Five of the best goals from the World Cup
Netherlands forward Robin van Persie scores during a Group B football match between Spain and the Netherlands
The 2014 World Cup has produced several goals of outstanding quality. The following are five of the best so far according to Reuters.
James Rodriguez (Colombia 2 Uruguay 0)
Rodriguez had already caught the eye with his performances in the first round but his opener against Uruguay in the Round of 16 confirmed him as one of the players of the tournament.
After a bit of head tennis on the edge of the Uruguayan box midway through the first half at the Maracana, the ball arched towards Rodriguez, 25 metres out.
He had the presence of mind to glance over his shoulder to check the positioning of the Uruguayan goalkeeper before chesting the ball down and, in one fluid movement, turning and firing a left-foot volley in off the underside of the crossbar.
For good measure, Rodriguez added Colombia’s second after the break to seal their victory.
Robin van Persie (Netherlands 5 Spain 1)
A stunning goal to match a stunning result as the Netherlands came from behind to thump world champions Spain in Salvador.
With Spain leading 1-0 through Xabi Alonso’s 27th minute penalty, Van Persie sprung the offside trap to launch himself in the air and meet a raking cross from left wing back Daley Blind.
The Dutch captain’s diving, looping header caught Spain keeper Iker Casillas in no man’s land and dipped below the bar to tie the score at 1-1.
“It was a brilliant goal, I have to be fair,” said Van Persie. “It was a bit of a gamble but just before the pass I saw Iker Casillas out of his goal. It was a header, really a lob-header, but a great goal.”
Tim Cahill (Netherlands 3 Australia 2)
Arjen Robben put the Netherlands ahead in the 20th minute in Porto Alegre but Cahill responded for Australia just seconds later in spectacular fashion.
From the re-start, Australia fed the ball to Ryan McGowan on the right flank. He launched a long, diagonal cross into the box towards Cahill.
Most players would have tried to take the ball down but not Cahill who smacked it first time with his left foot, in off the crossbar, giving the Dutch goalkeeper no chance.
Anyone who has played football knows how hard it is to hit a first time volley cleanly. But when the ball is coming to from distance, at speed and from over your shoulder, it takes outstanding brilliance.
Lionel Messi (Argentina 1 Iran 0)
With 90 minutes played, the frustrated Argentines were being held to a goalless draw in Belo Horizonte by supposedly one of the weakest teams at the tournament. They had enjoyed 76 per cent of the possession but managed only four shots on target.
Enter Messi, who dropped his shoulder on the edge of the box, jinked past a defender and fired a gorgeous curling left-foot shot into the far corner of the Iranian net.
The penalty area was packed with bodies – there were eight Iranian defenders between Messi and goal – but somehow he threaded his effort into the one exposed corner of the net.
“When you have a player such as Messi … it’s like water in the desert,” Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella said later in the tournament after yet another sublime Messi performance.
David Luiz (Brazil 2 Colombia 1)
Brazil were leading 1-0 in the 69th minute of their quarter-final against Colombia when James Rodriguez tripped Brazilian striker Hulk 30 metres from goal in a central position.
Centre-back David Luiz stepped up and fired the free-kick into the top left-hand corner of the Colombian net to seal an eventual 2-1 victory.
The odd thing about this goal is that Luiz side-footed his shot, any yet he hit it with such power and precision that it dipped and swerved before entering the net.
Luiz laughed about it afterwards, saying he had splayed feet “set at ten minutes to two o’clock” and that was why he has side-footed it. The Brazilian fans were laughing too as their side headed for the semifinals.