5. Robin van Persie – Netherlands v Spain
You had the feeling this World Cup was going to be a beauty when van Persie channelled his inner Clark Kent and flung himself through the air at a hopeful ball from Daley Blind. The brilliant diving header saw the third game of the tournament between the Netherlands and Spain level at 1-1 at half-time, and had mothers everywhere struggling to get grass stains out of shirts as kids around the globe practised the move.
4. Lionel Messi – Argentina v Iran
Messi’s Argentina were struggling to get past a stubborn Iran when the little virtuoso stepped up in the 91st minute, blasting a brilliant left-foot shot past the Iranian ‘keeper and giving Argentina all three points.
3. Xherdan Shaqiri – Switzerland v Honduras
Shaqiri picked up a pass from Stephan Lichsteiner on the edge of the area, used strength to hold off Wigan left-back Juan Carlos Garcia before rifling an unstoppable thunderbolt into the top left hand corner of Noel Valladares’ net. The Bayern Munich midfielder went on to score a hat-trick.
2. Tim Cahill – Australia v Netherlands
Australia were about to be awarded a free kick when Mathew Leckie was clattered into, but the referee waved play on when the ball fell to Ryan McGowan. Dutch defenders Ron Vlaar and Stefan de Vrij knew they were in a bit of strife as his lofted, first-time ball floated over them and into the penalty area. Precisely how much strife became all too apparent when Tim Cahill snuck in behind the pair and smashed one of the sweetest volleys of his career past a despairing Jasper Cillessen.
1. James Rodriguez – Colombia v Uruguay
Global stardom beckons for the Monaco attacker. He was brilliant every time he took to the park, and this screamer in the round of 16 against Uruguay shows just how much class he has. He controlled a header from Abel Aguilar on his chest and as the ball fell Rodriguez turned in one motion to smash a left-foot volley in off the the underside of the crossbar from 22 yards out. As one commentator said: “It’s the sort of goal you want to pour on your strawberries on a summer’s evening. The cream.”