Goals laced with a touch of genius

Goals laced with a touch of genius

Talking points

It may be a cliche but goals are the single biggest footballing currency. Long-range curlers, 25-pass moves, deft dinks over the keeper’s head or running past all the real estate that a football ground offers before slotting it home, watching great goals in real time takes your breath away. 

These six are some of the best ever scored in the Finals. 
Dennis Bergkamp (Ned vs Arg) 1998 WC

One long punt upfield from Frank De Boer which seems to be more in hope than expectation but not for Dennis Bergkamp, who receives it on the run just inside Argentina's area. 

He takes three superb touches - first, where he brings it under control, second, where he knocks the ball through Roberto Ayala's legs and third, where he finishes it into the far corner with aplomb. 

A goal worthy enough to win any final played anywhere, let alone a World Cup quarterfinal. To quote Bergkamp himself: "The seconds of the greats last longer."
Pele (Bra vs Swe) 1958 WC

The composure, poise and the technique of young prodigy had been established in the opening rounds itself. 

But this goal, which Pele scored in the final, confirmed his status. After chesting the ball down to evade the attentions of his marker, he expertly dinks the ball over another defender before slotting past the Swedish keeper with his right foot.  All when he was just 17. 
Diego Maradona (Arg vs Eng) 1986 WC

Perhaps, more reams have been written about this goal than about Argentina's triumph itself. The goal in itself is probably one of the greatest plays in the history of the Finals. 

Just four minutes after using his hand to score past ‘keeper Peter Shilton, the impudent Maradona, after receiving the ball near the centre circle, takes on the entire England team, eases past them, takes the ball around Shilton before finishing off one of the most thrilling solo acts. 
Carlos Alberto (Bra vs Ita) 1970 WC 

This goal, in microcosm, explains the hedonistic brilliance of the Selecao when they won three World Cups in 12 years. 

Only two Brazilian outfielders -- Everaldo and Piazza -- weren't involved in the move. The move started with Tostao near the Brazilian box before Clodoaldo's trickery helps him beat four Italians. He plays it towards Rivelino who frees Jairzinho down the left channel.

Jairzinho cuts inside and passes it to Pele, who has the awareness to lay it to a rampaging Alberto whose first time shot across the keeper nestles in the far corner. A brilliant team goal worthy to confirm any coronation. 
Maxi Rodriguez (Arg vs Mex) 2006 WC

There is something addictive about watching a half-volley that is struck from outside the box nestles in the back of the net. 

Add to it some intricate build-up play and you have got an endless video on loop. After Rodriguez, Juan Roman Riquelme and Lionel Scaloni break up Mexico's possession, Lionel Messi and Riquelme combine to release Juan Pablo Sorin down the Argentina left. 

His floated cross finds Rodriguez all alone just outside the box on the inside right channel. After he brought it down using his chest, Rodriguez let it fly using his left foot and in the blink of an eye, it hit the back of the net. 

Saeed Al-Owairan (Saudi vs Bel) 1994 WC 

This goal gave him the moniker, ‘The Maradona of the Arabs’ and it was probably justified too. 

He took control of the ball in the circle, before running past the Belgian side who waved him along like traffic cops on an empty road. Owairan obliged before sending a rising shot past keeper Michel Preud’homme. 

Later, in an interview, Owairan said he had gotten fed up of the goal. “I have seen this goal maybe 1000 times now and I’m honestly fed up with it.”