My Favorite World Cup Goals

As the world cup draws closer, we'll be seeing a lot of "best" lists. So why not add one to the pile. I present to you my top World Cup goals. A bit of a primer, though. I decided if I was going to pick my favorite World Cup goals, it would have to be goals that I actually saw live on the telly or in person. So my list starts with 1978, the first World Cup I remember watching. I have also made the decision not to include the Maradona run because we have all seen that goal many, many, times. Besides, he got a brace the next game as well that was better.

So here it goes, in no particular order. My favorite World Cup goals.

Nelinho, Brazil vs Italy, Argentina 1978

This is the first World Cup I remember watching. The lasting memories are the paper flood in the final, Haan's bomb (more on that later) and this goal from Nelinho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EALtQtzUIaM

Manuel Negrete, Mexico vs Bulgaria, Mexico 1986

Even my non-soccer loving mom jumped out her chair when this one hit the back of the net.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzgxThtwUHM

Diego Maradona vs Argentina vs Belgium, Mexico 86

If his run vs England put him in a class by himself, then this double against the Belgians established a beachhead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E9qCaoEgl8

Iordan Letchkov vs Bulgaria vs Germany, USA 1994

Hristo equalized with a great free kick, but this flying header came out of nowhere to dump the Germans in one of the great World Cup weekends of all time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzHqFNHaoZk

Branco vs Brazil vs Holland, USA 1994

I was at the Cotton Bowl for this one (on the UT side no less). It was only 85 degrees and the party the night before is something I will never forget.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L0PO_q6xZs

Jared Borgetti vs Mexico vs Italy, JK 2002

The best goal from a player who scored a ton of them. And what a time to do it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lKne7ArLDs

All of Brazil's goals in 1982. Those who read this space regularly know the high regard in which I hold this side. When I first started compiling this list, I could not decide which of the goals would make the cut? Would it be Socrates' screamer vs the Russians? What about Eder's? Falcao's stunner in Barcelona? Junior's samba dance through Argentina? So many choices. So, why pick? Here are all of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVA1JHdDTx0

Sunday Oliseh, Nigeria vs Spain, France 98

I was bartending in 1998, and after a particularly long night, I remember halfway watching this match. I gave it my full attention when Raul one-timed Dpain into the lead, only to see Zubi let it slip away. Sunday Oliseh then finished Spain off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtTnQ6ZgAdc

Dennis Bergkamp vs Argentina, France 98 A crazy end to a crazy game. Is it just me or do World Cup games look better in the summer sun?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZkCFoqSBs

Igor Belanov vs Belgium, Mexico 86

Belgium prevailed 4-3 in extra time in what is surely on the most underrated games in World Cup history, but that Belanov goal, wow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZB3UHJRGzY

Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Mexico vs Belgium, France 98

El Temo is the only Mexican to score in 3 World Cups, and his first was a classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWhpvZM4D68

Lothar Matthaus, Germany vs Yugoslavia, Italia 90

The Germans were the thing worth remembering in a very forgettable World Cup.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep19w4VMhSo

Daniel Amokachi, Nigeria vs Greece, USA 94

The Nigerian National team sat behind us at the Spain-South Korea match at the Cotton Bowl. I asked one of them, who turned out to be Daniel Amokachi, if they could beat these guys. He laughed and laughed and laughed before saying "of course!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MApUVPVPifA

Arie Haan, Holland vs Italy, Argentina 78 The aforementioned bomb.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3uhveKM57A

Thomas Brolin, Sweden vs Romania, USA 94

This goal was scored the same day as the Letchkov header. The day after the Branco goal. What a weekend! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48x5dX-x7r4

Hopefully we can have a weekend in Brazil that can top that one.