World Cup goals (opens in a new tab) come in all shapes and sizes, with some of the best living in tournament lore as staple features of any highlights package, while others are oddly overlooked.
Everyone remembers Diego Maradona’s solo effort against England, Michael Owen weaving through the Argentina defense and Dennis Bergkamp’s sublime control and half-volley, but there are plenty of impressive goals that seem to have escaped most minds.
Of course, Benjamin Pavard’s masterful off-the-foot half-volley against Argentina in the 2018 World Cup is long remembered. However, there were plenty of other masterful goals of brilliance seen in Russia, which will inevitably be seen again at the 2022 World Cup.
Brazil have the squad to produce streaks of magic, while Argentina and Portugal have Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively. They will likely eclipse any goals stroked into the top corner by players from nations like Australia, Ecuador or Cameroon, no matter how wonderful.
But don’t bother because FourFourTwo has scoured the archives to uncover the greatest World Cup goals you’ve probably forgotten.
15. Adrian Ilie, Romania v Colombia (1998)
This game was about to go 0-0 when the board came up showing two minutes of added time. Romania were in possession of the ball and would surely have been content to go until the break without incident.
Instead, an attack developed on the left. Adrian Ilie played the ball into Gheorghe Hagi and ran to receive his backheel. Stepping into the box, Ilie pushed past a desperate lunge and elegantly lifted the ball past Faryd Mondragon who was advancing into the back of the net. Attractive.
14. Denis Cheryshev Russia v Saudi Arabia (2nd goal)
Denis Cheryshev’s sublime finish against Croatia really stands out from the 2018 World Cup, but in its beauty it overshadows another exquisite finish he produced for the hosts against Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament.
Having already scored a technical goal earlier in the game after coming on as a substitute, Cheryshev collected the ball from a knockdown in the left corner of the Saudi penalty area. The petite midfielder took a touch to control the ball and, while still bouncing, decided to catch the keeper off guard with a shot from outside his boot.
Cheryshev’s shot curled from the outside in, tucked into the top corner of the Saudi net, away from the goalkeeper’s desperate attempts to recover it. It’s even better in slow motion too.
13. Fabio Quagliarella, Italy v Slovakia (2010)
A beautiful goal that ultimately counted for nothing. The defending champions struggled in South Africa, drawing their first two group games against Paraguay and New Zealand.
They finished bottom after a 3-2 loss to Slovakia, Italy’s second coming thanks to Fabio Quagliarella in injury time. The striker delicately chipped the ball over Jan Mucha from around 25 yards out and joined Juventus that summer.
12. Ebbe Sand, Denmark vs Nigeria (1998)
Denmark were two goals clear in their last 16 game against Nigeria and Sand had just been brought on the bench. Within seconds it was 3-0.
Michael Laudrup, looking for an opening, spotted the substitute’s run. The midfielder duly collected the ball over the Nigerian defense with the outside of his foot and Sand got there first, nodding inside covering defender Taribo West and then shooting low into the bottom corner with conviction.
11. Bakari Kone, Ivory Coast v Holland (2006)
The 2006 World Cup in Germany was a first for the Ivory Coast, whose golden generation was coming of age. But they were drawn in a tough group, and defeats to Argentina and the Netherlands led to a hugely disappointing premature knockout with one game to spare.
They were already two goals behind the Dutch when Bakari Kone struck late in the first half. A quick free-kick put the winger on his way, and he passed two defenders before planting a stopper out of Edwin van der Sar’s reach.
10. Ricardo Quaresma, Portugal v Iran (2018)
A characteristic goal of Ricardo Quaresma. Invented the ‘trivela’, where a player wraps the ball with the outside of their foot rather than the conventional instep technique, Quaresma became famous for the skill throughout his career.
And, what better stage to produce that skill than at the World Cup? Cutting from the right wing, the Portuguese played a neat one-two from the corner of the Iranian box, heading diagonally towards the goal. With a defender on his right shoulder, Quaresma decides this expert skill is the perfect way to shoot in the moment.
Still outside the box, he managed to find the top corner with a powerful shot from the outside of the right foot, scoring a magnificent goal that few players in world football could execute with such perfection.
9. Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland v Honduras (2014)
A Shaqiri-inspired Switzerland secured their passage to the last 16 with a crushing 3-0 win over Honduras in 2014. The Bayern Munich winger netted a hat-trick, and his first was the pick of the pack.
