Ranking the 10 Greatest World Cup Final Goals of All Time

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2014

Ranking the 10 Greatest World Cup Final Goals of All Time

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    So now we know, it'll be Germany and Argentina who contest the World Cup final in Rio's Maracana stadium on Sunday evening.

    The two teams will doubtless be looking to add another chapter to the rich history of arguably the biggest sporting event on the planet, and one which has featured some brilliant goals down the years.

    The likes of Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain will all be looking to add their names to a stellar cast of players who have scored in the showpiece event down the years, but which have been the best goals?

    Stand by for the top 10 strikes ever seen at World Cup finals.

10. Zinedine Zidane (France), 2006

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    Yes, OK, it was a penalty. But it was a pretty special penalty.

    Just seven minutes into what we all knew was going to be his last-ever game of football, Zinedine Zidane produced this impudent chip to beat Gianluigi Buffon and give France the lead in Berlin.

    Marco Materazzi was to head Italy's equaliser 12 minutes later, and it wasn't to be the last time the pair would hit the headlines before Italy grabbed the trophy in a penalty shootout.

9. Marco Tardelli (Italy), 1982

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    This is a goal more famous for the wild celebration that followed, but that shouldn't take anything away from the excellent finish of Italy midfielder Marco Tardelli against West Germany in Madrid in 1982.

    Tardelli's powerfully struck effort flew past Harald Schumacher in the West German goal to put his side 2-0 up midway through the second half in the Spanish capital, in a match which they would go on to win 3-1.

    Of course then Tardelli charged off like a madman, securing a special place in World Cup history. 

8. Helmut Rahn (West Germany), 1954

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    Wild celebrations followed this strike from Helmut Rahn, as West Germany completed their comeback from 2-0 down against the hugely fancied Hungary to lead 3-2 with six minutes remaining.

    In a match that became known as "The Miracle of Bern," Rahn scored his second of the match as he cut inside and fired a left-footed effort into the bottom corner.

    The goal and West Germany's World Cup win were seen as crucial moments in the country post-World War II, with a 2003 film called The Miracle of Bern later depicting events thoroughly.

7. Ronaldo, 2nd Goal (Brazil), 2002

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    At the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Brazil's Ronaldo had battled back from injury to prove his doubters wrong and drag his team to the final against Germany in Yokohama.

    Once there, he scored two second-half goals to clinch his country's fifth title, with the second coming via this slick finish following a strong run from midfielder Kleberson and dummy from Rivaldo.

    It was a moment that established his World Cup legend, and furthered his country's.

6. Mario Kempes (Argentina), 1978

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    It's the initial control that makes this goal from Mario Kempes so special, not to mention the moment the goal arrived in the match.

    The Argentina forward had given his side the lead in the first half against the Netherlands in Buenos Aires, but a late equaliser had forced the match to extra time, where Kempes scored this crucial strike to put the hosts back ahead.

    Daniel Bertoni would wrap things up late on, but Kempes' goal is the one that is remembered.

5. Emmanuel Petit (France), 1998

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    Emmanuel Petit can be seen defending in his own penalty area as Brazil prepare to take a corner in the closing stages of the 1998 final, only for the midfielder to spring forward and get on the end of a stunning move to put the French 3-0 up.

    Christophe Dugarry and Patrick Vieira both play crucial roles in the goal, but it is Petit's calm finish that proves pivotal and gets the party started in Paris.

    It was the moment France had longed for.

4. Jorge Burruchaga (Argentina), 1986

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    Just six minutes remained in a thrilling 1986 final as Diego Maradona got the ball and was surrounded by West German players.

    Maradona controlled expertly and picked out a pass to Jorge Burruchaga, who ran on and calmly finished beyond Harald Schumacher, who was to be on the end of his second consecutive World Cup final defeat.

    Burruchaga's goal, and crucially Maradona's pass, had made it 3-2 to the Argentineans in Mexico City, and they were to hold on to that crucial advantage.

3. Gerson (Brazil), 1970

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    This goal in the 1970 final is often forgotten because of what came after it, but Gerson's great strike to put Brazil 2-1 up simply shouldn't be overshadowed.

    It came at a crucial time, with the Brazilians still level at 1-1 midway through the second half, and was a perfectly placed shot of such precision that it really deserves a greater position in the tournament's Hall of Fame.

    Gerson's strike gave his side the lead and laid the platform for what was to follow... 

2. Pele, 1st Goal (Brazil), 1958

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    Before we reach that, though, we go back 12 years to Pele in the final against hosts Sweden in Solna in 1958.

    The 17-year-old had scored the winner against Wales in the quarter-final and then a hat-trick in the semi-final win over France, but he outdid both goals here with a brilliant display of close control. He executed an outrageous flick over the defender and a stunning finish past goalkeeper Kalle Svensson.

    The strike put Brazil 3-1 up, with the talented teenager later adding his second as his team ran out 5-2 winners to capture their first World Cup.

1. Carlos Alberto (Brazil), 1970

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    We're going back to 1970 for our No. 1, though, and the predictable strike from Brazil captain Carlos Alberto that put the gloss on a glorious victory for his nation against Italy.

    The Brazilians were seemingly determined to let the ball do the work as the clock ticked down on their final success, with Jairzinho finding Pele to his right, before the forward's astute pass fell for his skipper to blast home his country's fourth goal of an unforgettable victory.

    It was a strike that said so much about the team, and a team that said so much about the country.