Ranked! The 10 best goals of the 2014 World Cup
10. Arjen Robben, Holland vs Spain
Robben’s second goal in Salvador was supreme, but it was emphatically indebted to his sprinter’s pace and came when the Oranje were 4-1 up with little time left. His first, by contrast, broke parity and required more tools.
There appeared to be little danger when Daley Blind received possession out left, but Robben dashed into space before producing an exceptional touch to bring the ball down on the edge of the box. The wide man then cannily slipped out of Gerard Pique’s handcuffs, got the ball out from under his feet and fizzed it home under pressure from Sergio Ramos – albeit via a slight deflection.
9. Jermaine Jones, USA vs Portugal
The USA were 1-0 down when a partially cleared corner fell to three-time Germany midfielder Jones 25 yards from goal – and really, there should have been no worries for Portugal with a sea of bodies in front of him.
But the enforcer showed cunning, side-stepping Nani and thundering home into the bottom corner. So good was the strike that, despite the ball being only a couple of feet to his left and at a good height, Portugal goalkeeper Beto couldn’t react quick enough to even dive for it.
8. David Villa, Spain vs Australia
Spain were merely playing for pride in their final Group B game, so 32-year-old David Villa – who had announced he was quitting international football after the tournament – started against Australia... and seized his chance in style.
Andres Iniesta’s through-ball disorientated Jason Davidson and sent Juanfran in behind the Socceroos’ defence, but the right-back’s cutback from the byline was behind Villa. Inventively, however, the forward allowed the ball – its awkwardness heightened by a slight bounce – to go through his legs before flicking home with the inside of his right boot.
7. David Luiz, Brazil vs Colombia
Knuckleball free-kicks had enjoyed a popularity explosion in the lead-up to the 20th World Cup, but, despite several attempts, the competition had yet to see one in its early stages. That was until David Luiz chose an opportune moment to score one of his patented screamers.
Brazil led 1-0 but were under serious pressure from Colombia when the defender’s second goal in as many games – a 30-yard strike which moved in two different directions before dipping under David Ospina’s crossbar – sent the hosts on their way to the semi-finals. Given what happened, though, they probably wished they hadn't bothered.
6. James Rodriguez, Colombia vs Japan
Not one, but two Japanese players – both befuddled by Rodriguez's genius – watched his 11th-hour dink float into the net from their backsides. Los Cafateros began the move inside their own box, and seven men in yellow were involved before it reached their midfield maestro.
The rest was art. Two days after becoming the fourth-most expensive footballer in history, the 22-year-old cut inside Maya Yoshida with his first touch, hip-wiggled the Japan centre-back to the Arena Pantanal turf and craftily chipped the ball over Eiji Kawashima from close range.