Top Ten goals

We take a look back at the greatest goals to grace the World Cup through the years.

Last Updated: 04/09/13 at 11:58

Who could forget Michael Owen's goal in France 98

Who could forget Michael Owen's goal in France 98

Pele v Sweden 1958

At first glance, this strike may not seem all that. But that is simply because Pele makes it look all too easy. As a cross came in from the left, Pele chested the ball where he blooming well pleased. His marker bounced off the stocky striker before another defender did his best. The stopper came ambling towards the Brazilian legend only to see the ball flicked over his head. Pele then saw fit to fire home with a low shot, all before the ball had hit the ground. Magic from a true legend, magic that played its part in sealing another World Cup for Brazil.

Carlos Alberto v Italy 1970

Brazil are the artists of football. This memorable team goal demonstrates such deft. It could be where Arsene Wenger got his inspiration for Arsenal's playing style. It was everything the Frenchman cares for. The goal itself saw Brazil dictate possession, so much in control that the Italians merely chased shadows. From left to right, right to left, they worked the ball up the field before Pele nonchalantly took control just outside the penalty area. From the corner of his right eye, and perhaps assisted by a yell, he rolled an inviting lay-off perfectly into the path of the marauding Alberto, who rifled low and hard into the far corner. The goal sealed his country's World Cup final win over the Italians.

Nelinho v Italy 1978

One of those bendy strikes that appears to defy the laws of physics. Nelinho, a typically adventurous Brazilian right-back, joins an attack on the wing. No one really closes him down, most presuming a cross is likely considering his position on the field: in-between the touchline and the penalty area, quite near the corner of the box. Instead of a cross, though, he unleashed a devilish drive, swinging the ball from left to right that leaves the goalkeeper bamboozled. It swerves wickedly and cannons in off the far post.

Arie Haan v Italy 1978

A little from left-field, but rest assured it is justified. For those of you that have not seen this effort, can we suggest you get searching quick-sharp - and then of course return to this page as we put words to the scorcher. The strike is a fair definition of a screamer. In a game where Holland triumphed 2-1, defensive midfielder Arie Haan hit the most vicious of shots from around 40 yards from goal that flew through the air. It dipped and swerved, before pinging in off the woodwork.

Archie Gemmill v Holland 1978

Gemmill made his Dutch opposition look silly, he put them on their backsides and capped it all off with the calmest of finishes. The titchy midfielder, whose effort even featured on the film Trainspotting, picked up the ball on the right-hand channel before tip-toeing his way to success. He skinned three Dutchmen, leaving them all rather red-faced, before cool-as-you-like lifting the ball over the goalkeeper. A brilliant moment for Gemmill and Scotland.

Diego Maradona v England 1986

We are, of course, talking about 'The Goal of the Century', not the 'Hand of God'. However painful England's quarter-final defeat to Argentina in Mexico City was to the Three Lions, only a very bitter fool would dismiss the brilliance of Maradona's second goal of the game. We all know what happened: he ran, ran, and ran some more before scoring. The diminutive footballer gained possession inside his own half. He then embarked on the gallop of all gallops, beating Peter Reid, Peter Beardsley, Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick, before rounding Peter Shilton and shooting home. Just silly.

Dennis Bergkamp v Argentina 1998

This strike genuinely was a thing of beauty. Holland and Argentina were looking at extra-time in their quarter-final encounter, with the scoreline at 1-1. That was until Frank de Boer picked up the ball in his own half and launched a raking ball at Bergkamp. The next bit was just marvellous as the Flying Dutchman pulled the pacey pass into his own path in one adept touch. Argentina defender Roberto Ayala tried to adjust but Bergkamp's thought process was too quick for him. Before Ayala, or Argentina for that matter, knew anything about it, Bergkamp had taken one extra touch before his third angled the ball into the far corner.

Michael Owen scores his memorable goal against Argentina in 1998

Michael Owen v Argentina in 1998

This boy had some serious pace back in his heyday. It was quite startling. Having been named in Glenn Hoddle's squad for the tournament in France, Owen was given a starting role versus England's fierce rivals Argentina. The goal he scored, in a match that England ultimately lost on penalties, was breathtaking. Heart in the mouth type stuff. Owen took a David Beckham pass in his stride, his first touch allowing him to embark on his wonder run. Owen accelerated at electric pace, breezing past Roberto Ayala and Jose Chamot. He then finished with glorious aplomb to announce his talent on the world stage.

Esteban Cambiasso v Serbia and Montenegro 2006

A dream of a team goal. Argentina gave their opponents a good hiding in Gelsenkirchen, notching six goals without reply. It is the second of those strikes that will have lit any fan's fire. The South American giants put together 24 - yes, 24, we counted to make sure - passes before Cambiasso thundered home. Such movement, such patience. Marvellous. As the move reached its crescendo, Javier Saviola flicked a pass to Riquelme who found our hero Cambiasso. The midfielder then popped the ball into Hernan Crespo who delayed, before back-heeling into Cambiasso's path. Cue a thumping left-footed drive into the roof of the net. Super.

Alessandro Del Piero v Germany 2006

Goals on the counter-attack are always pleasing on the eye. This one in particular, of course unless you are of German descent. Also, the importance of the goal should not be overlooked as Juventus legend Del Piero fired this cracker home in extra-time to send Italy to the final of the 2006 World Cup, which they duly won. Italy took the lead versus the Germans in extra-time, via an excellent Fabio Grosso curler. And as Germany searched for a leveller, Italy caught them out. Off they sped on a pacey counter with Alberto Gilardino eventually cutting an isolated figure - or so it seemed. Out of picture, Del Piero had been busting a lung to help his team-mate. That he did, overlapping to dispatch into the top, far corner from Gilardino's reverse pass.

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Readers' Comments


ou can't blame De Gea for wanting to leave, he has enough to do in front of goal as it is as well as taking on the role of Man Utd's version of Derek Acorah in trying to contact and organise a defence that isn't there.

rodger's gusset
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea


f you want to take six points off Arsenal, then that's a great strike force. Can't imagine either of them showing much for the rest of the season though...

foot in mouth
Adebayor & Berbatov: You Have To Admire The Balls


ooks like Real get their man, most likely at their own valuation, yet again. Resistance is futile.

Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

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