If you want goals, you can go to YouTube and look up any number of goals scored in the past World Cup. If you want "golazos," however, you need not look any further than the 2014 tournament.
While Robin van Persie and Tim Cahill can each make a strong argument for goal of the tournament, Thursday at the World Cup still featured some truly beautiful finishes. Let's review them below, along with taking a look at the day's results and the tournament's list of scorers.
|Group||Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Golden Boot Watch
|Robin van Persie||Netherlands||3|
|Lee Keun-Ho||South Korea||1|
|Joel Campbell||Costa Rica||1|
|Oscar Duarte||Costa Rica||1|
|Marcos Urena||Costa Rica||1|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||1|
|Wilfried Bony||Ivory Coast||1|
|Clint Dempsey||United States||1|
|John Anthony Brooks||United States||1|
Thursday scorers highlighted
For about an hour, the match between Colombia and Ivory Coast was a cagey, cautious and surprisingly dull affair. And then all hell blew loose.
James Rodriguez—who else?—opened the scoring in the 64th minute with a fantastic header off a Colombian corner. Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly Sports passes along the goal:
Look out Shakira, indeed.
For Rodriguez, it was quite the historical goal, as OptaJose tweeted:
2 - James Rodriguez is the 2nd #COL player to score in consecutive World Cup games, after Adolfo ‘Tren’ Valencia. Bullet.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 19, 2014
And plenty of folks are enjoying this Colombian team and the performances of Rodriguez, with Grant Wahl of SI.com among them:
Love to see Colombian soccer getting positive attention. Great story. James Rodríguez is a star.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 19, 2014
But back to the match, because there wasn't much time to marinate in Rodriguez's brilliance. After all, six minutes later, Colombia made it two.
The Colombians forced a turnover in the midfield and broke forward in numbers on the break. Juan Quintero provided the finishing touch, spinning a lovely shot under the arm of onrushing keeper Boubacar Barry to make it a 2-0 game.
But the Ivory Coast weren't done and dusted. Far from it. Since the insertion of Didier Drogba into the game in the 60th minute, the squad had really started to look dangerous on the attack. But it was Gervinho, not Drogba, who would provide the team's only goal and moment of brilliance in this game.
Just look at this 73rd-minute goal from the Roma man, via ESPN FC:
Pure class. More than a few Arsenal supporters were wondering where that form was during his spell in North London. Gary Lineker sympathized:
Good heavens, what a goal! That's the Gervinho Arsenal should have signed.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 19, 2014
And Gervinho even topped Rodriguez's historical tally, per OptaJoe:
If you thought that much was a cracker, well, it was just the appetizer for the England versus Uruguay match to follow.
Not surprisingly, Luis Suarez was brilliant in his return for Uruguay, scoring two goals. ESPN FC passes along his first, a fine bit of skill from Edinson Cavani to set it up:
But it looked like England were going to salvage at least a point, nonetheless, after Wayne Rooney not only equalised the game but finally—finally—scored his first career World Cup goal in the 75th minute.
Here's the moment, via Bleacher Report UK:
But nine minutes later, Suarez had his brace, his game-winner and a heartbreaker for the ages for the English. Even the most ardent Liverpool fans may try to ban him from England after this performance.
So where do we stand in the Golden Boot race?
Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Thomas Mueller are currently leading the chase with three goals apiece, though there are two important notes to mention from that trio—Mueller has played just one game thus far, and van Persie will miss the Dutch's third game after accumulating two yellow cards in the first two games.
Few players have looked better than Robben thus far. But Robben was more interested in looking forward than back.
"We have take a big step forward," he told FIFA.com. "We have six points, which is the maximum we could have taken. Now we have one more group game and we want to play well."
Based on their form thus far, they will. And given how dynamic Robben has been on the counter, it won't be surprising in the least if he finishes as this year's Golden Boot player.
Though Thursday's stars like Suarez, Gervinho and Rodriguez might have something to say about that. If Suarez is this good in his first match back, imagine how well he'll be playing if Uruguay reach the knockout phase.
It's a frightening prospect for the rest of the field, that much is certain.