Receiving the ball in the corner of the penalty area, the Mercurial midfielder drove into the field at an angle, driving away from goal with every step. Somehow, however, Shaqiri managed to whip his left foot around the ball and generate an astonishing level of power to tuck into the top corner.
8. Daniel Amokachi, Nigeria v Greece (1994)
Nigeria were progressing from the group stage regardless of that goal, but Amokachi’s superb 95th-minute strike secured them first place. The Super Eagles finished level on points with Argentina and Bulgaria, but with a slightly better goal difference thanks to Amokachi’s spirited run and finish.
The powerful striker, whose performances at the World Cup led to a £3m move to Everton, shoved his way past two defenders and fired a late shot into the top corner.
7. Kennet Andersson, Sweden v Brazil (1994)
Sweden were one of the surprises of USA ’94, where goals from Martin Dahlin and Andersson propelled them to the semi-finals. They drew 1-1 with Brazil in their last group game and took the lead thanks to the latter’s fine improvised finish.
Tomas Brolin took on a challenge in midfield and then threw a diagonal pass to the striker’s chest. He bounced once, and from a tight angle, Andersson kind of kicked the ball across the net with the outside of his right boot. Even better with the Swedish commentary, in TFFit is opinion.
6. Fernando Torres, Spain v Ukraine (2006)
Prior to their success at Euro 2008, Spain were just another talented side prone to cracking under pressure. At the World Cup two years earlier, they had played good football and topped their group with three wins, but succumbed to France in the Round of 16.
A 4-0 win over Ukraine in their opener demonstrated what could have been, with Fernando Torres scoring the final goal on the half-volley after a deft move started by Carles Puyol’s glorious roulette. Where does this come from?
5. Luka Modric, Croatia vs Argentina (2018)
Luka Modric won the 2018 Ballon d’Or after helping Croatia reach the World Cup final, and his incredible strike against Argentina is one of the highlights of his sensational year.
Recovering possession 30 yards from goal, Modric was tackled by Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi. With a small mannequin, he gains a meter of space to get the ball out of his feet, and from there, the magic happens. Placing his shot outside the post, Modric puts the perfect amount of loop on the ball to get it back on target, just out of Willy Caballero’s reach in goal before rippling the net.
4. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Holland v Uruguay (2010)
The Dutch left-back hasn’t scored many goals in his international career – just six in 107 appearances for his country – but he was subject to some spectacular strikes. The 2010 World Cup semi-final was not a bad place to pull off one of those.
Gio Van Bronckhorst was over 35 yards from goal and at a ridiculous angle when he received possession – not that that deterred him. The 35-year-old took a throw-in and decided to aim, launching a resounding effort into the top corner that rang off the post to put Holland on course for a 3-2 victory just 18 minutes from this entertaining finale. strong test.
3. Dario Rodriguez, Uruguay v Denmark (2002)
After Senegal stunned France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup, the second game of Group A had a lot to do. He did not disappoint, however, and indeed achieved one of the goals of the tournament – and of World Cup history, for that matter.
Alvaro Recoba’s outgoing corner was clearly heading to the edge of the box, where it was held in the air by Pablo Garcia and fed to Dario Rodriguez for a spectacular first volley. (opens in a new tab) to upgrade the scores. Thomas Sorensen didn’t stand a chance.
2. Jared Borgetti, Mexico vs. Italy (2002)
His brief spell at Bolton might have been forgettable, but three years earlier Jared Borgetti had scored one of the best and most innovative goals at a World Cup.
Here the ball was worked wide and then brought back to Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who clipped a pass to the near post at head height. Marked from close range by Paolo Maldini and turned away from goal, Borgetti deftly twisted his body to watch the ball over his shoulder past a motionless Gianluigi Buffon. The Azzuri net-minder could be forgiven for not even seeing it.
1. Pierre Njanka, Cameroon vs Austria (1998)
Although Cameroon had Patrick Mboma and a teenager Samuel Eto’o in their squad, it was an unsung defender who made his most memorable attacking contribution at France ’98.
There didn’t seem to be much to it as Njanka scooped the ball up in his own half and raced into space in front of him. But then he sped past a challenge, clipped another and fired into the top corner for his first international goal. The excitement didn’t last, however – Njanka’s 77th-minute missile was called off in the 91st minute, and Cameroon picked up just one point from their last two group matches to finish last.