30 Goals That Have Lit Up Past World Cups
To whet your appetite for the 2014 World Cup, which kicks off with Brazil vs. Crotia in Sao Paulo on Thursday, we're bringing you 30 goals that have lit up World Cup history.
These are the goals that define the World Cup; iconic moments that became synonymous with the tournament in which they were scored.
Goals are remembered as classic World Cup moments for everything from their sublime finishes to their build-up, their importance in the context of the game and tournament to the passionate celebrations that followed and from the controversy to the subplots.
Dennis Bergkamp vs. Argentina (1998)
Let's start with arguably the greatest goal in World Cup history, possibly even footballing history. An overstatement? I think not.
It's World Cup 1998 and Netherlands and Argentina were level at 1-1 in their quarter-final with just a few seconds left on the clock.
Frank de Boer sent in a wonderfully accurate long ball down field from inside his own half, perfectly weighted for Dennis Bergkamp to run onto.
With two touches of genius, Bergamp brought the ball down and turned his marker before flicking the ball with the outside of his right boot past Carlos Roa and send Netherlands through to the semi-finals.
The sheer joy and emotion as Bergkamp ran away in celebration was equalled by the passion of the jubilant Dutch commentator.
Joe Gaetjens vs. England (1950)
Not the most beautiful of goals, but very significant nonetheless as the USA—at the time regarded as the laughing stock of international football—beat the founding fathers of the sport, England.
Joe Gaetjens' diving header sealed the famous 1-0 victory in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Fabio Grosso vs. Germany (2006)
After a compelling first 119 minutes of the World Cup semi-final between Germany and Italy at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion in 2006, the deadlock was broken.
Andrea Pirlo played in the unmarked Fabio Grosso, who steered home to send Italy delirious and, coupled with an Alessandro Del Piero strike moments later, into the World Cup final.
Michael Owen vs. Argentina (1998)
The boy with the world at his feet. Eighteen-year-old Michael Owen lit up the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in St. Etienne in 1998 with a marvelous individual goal.
Picking the ball up from David Beckham on the half-way line, Owen beat all Argentine defenders in front of him before finishing expertly past Carlos Roa.
Geoff Hurst vs. West Germany (1966)
With England leading 3-2 against West Germany at Wembley in the 1966 World Cup final, some supporters were already celebrating on the pitch when Geoff Hurst took advantage of the West Germans' fatigue to score his third and England's fourth goal of the game.
It is a goal forever encapsulated in English footballing history by BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme's famous line: "They think it's all over... it is now!"
Diego Maradona vs. England (1986)
Diego Maradona's infamous "Hand of God" goal for Argentina against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup did little for relations between the two nations.
Reaching up with his outstretched arm to beat goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball, Maradona's goal remains one of the most controversial moments in World Cup history.
Francois Omam-Biyik vs. Argentina (1990)
African football's reputation had once been the source of much ridicule, but Francois Omam-Biyik's 67th-minute header for Cameroon was enough to secure victory against Argentina at World Cup 1990 and make the world think again.
Gianni Rivera vs. West Germany (1970)
One of the most exciting games in World Cup history, Italy's thrilling 4-3 victory over Germany in the 1970 semi-final at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico was later dubbed the "Game of the Century" and decided by substitute Gianni Rivera in extra time.
Gerd Mueller vs. Netherlands (1974)
Gerd Mueller crafted this wonderfully taken and what proved to be the winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final as West Germany overcame Netherland's "Total Football".
With his back to goal, Muller confused the Dutch defenders in front of him before athletically swivelling around to fire home from close range.
Papa Bouba Diop vs. France (2002)
Papa Bouba Diop's scrambled goal from close range was a massive result for Senegal and African football in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup.
Senegal stunned the football world by holding on to beat reigning world and European champions France.
Johan Neeskens vs. West Germany (1974)
The finish—a simply penalty by Johan Neeskens for Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup final against West Germany—is not the beauty in this goal.
The build-up play was perfect "Total Football" by the Dutch, who held off the Germans for over a minute (incidentally, the first minute of the game) with 17 successive passes before Johan Cruyff was brought down in the box.
Pak Doo-Ik vs. Italy (1966)
A giant killing of epic proportions now from Middlesbrough's Ayresome Park, where Pak Doo-Ik of North Korea let the ball go over his shoulder before finishing low beyond Italy's Enrico Albertosi in the 1966 World Cup.
It was the only goal of the game as Italy crashed out of the tournament at the group stage.
Paolo Rossi vs. Brazil (1982)
Football is full of subplots and none more so than Paolo Rossi turning from Italy's villain to hero with the winner in a pulsating 3-2 second round group stage victory over Brazil in 1982.
It was the third of Rossi's hat-trick through which he found redemption for his suspension over a betting scandal that rocked Italian club football just two years earlier.
