Top 10: World Cup net-busters

We've collected 10 of the finest goals ever witnessed at World Cup finals. You might not agree, but that's one of the things that makes football great...

1. Dennis Bergkamp (Holland) vs Argentina‚ France 98

Any goal that makes Barry Davies reach a pitch audible only to dogs deserves a place on this list; the fact that it was an 89th-minute quarter-final winner against the Argies makes it pretty special, too.

The way Bergkamp kills Frank de Boer's 60-odd-yard long ball with his first touch, flicks it back inside his marker with his second, before hitting it with the outside of his foot into the opposite top corner with his third... well, it's almost indescribable. Ask Barry.

2. Diego Maradona (Argentina) vs England‚ Mexico 86

There was only one way that Maradona was going to negate the most controversial goal ever scored at a World Cup, and that was by scoring the best goal ever seen in one, four minutes later.

Collecting the ball near the halfway line, he avoids the attention of Peters Beardsley and Reid with some smart footwork – and he's away. Swerving past Terrys Butcher and Fenwick, he rounds one final Peter, Shilton, before prodding it into the England goal. No complaints there.

3. Dario Rodriguez (Uruguay) vs Denmark‚ Japan/Korea 2002

This list has done little to disprove the stereotype that South Americans are the finest technical footballers. And the goal in this one wasn't scored by a Dane. Just two days into the 2002 World Cup, it closed the book for the goal of the tournament.

Alvaro Recoba's cleared corner lands on the foot of Pablo Garcia, who plays some keepy-uppy before lobbing the ball to the unmarked Dario Rodriguez, lurking on the other side of the 'D'. Evidently encouraged by Garcia's reluctance to let the ball hit the deck, Rodriguez launches a first-time volley that flies into the top corner. What's Spanish for 'ave it?

SEE ALSO Dario Rodriguez: Great Goals Retold

4. Saeed Al-Owairan (Saudi Arabia) vs Belgium‚ USA 94

There was a time when a World Cup wasn't a World Cup without someone dribbling home from at least halfway. And this sensational solo effort ensured that for a third successive World Cup, poor old Belgium were beaten by a wonder goal (see Maradona 1986 and David Platt 1990).

Picking up the ball in his own half, he just runs. And runs. And runs. Eventually he realises he's found his way to goal (after dancing round four Belgian players en route) and fires the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme to the amazement of spectators everywhere.

5. Archie Gemmill (Scotland) vs Holland, Argentina 78

Thirty years ago the Tartan Army had a team worth shouting about. Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish, Joe Jordan, John Robertson and Archie Gemmill were all household names, and World Cup hopes were high. But after losing to Peru and drawing with debutants Iran, the Scots needed to beat Holland by three goals to qualify. It all seemed impossible. Until, at 2-1 up, they scored the goal that will live forever in Tartan memory.

Picking up the ball on the right hand side of the area, Gemmill waltzes past four defenders and finishes sublimely, giving his team a wonderful chance to qualify. They didn't: Holland scored again. But those few minutes of ecstasy eased the pain of the premature exit.

6. Roberto Baggio (Italy) vs Czechoslovakia‚ Italia 90

Both sides had already qualified for the knockout stage of the competition, but the host nation wanted to win with style and top the group.

They managed both thanks to Roberto Baggio. A draw would have been enough for the Czechs to top the group, but The Divine Ponytail ensured there was to be no happy ending.

Starting on the halfway line (don't all the best goals?), Baggio exchanges a neat one-two with Giuseppe Giannini, avoids the lunge of Ivan Hasek, nearly topples Miroslav Kadlec with a clever shimmy and produces a fine finish at the near post to grab goal of the tournament.

7. Carlos Alberto (Brazil) vs Italy, Mexico 70

Brazil's fourth and final goal of a memorable World Cup final emphatically underlined their ability and summed up a team whose poise, power and precision had dominated the tournament.

A majestic team move builds from the back as Clodoaldo dances past four challengers in his own half. The ball moves to the wing, where wizard Jairzinho holds off two challenges and feeds Pele.

The great striker waits and waits, and when he eventually rolls the ball to his right, captain Carlos Alberto is there to thunder it into the bottom corner to ensure Brazil are crowned as champions for the third time.

8. Manuel Negrete (Mexico) vs Bulgaria, Mexico 86

Remember the name? Probably not. Though he is responsible for scoring one of the most spectacular goals in World Cup history, not many people could place Manuel Negrete. The Mexican midfielder spent much of his career in his homeland, racking up nearly 400 games for the Pumas.

What is surprising, though, is that so few people remember his stunning contribution to Mexico 86. The hosts had topped their group – more than West Germany, world champions Italy, European champions France or, er, England could manage – and faced Bulgaria in the Round of 16.

Negrete controls a lofted ball on the edge of the area, before flicking it to team-mate Javier Aguirre. Aguirre's first-touch return keeps the ball in the air, and Negrete fires home an unstoppable scissor kick.

Not one you'd forget if you managed it in a park – and this one helped Mexico into the quarter-finals of the world's most prestigious tournament before 114,000 baying fans in the Azteca Stadium. You might not remember it, but they will.

9. Diego Maradona (Argentina) vs Greece at USA 94

Maradona shocked the world when he was kicked out of USA 94 after failing a drug test. But after watching this effort against Greece, you can understand why the doping squad were knocking on his hotel room door so quickly. 

In a move so blindingly quick you'd have to be on something to be able to pull it off, the Argentine attack buzz like wasps around the Greece box. Fernando Redondo plays one-twos with Maradona and Claudio Caniggia in the blink of an eye before setting up Diego to curl the ball, left-footed, into the top corner.

Editor's legal note: Only Maradona failed a drug test. OK?

10. Pele (Brazil) vs Sweden at Sweden 58

Gazza's goal against the Scots ain't so great. It turns out he copied it from this chap: Pele. One name, like Cher. Apparently he scored tons of goals.

The evidence here certainly suggests that the kid had talent. Watch him trap that rocket of a pass on his chest, clip it over the advancing defender and execute an inch-perfect volley as it drops, rifling it into the bottom corner.


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