Sport Football Ten of the best World Cup goals of all time
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Ten of the best World Cup goals of all time

Michael Owen
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Top 10 goals in World Cup history

1986, USSR v France – Vasyl Rats

The wonderfully named Rats was a long-time servant of Dynamo Kiev. This left-foot thunderbolt helped the USSR to a 1-1 draw against eventual semi-finalists France in the 1986 group stage.

1998, England v Argentina – Michael Owen

Argentina had taken an early lead in the round-of-16 match before 18-year-old Owen equalised from the penalty spot. Owen’s second, 16 minutes in, was a screamer. It ended in heartbreak for England (it usually does), but no one will ever forget this goal.

1966, England v Mexico – Bobby Charlton

The lone World Cup where it hasn’t ended in despair for England, Sir Bobby’s stunner gave them the lead in an eventual 2-0 group stage win over Mexico.

1998, Cameroon v Austria – Pierre Njanka

A terrific run and finish from Cameroon’s Njanka, which “tore the heart out of the Austria defence”. Class. (Toni Polster’s leveller isn’t bad either).

1970, Brazil v Czechoslovakia – Pele

A brilliant echo of his majestic strike against Sweden in the 1958 final (more on that later), Pele expertly controls a high ball on his chest before volleying past the Czech ‘keeper.

2010, Netherlands v Uruguay, Giovanni van Bronckhorst

The former Feyenoord, Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona man gave the Dutch the perfect start in their 2010 semi-final against Uruguay. What a strike (apologies for the insipid soundtrack).

1978, Brazil v Italy – Nelinho

Bend it like Beckham? Nah, bend it like Nelinho, who produced this pearler against Italy in the play-off for third place in 1978.

1978, Scotland v Netherlands – Archie Gemmill

As a nod to the country of my birth, I had to find a place for a Scotsman in here somewhere. Gordon Strachan’s strike against West Germany in 1986 almost made it, but in the end I had to go with wee Archie.

1958, Brazil v Sweden – Pele

Brazil fell behind early in the 1958 final against host nation Sweden, but they were 2-1 up just after the half-hour mark following a Vava double. But it was a 17-year-old Pele who pulled the strings, and this strike (1:17 into the clip) best illustrates his brilliance.

1986, Argentina v England – Diego Maradona

No words needed here, but we’ll offer some anyway. Just minutes after scoring the most controversial goal in World Cup history, Maradona produces the best. Sheer genius.

And, while we’re here, take a look at the dodgy one …

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