Ranked! The 12 greatest World Cup goals you’ve probably forgotten
World Cup goals come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the best live on in tournament folklore and as staple features of any highlights package, while others are curiously overlooked.
Everyone remembers Diego Maradona's solo effort against England, Michael Owen slaloming through the Argentina defence and Dennis Bergkamp’s sublime control and half-volley, but there are plenty of impressive goals that seem to have slipped most minds...
12. Adrian Ilie, Romania vs Colombia (1998)
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This game was poised at 0-0 when the board went up indicating two minutes of added time. Romania were in possession and would surely have been content to see things through to the break without incident.
Instead, an attack developed down the left. Adrian Ilie played the ball into Gheorghe Hagi and ran on to receive his backheel. Heading into the box, Ilie jinked past a despairing lunge and elegantly lifted the ball over the advancing Faryd Mondragon into the back of the net. Lovely.
11. Fabio Quagliarella, Italy vs Slovakia (2010)
A great goal that ultimately counted for nothing. The reigning champions struggled in South Africa, drawing their opening two group games against Paraguay and New Zealand.
They finished rock bottom after a 3-2 defeat to Slovakia, Italy’s second coming courtesy of Fabio Quagliarella in injury time. The striker delicately chipped the ball over Jan Mucha from arund 25 yards out, and went on to join Juventus that summer.
10. Ebbe Sand, Denmark vs Nigeria (1998)
Denmark were two goals ahead in their last-16 tie against Nigeria and Sand had just been introduced off the bench. Within seconds it was 3-0.
Michael Laudrup, searching for an opening, spotted the substitute’s run. The midfielder duly scooped the ball over Nigeria's defence with the outside of his foot and Sand got there first, nodding the ball inside covering defender Taribo West and then firing low into the bottom corner with conviction.
9. Bakari Kone, Ivory Coast vs Holland (2006)
The 2006 World Cup in Germany was a first for the Ivory Coast, whose golden generation were all coming of age. But they were drawn in a tough group, and losses to Argentina and Holland led to a hugely disappointing premature knockout with a game to spare.
They were already two goals down to the Dutch by the time Bakari Kone struck late in the first half. A quick free-kick set the winger on his way, and he ghosted past two defenders before planting a corking shot out of Edwin van der Sar’s reach.
8. Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland vs Honduras (2014)
A Shaqiri-inspired Switzerland secured their passage to the last 16 with a thumping 3-0 victory over Honduras in 2014. The Bayern Munich winger scored a hat-trick, and his first was the pick of the bunch.
Receiving the ball on the corner of the box, the mercurial midfielder drove infield at an angle, edging further away from goal with each step. Somehow, though, Shaqiri managed to whip his left foot around the ball and generate an astonishing level of power to rocket home into the top corner.
7. Daniel Amokachi, Nigeria vs Greece (1994)
Nigeria were progressing from the group phase regardless of this goal, but Amokachi’s glorious 95th-minute strike ensured they did so in top spot. The Super Eagles finished level on points with Argentina and Bulgaria, but with a marginally better goal difference secured through Amokachi’s bustling run and finish. The powerful striker, whose performances at the World Cup led to a £3 million move to Everton, forced his way past two defenders and slammed a late shot into the top corner.