When Samson Siasia found himself through on goal against Argentina in 1994, the simple thing to do would have been to put his head down and hit the ball hard into the keeper’s near post. It would have been a nice goal had it worked out that way. But he decided to take the road less traveled, nutmegging the hapless defender before delicately chipping the keeper, looping the ball just under the crossbar and making it a great one instead.
There aren’t many players like Arjen Robben out there, in that you know exactly what they’re going to do on the pitch but you just can’t stop them.
Everyone knew that Robben loved to cut inside and shoot during his career, but he was a fearsome player and this goal from 2014 proved he was unstoppable on his day. He raced onto a through ball against Spain, showing his incredible pace, before showing the composure to chop back onto his left foot and slot home. Amazingly, the speed he clocked up for this goal was 37km/h, which is the fastest a player had ever been recorded at.
Robben's World Record Speed ● World Cup 2014 ● Fastest Run Everwww.youtube.com
67. Angel Di Maria, Argentina v France, 2018
He’s not going to shoot from there, is he?
France could only stand and admire in 2018 when the ball was passed out to Di Maria a good 35 yards out, and the Argentine walloped home a clean long-range strike past Hugo Lloris. It was the highlight of a rollicking last 16 game that saw eventual champions France secure a fraught 4-3 victory. One of the many excellent games from 2018.
This goal is in the list mainly for the sheer brass neck that Didier Six shows in front of goal. A simple ball over the top unlocks the Kuwait defence, and despite the fact he could have taken the ball down, made himself a cup of tea and read a book by the time the defenders caught up to him, he decided to attempt the audacious and volley it into the top corner. Outstanding.
65. Franz Beckenbauer, West Germany v Switzerland, 1966
He’s synonymous with the libero role and famous for prowling in front of the back four, but Franz Beckenbauer could get forward too.
This goal was tiki-taka 50 years ahead of its time, as Beckenbauer picked up the ball, lent it to his teammates before poking the ball past the keeper. It was one of the finest goals from the 1966 tournament and helped his side to a resounding 5-0 victory against Switzerland.
Hristo Stoichkov was one of the best players in the world at the time the 1994 tournament came around, and after seeing this effort again it’s a shame to think he never got a big move to England. He runs at full pelt before slamming a long-range finish past Jorge Campos. It’s a classic 90s goal, even if the markings on the pitch do give us a bit of a headache.
There are few things more satisfying than a training ground set-piece routine coming off during a game, and this is one of the slickest we’ve ever seen from Javier Zanetti. Gabriel Batistuta runs over the ball as a distraction, before Juan Sebastian Veron darts a ball into Zanetti and he controls it superbly, before smashing it goalwards. Michael Owen’s goal and David Beckham’s red card made the headlines during this game, but this freekick shouldn’t be overlooked.
62. Paul Breitner, West Germany v Yugoslavia, 1974
Sometimes, you’ve just got to put your laces through it, and Paul Breitner made no hesitation during West Germany’s tie against Yugoslavia in 1974. It’s such a pure strike that the ball wobbles in the air on the way past the despairing diving challenge and into the top corner, and a long-range effort to remember.
Could this be one of the single most impressive kicks of a football ever? Imparting that much speed and movement on a football with a side-footed effort is, frankly, ridiculous. It moves like a penny floater you’d play with as a kid. Two keepers in goal would have struggled to stop it. The deranged celebration from David Luiz running to the corner flag also adds to the whole thing.
Who knows how many goals Pele scored during career (Pele seems to find extra ones he’d forgotten about every time there’s a count-up), but we can all agree he was pretty handy in front of goal. He was just 21 when he scored this one against Mexico back in 1962, playing like a kid in the playground to shrug off tackles and beat players on a mazy run. It’s the first time Pele features in this round-up, but it certainly won’t be the last.