In the distinguished history of the FIFA World Cup, over 2000 goals have been scored in the 18 tournaments held so far.

Many of these goals have been moments of sheer inspiration that can take the breath away and leave spectators with a feeling of awe and astonishment.

In this collection, we bring you 10 of the best goals ever scored in World Cup finals.

1. Diego Maradona v England: Quarter final, Mexico 1986

This was the match and the goal that defined the greatness of Diego Maradona. Coming minutes after his now infamous “hand of god” goal, Maradona received the ball inside his own half following a pass from Hector Enrique.

With a deft drag back and then a flick he turned away from Peter Beardsley and Steve Hodge and set off on his run. Maradona’s quick acceleration took him away from Peter Reid as he surged into the England half. Two side steps took him past the challenges of Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick as the diminutive Argentine glided into the box.

As goalkeeper Peter Shilton rushed from his goal, Maradona rolled the ball past the England number one and under a challenge from Butcher slotted the ball home before racing to the corner flag in celebration.

It was, quite simply, the most beautiful piece of football from one of the greatest to have played the beautiful game.

2. Dennis Bergkamp v Argentina: Quarter final, France 1998

The winning of goal of the quarter final was a moment of sublime quality from the brilliant Dutchman. Arsenal fans had witnessed the magic of Dennis Bergkamp for the previous three seasons and this goal came after he had helped Arsenal to a league and cup double.

After 89 minutes of enthralling football, the scores were tied at 1-1. Frank De Boer played a long pass from defence which had traveled fully 60 yards by the time it reached Bergkamp. Jumping into the air, a deft touch with his right boot brought the ball under his control.

Moments after he landed, he then knocked the ball through the legs Argentine defender Roberto Ayala and then curled a shot with the outside of his right foot sending Dutch commentator Jack van Gelder into hysterics. In a matter of seconds Bergkamp had scored one of football’s truly great goals and sent the Netherlands’s through to the semi finals.

3. Carlos Alberto v Italy: World Cup final, Mexico 1970

The ultimate team goal from the ultimate football team. The Brazil 1970 team is regarded as the greatest team ever assembled and they treated fans from across the globe to a feast of attacking football that has rarely been seen since.

The final was their best performance as they crushed Italy by four goals to one. Leading 3-1 the move began with Brazilian striker Tostao receiving the ball at left back and before the ball had hit the back of the net it had been touched by 9 of the 11 players in Brazil colours.

When Clodoaldo received the ball he went on a jinking run beating 4 Italian players before passing to Rivelino. The Brazilian then played a lofted pass to Jairzinho who, after beating a man on a run toward the box, laid it off to Pele who was just outside the penalty area.

After receiving the ball, the legendary Brazil number 10 paused and then rolled a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the onrushing Carlos Alberto who smashed the ball into the back of the net to finish fantasy football at its best and make it 4-1.

4. Saeed Owairan v Belgium: Group Stage, USA 1994

Saeed Owairan played for Saudia Arabia in the 1994 USA World Cup finals. He accumulated a half century of caps for his country and scored 24 times.

Nicknamed “The Maradona of the Arabs,” he scored a goal in the 1994 finals that made the world sit up and take note and was a goal that the man he was nicknamed after would surely have been proud to call his own.

Receiving the ball deep inside his own half, Owairan started on a surging run that took him into the Belgium half between two defenders.

As he continued his run to the box, he jinked past a third Belgian player and his direct running took him past a bemused fourth. As he entered the box it seemed the ball had run away from him and the chance might be gone but he went to ground and planted a right foot shot past the Belgium goalkeeper.

5. Michael Owen v Argentina: Round of 16, France 1998

This was the that announced the talent of 18 year old Michael Owen to the world. Having only made his first appearances for Liverpool earlier in the season, Owen was selected as part of Glenn Hoddle’s talented squad for the finals in France.

He was left out of the opening win against Tunisia but came on and scored as a substitute in the defeat to Romania. Playing without fear and with pace to burn, he was a revelation for the Three Lions of England and the goal against Argentina changed his life forever.

Owen received a pass from David Beckham which he controlled with the outside of his right foot taking the ball into his stride.

He then accelerated into the Argentine half, leaving Jose Chamot trailing in his wake. As he neared the penalty area he went past the hugely talented Roberto Ayala and then just as it looked like Paul Scholes would steal his thunder he placed a perfect right footed shot past Carlos Roa into the top corner of the net and a star was born.

6. Archie Gemmill v Holland: Group Stage, Argentina 1978

Scotland had gone to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina full of confidence. Manager Ally MacLeod, believed that Scotland were good enough to win the World cup boasting an array of talent including the brilliant Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness as well as captain Gemmill.

After a defeat to Cuba and a draw with Iran, Scotland needed to beat Holland by 3 clear goals. With the score at 2-1 to the Scots, Gemmill received the ball from Dalglish and set off on a run. Immediately faced by a defender, he jumped past the challenge, jinked inside a second Dutch defender and then glided past a third.

Taking a moment to compose himself the diminutive Scot the lifted the ball beyond the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net. The fans truly believed a miracle could happen but 3 minutes later the Dutch scored a second and Scotland were on their way home.

7. Diego Maradona v Belgium: Semi final, Mexico 1986

After tormenting England’s defence in the quarter final, Maradona would confirm his position as the World’s greatest footballer by repeating his wonder goal in the semi-final against Belgium.

Argentina was in front by a goal to nil courtesy of Maradona, when Cuciuffo embarked on a powerful run into the Belgium half.

The Argentine number 9 laid the ball off to Maradona about forty yards from goal. Instantly faced by three Belgian defenders, the brilliant number 10 danced between all three and the accelerated towards the box. Racing past a fourth, helpless Belgian defender he placed a left foot shot past the ‘keeper before he had any time to react.

8. Roberto Baggio v Czechoslovakia: Group Stage, Italia ‘90

Roberto Baggio is one of Italy’s greatest players and the only Italian to score in three separate World Cups. His first finals came in 1990 on home soil where as a 23 year old he was mainly used as a substitute.

In the group match against Czechoslovakia, Baggio gave the world a glimpse of the talent football fans would become familiar with over the years. Receiving the ball in his own half, “the Divine Ponytail” played a quick one-two and then set off on a run into the Czech half.

Dribbling effortlessly past two defenders he then cut in from the left, into the penalty area before firing a low shot past Czech goalkeeper Jan Stejskal.

9. Gheorghe Hagi v Colombia: Group stage, USA ‘94

Nicknamed “The Maradona of the Carpathians,” Gheorghe Hagi scored a goal that like Saeed Owairan, made the Argentinians proud. The diminutive Romanian played for his country in three World Cups and earned a total of 125 caps.

His thirty five goals remain the most scored by a Romanian at International level. With Romania leading 1-0, Hagi received the ball by the touchline about forty yards from goal.

There seemed to be no apparent danger, but Hagi looked up and spotted Colombian ‘keeper Oscar Cordoba off his line. Then with his left foot, Hagi sent a glorious lob from all of 40 yards over the Colombian and into the back of the net.

10. Pele v Sweden: World Cup final, Sweden 1958

The World Cup in Sweden in 1958 was the finals that announced Pele to the world. As a skinny 17 year old he helped inspire Brazil to their first ever World Cup win.

In the final match, Brazil played against the host nation Sweden. With Brazil winning 2-1 at halftime, Pele stole the show after the interval with two goals.

His first was a moment of sheer inspiration. A pass was played into the Swedish penalty area where Pele controlled the ball with his chest.

His second touch lifted over a Swedish defender and his third was a perfectly controlled volley that nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

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Friday, November 16, 2018
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