Best Five World Cup Goals Ever

After Tim Cahill’s stupendous Van Basten-esque volley against Holland, it got us thinking about our favourite ever World Cup goals. Have we missed any?

    Manuel Negrete (Mexico v Bulgaria, 1986)
    While researching this, my seven-year old daughter watched dozens of amazing goals with me in awe and chose this as her favourite. “He, like, just jumps up in the air and whacks it. How did he do that?”. I couldn’t answer, but having seen this goal at her age during the wonderful Mexico 86 I tried to replicate it many times but ended up almost breaking my back and our bathroom window. Having spent the last week watching England’s desperate one-two defeats it’s refreshing to watch these delicate one-twos to feet. “Magnificent goal”, the commentator simply exclaimed. It still is.

    Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina v Serbia & Montenegro, 2006)
    While most of the goals on this list are wonderful pieces of individual endeavor and skill, Esteban Cambiasso’s strike against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006 is the quintessential team goal displaying perfect possession and one-touch football – before tiki-taka was even a twinkle in Spanish eyes. The absorbing move featuring 25 completed passes – almost 20% of Iran’s total in their entire match this week with Nigeria.

    Dennis Bergkamp (Holland v Argentina, 1998)
    An 18-year-old Pele scored a similar goal against Sweden in 1958 but this one is arguably better. The recurring theme of Bergkamp’s recent autobiography is that of perfection and his constant struggle to achieve it. This Quarter-Final winner against Argentina was the closest he came, he admitted himself afterwards that “the moment itself was, I think, perfect”. The goal itself, three touches and two seconds, somehow displayed stillness and speed – the title of his aforementioned memoirs. Unlike many fine goals the beauty is in the first touch rather than the finish.

    Carlos Alberto (Brazil v Italy, 1970)
    Rivelino to Jairzinho to Pele to Carlos Alberto. How could a goal from this combination not make the list? This strike sealed a one-sided World Cup final against Italy and confirmed this Brazilian side as arguably the greatest ever. A series of individual moments of skill combined to result in a magnificent team effort, encapsulated by Pele’s wonderfully nonchalant, inviting roll to Carlos Alberto to fire it home.

    Diego Maradona (Argentina v England, 1986)
    An obvious choice but so good it had to be included, ignoring it would be like visiting Paris and ignoring that great big tower. Often dubbed “The Goal of the Century”, the poise, the balance, the sheer impish insolence and disregard for anything in his way is still mesmerising 28 years later. A goal that defined a match, a tournament and a career – despite everything that came before and after.