Ranked! The 10 best goals of World Cup 2006
10. Philipp Lahm, Germany vs Costa Rica
Could there have been a more deserving candidate to open up Germany’s jamboree? Munich-born superman Lahm’s effort – bathed in sunshine at his hometown’s sparkly new Allianz Arena – was the perfect appetiser for the fun to come.
Lahm picked the ball up on the left wing and cut inside onto his right foot, so a cross to one of his three waiting team-mates seemed like the logical next step. But he, being a comic-book hero, instead dispensed with all faff and cracked a pinpoint effort into the keeper's far top corner. Just five minutes into the World Cup, the Germans were in dreamland.
9. Deco, Portugal vs Iran
Deco was controversial. One of the narkiest players ever to grace the sport, he made an art form of simulation, and even some of his international team-mates didn’t want him in the World Cup squad (Luis Figo objected to the Brazil-born midfielder's flag of convenience: “If you’re born Chinese, you have to play for China”).
But when he wasn’t rolling around clutching his face, Deco was a Paul Scholes-esque package of laser-guided passing, shooting and sublime touches. Here, Figo squared to him, and the ball was in the back of the net before Iran keeper Ebrahim Mirzapour could blink. Not that blinking helps in this kind of situation.
8. Tomas Rosicky, Czech Republic vs USA
An appetite-whetter for Arsenal fans, as the little magician had just inked a move to north London.
Pavel Nedved tried to locate human telegraph mast Jan Koller in the USA box, but the American defence humped the ball clear. Alas, it fell as far as Rosicky, who showed off a wonderful touch to stop the ball dead before sizzling it between two defenders through a tiny gap in Kasey Keller’s goalmouth.
7. Torsten Frings, Germany vs Costa Rica
Recent World Cups have been a battleground between Adidas’s sphere boffins – creating rounder and rounder balls that fly faster and move in the air – and disgruntled goalkeepers who say it simply isn’t fair. This geometrically-pleasing effort, also in 2006’s opening game, was the kind of thing that resulted.
Bastian Schweinsteiger feigned to cross a free-kick into the box, but instead squared to the headband-toting Frings, who let the ball roll across his body before lashing a bullet that arced away from stopper Jose Porras in the same direction.
6. Ronaldo, Brazil vs Japan
Bagging three goals at a World Cup would be a career high for most players, but for El Fenomeno in 2006, it was something of a disappointment: he’d got four at 1998 and eight in 2002, while Brazil lost 1-0 to France in the quarter-finals.
But at least he can look back on this cracking bash against Japan, who he utterly tormented all match – an instinctive pivot-and-hit that showed just why he's among the most revered World Cup players of all time.