The 2014 FIFA World Cup has come and gone, and one of the best parts of every World Cup is the goals. There were 171 goals scored in the 2014 World Cup and they have been narrowed down to the Top 10 below.
A quick note before the countdown begins.
While many of the goals on the list involved tremendous skill, this was not the only thing that went into creating the list. Other factors were the situation where the goal was scored, the timing of the goal, and (to a lesser extent) the goal scorers themselves.
With that in mind, here are the Top 10 goals from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
(Videos courtesy of ESPN)
10) David Villa (ESP) – Spain vs. Australia (June 23 – Group Stage)
Spain entered the World Cup as defending champions and exited the World Cup far earlier than anyone expected following a 5-1 loss to The Netherlands and a 2-0 loss to Chile. Heading into their third matchup against Australia, who was also eliminated, Spain was basically playing for whatever pride they had left.
For David Villa, it was perhaps is final World Cup match and Villa gave the Spanish supporters a little bit of excitement. In the 36th minute, Juanfran sent a pass into the box for Villa, who spun around and with a back heel kick, beat Matthew Ryan to put Spain up 1-0. The Spaniards went on to win 3-0 and David Villa was able to end his international career with one more highlight reel goal.
9) Lionel Messi (ARG) – Argentina vs. Nigeria (June 25 – Group Stage)
What’s a Top 10 Goals countdown without Lionel Messi? The FC Barcelona had a relatively quiet 2010 World Cup, but four years later, he made his presence known loud and clear. Just before halftime, Argentina was awarded a free kick. Of course, Messi was the one to take it and from just outside of the box, he launched a shot over the wall and curled it just past Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to put the Argentines on top 2-1. Nigeria managed to tie the game a minute later, but Messi and Argentina got the last laugh. In addition to this highlight reel strike, Argentina went on to defeat Nigeria 3-2.
8) Lionel Messi (ARG) – Argentina vs. Iran (June 21 – Group Stage)
Lionel Messi struck again, this time it was Iran that fell victim.Of the four goals Messi scored in the tournament, it was his stoppage time game winner against Iran that was his best. After dribbling through a couple of Iranian defenders as only Messi can, the Argentine captain curled a shot from just inside the box past Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi to win it for Argentina.
7) John Brooks (USA) – United States vs. Ghana (June 16 – Group Stage)
As mentioned above, skill wasn’t the only factor in creating this list. John Brooks’ goal in the 86th minute against Ghana in the United States’ opening match was more than just a great header off of a corner kick. Almost from the minute that the US was drawn into the “Group of Death” with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana, pretty much everyone agreed on this: If the US was going to advance out of this group, they absolutely had to come away with a win and three points against Ghana in their opening match.
Clint Dempsey put the US up 30 seconds in before Ghana tied it at 1 in the 82nd minute. The US appeared to be heading for a draw when John Brooks, who was making his World Cup debut and came in as a sub, put the US back on top in dramatic fashion. Americans hadn’t let out that much excitement after a goal since Landon Donovan’s winning goal against Algeria in 2010 that sent the US into the Round of 16.
6) David Luiz (BRA) – Brazil vs. Colombia (July 4 – Quarterfinals)
Hosts Brazil took on a dangerous Colombian team in the Quarterfinals. In the 69th minute, with Brazil up 1-0, David Luiz fired a free kick over the wall and into the upper right corner from over 30 yards away. It was an emphatic exclamation point for the hosts and for David Luiz, as he delivered a flying kick to the corner flag in celebration. This was certainly a highlight for a tournament that had a shocking and embarrassing end for the Brazilians.
5) Jermaine Jones (USA) – United States vs. Portugal (June 22 – Group Stage)
The Americans were desperately looking for an equalizer after giving up an early goal to Portugal and it was Jermaine Jones who provided it with this beautiful strike from just outside the box. The sort of strike you would see from the likes of superstars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Jones curled it just past Portuguese goalkeeper Beto to tie the game at 1.
4) Mario Götze (GER) – Germany vs. Argentina (World Cup Final)
The World Cup Final was filled with scoring chances. It could have, and probably should have, been a 2-2, 3-2, or 3-3 game. However, neither team could capitalize on those chances. With the score tied 0-0 in extra time, Mario Götze controlled a cross from André Schürrle and, after volleying it off of his chest, fired it past Sergio Romero for what ended up being the World Cup-winning goal for the Germans. It was a memorable and incredible way to break a tie that almost lasted 120 minutes and give the Germans their fourth World Cup Championship.
3) Tim Cahill (AUS) – Australia vs. Netherlands (June 19 – Group Stage)
Australia took on The Netherlands and they were desperate for points after a 3-1 loss to Chile in their opening match. A minute after Arjen Robben put The Netherlands up 1-0, Tim Cahill blasted a shot out of mid-air and just under the post to level the score at 1. From the minute the goal was scored, the debate of whether Cahill’s goal was better than Robin Van Persie’s diving header. Ultimately, Van Persie’s goal narrowly beat out Cahill’s blast on this countdown.
2) RVP (NED) – Netherlands vs. Spain (June 13 – Group Stage)
In the opening match of Group B, The Netherlands crushed Spain, embarrassing the defending World Cup Champions 5-1. After Spain went ahead 1-0 following a penalty kick goal from Xabi Alonso, Robin Van Persie equalized in style with a flying header from just inside the box that even stunned Spanish supporters were in awe of. If it wasn’t for James Rodriguez’s goal against Uruguay, there’s no doubt that this would have been the goal of the tournament, plain and simple.
1) James Rodriguez (COL) – Colombia vs. Uruguay (June 28 – Quarterfinals)
RVP’s diving header against Spain was a virtual lock for the number 1 spot, until Colombia faced Uruguay in the Round of 16. In the 28th minute Colombia struck first, courtesy of James Rodiriguez and an incredible volley. From the Uruguay’s failed clearance until the ball was in the back of the goal, the ball never touched the ground. Uruguay manager Óscar Tabárez called it “one of the greatest goals the World Cup has ever seen”, and quite frankly it’s hard to argue with Tabárez on that one.
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