The FIFA World Cup has witnessed some great goals over the years.
To get your name on the scoresheet in a World Cup fixture is a fine achievement in itself and to do it in an eyecatching manner is truly special.
Here’s the list of the best goals scored in FIFA World Cup history
Zinedine Zidane (France) vs Italy, 2006 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
It takes a lot of courage to pull off a “Panenka” in any game, let alone the World Cup final. When Italian defender Marco Materazzi conceded a penalty in the first half of the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane stepped up. The French skipper casually looped it into the net as the keeper dived the wrong way.
It is considered to be the greatest penalty taken in football history.
James Rodriguez (Columbia) vs Uruguay, 2014 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
Columbia had a dream run in the 2014 World Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals. James Rodriguez, who won the Golden Boot for scoring six goals, spearheaded their campaign.
James Rodriguez’s six strikes include a stunning goal against Uruguay in the pre-quarterfinals. Rodriguez chested the ball and volleyed it on the turn from 35 yards, producing one of the finest moments in World Cup history. Rodriguez went on to win the Puskas Award in 2014 for that strike.
Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa) vs Mexico, 2010 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
Siphiwe Tshabalala etched his name in history books as the first player to score a goal for South Africa in World Cup history. In the opening game of the 2010 World Cup, Tshabalala caught Mexico on the break and finished it with his left foot from a very acute angle.
Commentator Peter Drury’s iconic words ‘A goal for South Africa, a goal for all Africa’ rightly describe the goal, which set the party going in South Africa in the best way possible.
Benjamin Pavard (France) vs Argentina, 2018 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
France’s toughest fixture of their 2018 FIFA World Cup journey came against Argentina in the pre quarter-finals. They were 2-1 down in the game after the first half but Benjamin Pavard resurrected France with a 40-yard banger.
A cross from the left-flank was not cleared properly and it fell kindly for Pavard. The right-back’s cross-footed volley went in with pace and curl, giving the keeper no chance to stop it. It was voted as the goal of the tournament later.
Diego Maradona (Argentina) vs England, 1986 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
Not many footballers in the world possess the trickery and touch Diego Maradona did. The Argentine magician was the pillar in his side’s 1986 World Cup triumph and won the Golden Ball for his outstanding performances.
In the 1986 semi-final against England, Maradona dribbled past nine players from the halfway line before beating Peter Shilton in goal. It was voted as the goal of the century by experts later.
Pele (Brazil) vs Sweden, 1958 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
Pele is the only player in FIFA World Cup history to win the tournament three times. No player has contributed more goals directly than the Brazilian legend, who scored 12 goals and made 10 assists.
In the 1958 World Cup final against Sweden, a 19-year-old Pele controlled a cross in the box with his chest, lifted it over two defenders and smashed it past the goalkeeper in a 5-2 victory for Brazil. It is rated as the finest goal scored by Pele for his national team.
Robin van Persie (Netherlands) vs Spain, 2014 - Best goals in FIFA World Cup history
Robin van Persie earned the sobriquet “The Flying Dutchman” for his goal against Spain in the 2014 World Cup group stage game. The Netherlands ran through the erstwhile defending champions 5-1 and it was Van Persie’s iconic header that kickstarted the goal fest.
Daley Blind’s long ball from the halfway line found Robin van Persie just outside the box. The Dutch striker flew in the air to head it over Iker Casillas, making it 1-1 for his side just before half-time.
Featured photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP