating chances, Zico was also a terrific goalscorer and this free-kick strike exemplifies his capabilities with a football more than any other moment in his World Cup career.

11. Marta (Vs. USA, 2007)

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    Given the rich history of Brazil's men's side, it would take a remarkable goal for any effort from the women's side to make a list such as this. However, this strike from Marta is truly deserving.

    Five-time World Player of the Year, Marta is in a category of her own when it comes to the history of women's football in Brazil. In 2007, when she scored this sensational strike, she was named both MVP and top-scorer of the World Cup.

    Such skill and finesse in beating two players single-handed before finishing past the keeper make her fully deserving of the famous No. 10 shirt she graces.

10. Garrincha (vs. Bulgaria, 1966)

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    Tricky winger Garrincha was a fading force by 1966 but that didn't stop him scoring a sensational free-kick that was to prove his last for Brazil.

    Indeed, he would only play once more for the selecao with his career coming to a rapid end as off-field problems began to come to a head.

    Fading he may have been, but this effort was a fantastic way to bid farewell to the national team setup.

9. Maicon (vs. North Korea, 2010)

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    Despite the obvious quality difference between Brazil and North Korea, the Asian side were able to hold out resolutely against the selecao for longer than most expected. A spectacular goal from Maicon, though, changed the match situation entirely.

    From the byline, the right wing-back somehow managed to find an angle to finish into the far corner, albeit thanks to some suspect goalkeeping.

    It was a goal that marked the pinnacle of Maicon's career before his subsequent fall from grace. He has, though, returned to the national team setup for this summer's competition.

8. Pele (Vs. Sweden, 1958)

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    Seventeen year-olds are not supposed to be decisive in World Cup finals and, if they are, they are certainly not expected to provide the game's moment of outstanding quality.

    That is exactly what Pele managed in the final of 1958, however, single-handedly inspiring Brazil to success over Sweden. This effort where he chests the ball down, flicks the ball over an opponent and fires home was his personal highlight.

    It was the goal that established Pele's reputation on a world stage.

7. Zico (Vs. Scotland, 1982)

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    The beautiful game can, at times, surprise even the most experienced football fan with the levels of elegance that can be achieved and no goal better demonstrates the flair of Brazil's 1982 side than this effort against Scotland.

    Zico's acrobatics finished the move but there were several players who made key contributions to the goal in the build-up, including Socrates and Leandro.

    It was a marvellous move and a truly memorable goal.

6. Jairzinho (Vs. England, 1970)

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    Jairzinho was the star of the 1970 World Cup for Brazil, scoring in every round of the competition as the selecao breezed to success. His effort against reigning champions England in the Group Stage may well have been the best.

    The trickery of Tostao sets up the opportunity, Pele shows his wonderful game awareness to pick out Jairzinho and the Botafogo icon shows his finishing skills to power the ball home.

    It was a stunning strike that summed up the star's wonderful tournament.

5. Socrates (vs. USSR, 1982)

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    Poor USSR were on the end of more than one stunner when they took on Brazil in 1982 and that this strike from captain Socrates was not Brazil's best of the clash says much of the quality of the game.

    A languid and elegant central midfielder, Socrates showed finesse to open up space for the strike before blasting home a stunning strike from long range.

    It was a goal that helped build the legend of Socrates and the 1982 side in general, both of which are fondly remembered to this very day.

4. Nelinho (Vs. Italy, 1978)

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    Another right-back, another stunning goal and, on this occasion, it was Nelinho coming up with a moment of magic from a narrow angle against Italy in 1978.

    Hit with incredible power from the touchline, Nelinho manages to swerve the ball inside the far-post from an angle that had seemed impossible on first viewing. Was it lucky? Only the player himself will know.

    Nelinho may be one of the lesser known players on this list, but his goal still lives long in the memory.

3. Eder (Vs. USSR, 1982)

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    The Brazil side of 1982 has gone down in history as one of the greatest sides not to win the competition and this magnificent volleyed effort from Eder is indicative of why.

    Eder may be lesser-known than the likes of Socrates and Zico yet he provided one of best individual moments of the tournament with this flick and volley against USSR.

    As World Cup volleys go, it is right up there with the very best.

2. Josimar (Vs. Northern Ireland, 1986)

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    Brazil has a history of right-backs scoring sensational goals in World Cup competition and this strike from Josimar in 1986 is one of the very best.

    As long-range strikes go, it is hard to better this as an effort. Hit with pace and swerve, Josimar manages to beat the keeper from near the touchline and find the very top corner of the goal.

    It is a strike that ensures Josimar's name still lives long in the memory of football fans the world over.

1. Carlos Alberto (vs. Italy, 1970)

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    Possibly the finest goal in World Cup history, Carlos Alberto's fourth goal in the final of the 1970 World Cup against Italy is one of the selecao's most iconic moments.

    From the silky skills of Clodoaldo and the vision of Pele to the finish of marauding Carlos Alberto, there is quality in every action of the move.

    A truly unforgettable goal crafted by some truly exceptional players.