World Cup 2014 is days away. And what better way to get into the mood than to talk about some of the memorable goals scored throughout the years.
I started my love affair with the most beautiful sport from the 1998 edition which was held in France.
That was the first time that I heard and became amazed with the dazzling skills of Brazilian striker Ronaldo, Croatian Davor Suker and the finesse of Zinedine Zidane.
But it was football from the 2002 World Cup held in Japan and South Korea and thereafter that left a lasting impression on me. South Korea and Turkey were the surprise packages when they finished fourth and third respectively.
It was Brazil who stole the show when they beat Germany 2-0 in the final. Ronaldo was the toast of the tournament when he scored in the 67th and 79th minute and emerged the topscorer with eight goals.
Ronaldo's record 15 World Cup goals remain unbeaten to this day.
That aside, from 2002 till 2010, I’ve seen many beautiful goals scored. Unfortunately, none of Ronaldo's goals came in as among my best.
From Edmilson to Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the goals captivated the fans. Just go to YouTube and see the amount of views, they can’t get enough of it!
You definitely have your own best goals of the World Cup. Share with me @avinesh90 your most memorable goals as we kick off the countdown to Brazil 2014.
I have my pick of the best World Cup goals. Here are my three most memorable ones.
Pressure of playing in the semi-final is always immense. Netherlands faced a resurgent Uruguay and they were the favourites to beat the South American side.
In the 17th minute, Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst received a pass from Wesley Sneijder and many didn’t expect the then 35-year-old wing-back to pull the trigger. Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera would have visioned Bronckhorst crossing or passing it to someone else.
But Bronckhorst took one touch and unleashed a venomous left-foot shot to surprise Muslera. That pile driver set the tone for a thrilling semi-final.
After his goal, Diego Forlan scored a beauty to equalise but Netherlands replied through goals from Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. Maximiliano Pereira scored a late goal but it wasn’t enough for Uruguay to mount a comeback. It was a thrilling match but I will never forget that goal!
It was their first World Cup in 12 years and Uruguay were trailing by a goal against Denmark. John Dahl Tomasson had scored the first goal in the 45th minute and Uruguay stepped up their attack to search for an equaliser.
In the 47th minute, Alvaro Recoba took a corner and the Danes cleared the danger easily. However, two of the most unlikeliest players created one of the most beautiful goals in the tournament.
Defensive midfielder Pablo Garcia controlled the headed clearance, lofted the ball to Dario Rodriguez and the centre-back unleashed an unstoppable volley to surprise Thomas Sorenson. After 12 years, he was the first Uruguayan to score in the World Cup.
However, Uruguay lost the game in a group which saw former World Champions France finish last in the group. That goal will surely be remembered by many and Rodriguez was playing professional football for his boyhood club Penarol at the age of 40.
England vs Sweden conjures up some good games but in 2006, England fans will surely remember the goal scored by Joe Cole. Since 1968, England has never beaten Sweden and that goal gave some hope for the England fans.
The then Chelsea midfielder chested a clearance off a corner from 32 metres and hit a dipping volley to beat the sprawling Andreas Isaksson. The way he took his volley was immaculate and he was a constant menace throughout the game.
Marcus Allback equalised for Sweden but England’s determination to win the game saw Steven Gerrard scoring a goal in the 85th minute but Sweden again equalised in the dying minutes through their legendary striker Henrik Larsson.
England qualified for the second round but Cole’s goal kept the fans buzzing and to this date, many rate his goal as one of the best in England’s World Cup history.
Below are some of goals that stood out from the rest.