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Ranked! The 10 best goals of World Cup 2002

Matt Holland Cameroon

The finest goals of 2002, selected by an eye-rubbing Nick Moore

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10. Matt Holland, Republic of Ireland vs Cameroon

For the Irish, World Cup 2002 wasn’t just about Roy Keane telling Mick McCarthy to do something medically impossible: they beat Saudi Arabia, and drew with both Germany and Cameroon to make the last 16.

Ipswich Town's pocket rocket Matty Holland scored a belter, too. Capitalising on a bungled headed clearance by the Indomitable Lions’ domitable-looking Raymond Kalla, Holland lashed a Bobby Charlton-style daisy-cutter hard and low past Boukar Alioum. A jubilant, Keane-free McCarthy performed a Yorkshire jig up the touchline.

Goal at 0:50

9. Diego Forlan, Uruguay vs Senegal

Alvaro Recoba’s delicious free-kicks caused chaos in opposition boxes for Uruguay, and while this effort was headed clear by a lofty Senegalese defender, Manchester United’s flaxen-haired forward Forlan was left in acres of space to pick up the rebound. The Uruguay sub, who’d just broken into the side as a youngster, chested coolly before arrowing home with his right peg. 

This aside, 2002 was a disappointment for Forlan – but with 112 caps and having been named Player of the Tournament at World Cup 2010, he's a bona fide Uruguay legend.

8. Junichi Inamoto, Japan vs Belgium

Having lost all their games at their first ever World Cup in 1998, Japan arrived as an international footballing force in their home tournament, winning Group H and sending their supporters into a delirious fit of expectation. Inamoto’s splendid effort against Belgium in their first match certainly helped: he turned his body neatly to get away from one opponent from deep in midfield and rocketed past another with a fine second touch, before ghosting into the box and placing past Geert de Vlieger neatly.

Despite being on the Arsenal books he never played for the Gunners, instead becoming a minor hit at Fulham – and a major hit at home, where his bleached look saw him rival David Beckham in the popularity stakes.

7. Jared Borgetti, Mexico vs Italy

A brilliantly simple piece of football: a great angled cross to which Borgetti added an expert caress, watching the ball and rotating mid-air to take both his Italian marker (the pretty useful Paolo Maldini) and keeper (Gianluigi Buffon, also no mug) totally out of the equation.

The goal helped Mexico win their group (they lost to USA in the last 16), and Borgetti deserves bonus points for his hypnotic sprinting-and-mad-ranting celebration.

Goal at 1:03

6. Salif Diao, Senegal vs Denmark

The best counter-attacking goal of the tournament, starting virtually from Senegal’s own corner flag. Henri Camara won the ball for El Hadji Diouf, who cockily picked out Diao with a backheel; he in turn rolled to a rampaging Khalilou Fadiga.

With the team having moved forward as a wave, Fadiga had plenty of options for his final pass, but chose to slide it to Diao, who'd made up remarkable ground. The big man squeezed between two defenders, then dinked neatly sideways to leave goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen on his knees and bewildered. On the touchline, Diao’s long-haired French coach Bruno Metsu wigged out like Michael Bolton after a particularly smooth sax solo.