15 Best Goals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2014

15 Best Goals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

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    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

    After 64 matches and 171 goals, Germany were crowned 2014 FIFA World Cup champions after beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.

    Though the tournament is over and done with, it has left plenty of cracking memories, not least of which was an average of more than 2.6 goals each game.

    Here we've picked our finest 15 from the tournament, ranked in order—feel free to leave your own suggestions and preferences below!

15. Gonzalo Higuain, ARG vs BEL

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Gonzalo Higuain didn't enjoy a particularly good World Cup, despite his side making a run to the final, but he did have one very decisive moment in the quarter-finals.

    Playing against Belgium, he scored the only goal of the game with a well-taken, instinctive half-volley on the turn, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

    Watch the goal here.

14. David Luiz, BRA vs COL

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    There were an unusually low number of successful free-kicks at the tournament, but David Luiz hit perhaps the best one for Brazil in their quarter-final encounter against Colombia.

    The centre-back spanked his effort over the wall, beating David Ospina and finding the far top corner of the net. As it turned out it was a hugely important strike, the second in an eventual 2-1 win.

    Watch the goal here.

13. Arjen Robben, NED vs ESP

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Arjen Robben netted two of the Netherlands' five goals in their astonishing 5-1 win over Spain. This one saw him clock a record speed sprint in the build-up.

    He cut back onto his left foot after outpacing the back line, left defenders and goalkeeper Iker Casillas alike sprawled on the floor, and buried his shot high into the corner of the net.

    Watch the goal here.

12. Neymar, BRA vs CRO

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Brazil went behind in the opening match of the 2014 tournament and needed their main man, Neymar, to drag them out of the mire.

    He did that with a two-goal salvo in the game against Croatia, the first of which was a driving run through the centre, a nice piece of skill and a low, unerring shot which found the very bottom corner of the net, in off the post.

    Watch the goal here.

11. Luis Suarez, URU vs ENG

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Luis Suarez only played twice at the 2014 World Cup, scoring twice in one game to win the match and earn his side three points, then biting an opponent in the other and landing himself a four-month ban.

    His second goal for Uruguay against England was fantastic nonetheless, latching onto a loose ball, out-pacing the defender and rifling an unstoppable shot past the keeper to claim a late, priceless three points for his side.

    Watch the goal here.

10. Jermaine Jones, USA vs POR

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    United States had to come from behind to avoid defeat in their crunch group-stage match against Portugal, and Jermaine Jones pulled his side level in spectacular fashion.

    A curling, right-footed shot from outside the box left the goalkeeper stranded and set the U.S. on their way to an eventual 2-2 draw, which helped toward sealing progression from the group stage.

    Watch the goal here.

9. Xherdan Shaqiri, SUI vs HON

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Xherdan Shaqiri plundered a hat-trick as Switzerland romped home 3-0 over Honduras in the group stage, with the first of his treble being the finest.

    The left-footed attacking midfielder cut infield from the right edge of the penalty box and whipped a great shot around the defender, past the keeper and into the net, setting his side on their way to victory and the last 16.

    Watch the goal here.

8. Mathieu Valbuena, FRA vs SUI

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Mathieu Valbuena's goal for France against Switzerland was from far closer in than many of these other goals—but it was perhaps one of the best, most incisive team goals of the tournament.

    From a Swiss corner, France broke like lightning down the left side, exchanging passes and positions to rip open the defence. A low cross then found Valbuena racing in at the far post, where he finished off the move neatly into the roof of the net.

    Watch the goal here.

7. Lionel Messi, ARG vs IRN

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Lionel Messi didn't quite have enough to get his team over the line in the World Cup final, but he still made a big contribution to the side as they rode through the group stage.

    His biggest moment came in the last minute against Iran, when he finally unlocked the scoring with a solo dribble and curling shot, right to left side, breaking the hearts of his rivals and ensuring his side went through with three wins from three.

    Watch the goal here.

6. James Rodriguez, COL vs JPN

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    James Rodriguez picked up the Golden Boot award as top scorer of the 2014 World Cup, and more than one of his efforts were noteworthy.

    His sublime skill and finish against Japan showcased both his technique and composure, as well as no shortage of pace in the buildup to the goal.

    Watch the goal here.

5. Mario Gotze, GER vs ARG

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    How about scoring the winning goal in a World Cup final?

    Mario Gotze got to realise that exact dream on Sunday as his extra-time strike beat Argentina 1-0, with Germany going on to lift the trophy. His lovely control on the chest and finish was well taken, composed and exactly what was needed to prevent the game going to penalties.

    Watch the goal here.

4. Andre Schurrle, GER vs BRA

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    Pool/Getty Images

    Andre Schurrle wrapped up the astonishing semi-final win over Brazil by a 7-1 scoreline by hitting the last two goals for his nation.

    His, and Germany's, finest of the match was a great piece of one-touch control on the run and a thunderous finish off the crossbar which gave Julio Cesar no chance.

    Watch the goal here.

3. Robin Van Persie, NED vs ESP

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    The Netherlands' big comeback win against Spain was sparked by a terrific diving header goal from Robin van Persie.

    Leaving the run of the defender behind him, he arced into the penalty area to meet a cross from deep on the left with a full-blooded leap and placed header which looped over Iker Casillas and into the net.

    Watch the goal here.

2. Tim Cahill, AUS vs NED

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Australia's Tim Cahill scored two goals in two games; one a customary, close-range aerial goal—the other an absolute worldie thunderbolt.

    He ran onto a lofted through pass and blasted in a top-drawer, left-footed volley which beat Jasper Cillessen and crashed in off the crossbar—a truly marvellous goal.

    Watch the goal here.

1. James Rodriguez, COL vs URU

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    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

    And finally to the goal of the tournament, from the top scorer of the tournament, and for a lot of people the player of the tournament.

    James Rodriguez struck the best goal of the 2014 World Cup for Colombia against Uruguay in the round-of-16 clash, collecting a pass on his chest, turning and volleying an unstoppable effort past the goalkeeper and in off the crossbar from 25 yards. Poise, power and precision all combined to make this exquisite effort.

    Watch the goal here.