Andres Iniesta vs. Netherlands (2010)
With the 2010 World Cup Final looking set to go to penalties at 0-0, Andres Iniesta's 116th minute strike guided Spain to their first ever World Cup triumph in South Africa.
Geoff Hurst vs. West Germany (1966)
England may never have won the World Cup in 1966 had Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst not given Hurst's 101st minute goal for the Three Lions, which made the score 3-2 in their favour.
Alan Ball's cross from the right was met by Hurst, whose shot hit the crossbar and bounced down before being cleared.
Did it cross the line?
Marco Tardelli vs. West Germany (1982)
Marco Tardelli's first touch is poor, but his second results in a snatched shot from the edge of the area and a second goal for Italy against West Germany in the 1982 World Cup final in Madrid, Spain.
What follows is one of the most iconic celebrations in football history.
Diego Maradona vs. England (1986)
England fans may choose to remember Maradona for his "Hand of God" goal, but later in the same game he pulled off one of the most sublime individual goals in World Cup history.
Twisting and turning his way around every England defender in sight, Maradona dribbled the ball from inside his own half at pace before taking the ball past the onrushing Shilton and rolling it into the net.
Saeed Al-Owairan vs. Belgium (1994)
Saudi Arabia's Saeed Al-Owairan looked to have ball magnets in his boots as he ran at pace from deep inside his own half past five Belgian players to score a wonderful solo goal at World Cup 1994 in the USA.
David Platt vs. Belgium (1990)
Probably England's greatest goal at a World Cup was one that was scored under the most dramatic of circumstances.
In the last minute of extra time, Platt pivoted inside the area to volley home Paul Gascoigne's chipped free-kick and send Bobby Robson's England through to the quarter-finals.
Pele vs. Sweden (1958)
Neither before nor since has a World Cup been the making of a footballer like it was with Pele at the 1958 tournament in Sweden.
An incredible World Cup for the 17-year-old was capped off with this stunning goal in the final against the hosts en route to Brazil winning the first of their five World Cups.
David Beckham vs. Argentina (2002)
After being sent off for England during the round of 16 match against Argentina at France '98, Beckham exorcised his demons and put four years of abuse behind him by firing in a winner from the penalty spot against the Argentines in 2002.
Esteban Cambiasso vs. Serbia and Montenegro (2006)
An incredible 26 pass build-up led to Esteban Cambiasso's goal for Argentina against Serbia and Montenegro at World Cup 2006—one of the greatest goals ever scored at a World Cup.
Ronaldo vs. Germany (2002)
After being the centre of attention in unusual circumstances for Brazil's nightmare World Cup final against hosts France in 1998, Ronaldo hit back in Japan four years later.
The forward scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over Germany in the final to banished the dark memories of Paris.
Josimar vs. Northern Ireland (1986)
Josimar's blistering shot from distance was the second of three Brazilian goals to sink Northern Ireland at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Johan Cruyff vs. Brazil (1974)
In the build-up to the 1974 World Cup, there looked like there was no stopping world champions Brazil, but in their third group game of the second round they were defeated 2-0 by Netherlands, the second of the goals coming via an excellent volley from Johan Cruyff.
Roberto Baggio vs. Czechoslovakia (1990)
Roberto Baggio's mazy run from midfield to seal Italy's 2-0 victory over Czechoslovakia at the Stadio Olimpico at World Cup 1990 was one of the goals of the tournament.
Carlos Alberto vs. Italy (1970)
Pele's perfectly weighted ball to his right finds the charging Carlos Alberto steaming towards goal.
With one ferocious swing of his right boot, Alberto guides the ball home for one of the World Cup's greatest-ever goals.
Furthermore, it was Brazil's fourth in their 4-1 rout of Italy in the 1970 World Cup final in Mexico—the strike putting the icing on the cake.
Ronaldinho vs. England (2002)
Brazil's Ronaldinho caught everyone on the back foot with this goal to sink England in the quarter-final of World Cup 2002, not least goalkeeper David Seaman.
Alcides Ghiggia vs. Brazil (1950)
Hosting the World Cup for the first time, the 1950 World Cup looked destined to be Brazil's, especially when Friaca put the hosts 1-0 up against Uruguay in the final match of the tournament.
But an equaliser on 66 minutes from Juan Alberto Schiaffino was soon followed by Alcides Ghiggia's winner, which broke Brazilian hearts and silenced the Maracana.
Zinedine Zidane vs. Brazil (1998)
The 1998 World Cup final was all about the finest French footballer of his generation, Zinedine Zidane.
His header from Emmanuel Petit's corner 27 minutes into the 3-0 drubbing of Brazil put France's wheels in motion en route to their first ever World Cup triumph. He added a second in almost identical circumstances to double France's lead in first-half stoppage time.
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