Only 62 men have done it.
They’ve used their right foot 43 times, their left foot 21 times. There have been a dozen headers, only five penalties and a solitary own goal (should Mario Mandzukic’s accidental flick-on make it 13 headers? We’re in uncharted territory already.)
The average World Cup final goal is scored in the 55th minute — whatever that average manager said at the average half-time, it’s worked, on average — and has made the score, on average, 1.92-0.94. Let’s call it 2-1. Game on!
But that’s enough averageness. We are well overdue a definitive stock-take of World Cup final goalscoring: from the worst, the scrappiest, to the very greatest, the crowning glories.
We start in Moscow, just four and a half years ago… but where do we end?
77. Mario Mandzukic (own goal), France vs Croatia, 2018
A teasing Antoine Griezmann set-piece delivery into the box is flicked on and into his own net by Mario Mandzukic. He become the first — and, for now, only — scorer of an own goal in a World Cup final. This seems extraordinary, but that’s elite-level football for you. The best of the best.
Pros: Always slightly amusing when a centre-forward tries to lend a hand in defence and makes a mess of it.
Cons: The worst World Cup final goal of all time.
76. Mario Mandzukic, Croatia vs France, 2018
Redemption, in the tiniest possible way for Mandzukic, as his dogged pressing persistence forces Hugo Lloris into a copybook-blotting and entirely avoidable mistake.
Pros: A reward for an ultramodern footballing work ethic.
Cons: An embarrassment for pretty much everybody involved, possibly even the goalscorer himself.
75. Zoltan Czibor, Hungary vs West Germany, 1954
A woeful piece of handling from German goalkeeper Toni Turek sees him fumble a three-yard Werner Kohlmeyer backpass. Once Turek has finished writhing about on the floor in a shambolic attempt to gather, Czibor is on hand to whip the ball away and tuck it home from six yards, the simplest of tasks.
Pros: Quick thinking from the Hungarian.
Cons: Essentially entirely the goalkeeper’s doing.
74. Vava, Brazil vs Czechoslovakia, 1962
Djalma Santos wellies the ball 100 feet into the air, Czech keeper Viliam Schrojf loses sight of it in the Santiago sunshine and Vava has an empty net to poke into for 3-1.
Pros: Quite funny.
73. Roberto Boninsegna, Italy vs Brazil, 1970
The 1970 final goal nobody ever speaks of. Clodoaldo attempts an inexplicably casual backheel volley pass in his own half, Roberto Boninsegna storms in to take the ball, Brazilian keeper Felix races out of his box to just make things worse, and the striker sweeps into an unguarded net, despite his team-mate Gigi Riva’s best efforts to get in the way and ruin everything even more.
Pros: Hilariously bad.
Cons: Hilariously bad.
72. Jairzinho, Brazil vs Italy, 1970
Jairzinho steals in to give Brazil a two-goal lead with 20 minutes left, controlling the ball with his thigh and then failing to connect with his finish, which is enough to fool goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi.
Pros: Could argue it was an inspired dummy.
Cons: It was not an inspired dummy, it was a goal that should have been scored by the Republic of Ireland under Jack Charlton.
71. Paul Breitner, West Germany vs Netherlands, 1974
The Germans equalise from the spot after a clumsy foul by Wim Jansen. Breitner converts with almost zero fuss.
Pros: Weirdly casual.
Cons: Non-diving goalkeeper.
70. Antoine Griezmann, France vs Croatia, 2018
Griezmann restores France’s lead with a penalty after Ivan Perisic was adjudged to have handled in the box.
Pros: Nervelessly converted.
Cons: Terrible celebration (specifically, Fortnite-themed, presumably for the future benefit of anybody who will need to know, at a glance, exactly what year that penalty was scored in.)
69. Ronaldo, Brazil vs Germany, 2002 (first goal)
Pouncing on a rare error from Oliver Kahn, Ronaldo cashes in his World Cup/injury karma by tucking the ball home to make it 1-0.
Pros: Heartwarming story arc.
Cons: Very poor goalkeeping.
68. Wolfgang Weber, West Germany vs England, 1966
A mini-saga of a last-gasp equaliser, with two blocked German shots and several flying English bodies culminating in Weber storming in at the back post to finally convert and send the game to extra time.
Pros: An epic World Cup final scramble.
67. Johan Neeskens, Netherlands vs West Germany, 1974
A penalty, but one completely defined by what came before it to make it happen: 16 passes from the Dutch kick-off, zero German touches of the ball, Johan Cruyff deciding when and where to strike, Berti Vogts bringing him down just inside the area.
Neeskens didn’t mess about with the penalty, straight down the middle.
Pros: Total football.
Cons: A penalty.
66. Max Morlock, West Germany vs Hungary, 1954
A hopeful cross-shot is deflected by a desperate Hungarian toe into the path of Morlock, who pokes the ball past Gyula Grosics to halve the deficit.
Pros: Classic poaching.
Cons: Owes a lot to the mild chaos that preceded it.
65. Daniel Bertoni, Argentina vs Netherlands, 1978
Two-goal Mario Kempes surges from deep, tries a one-two with Bertoni, only for the latter to get in the way, deny Kempes his hat-trick and score himself past an exposed Jongbloed.
Pros: Admirable selfishness.
Cons: A potential masterpiece ruined.
64. Helmut Rahn, West Germany vs Hungary, 1954 (first goal)
Grosic flaps at a German corner and Rahn is unmarked at the back post to stab home a half-volley to level the scores in a pulsating first half in Bern.
Pros: Did well to keep the ball down.
Cons: Flapping keeper.
63. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, West Germany vs Argentina, 1986
With 15 minutes to go, a German corner is knocked down for Rummenigge to poke home from four yards and give them hope.
Pros: Striker’s instinct to be in the right place at the right time.
62. Gino Colaussi, Italy vs Hungary, 1938
Just six minutes in, Colaussi has the freedom of the Stade Olympique de Colombes to half-volley past Antal Szabo from six yards from a deep cross.
Pros: Not the easiest of finishes.
Cons: Hungarian defence had gone to sleep, early doors.
61. Zinedine Zidane, France vs Italy, 2006
Seven minutes in, Zidane opens the scoring from the spot with an almost-overcooked Panenka.
A panenka in the #FIFAWorldCup Final ?
Zinedine Zidane, #OnThisDay in 2006 ??
?? @equipedefrance pic.twitter.com/qDKvYkaYmH
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 9, 2022
Pros: Arguably the best, most boundary-pushing Panenka ever taken…
Cons: …or just quite unsatisfying to watch the great Zinedine Zidane having to appeal for his goal to count.
60. Alessandro Altobelli, Italy vs West Germany, 1982
Altobelli has all the time in the world to draw Schumacher out, take the ball to the side and slide it into the net for 3-0 and game over.
Pros: A cool head.
Cons: Germany all at sea.
59. Mario Kempes, Argentina vs Netherlands, 1978 (second goal)
Has all the early signs of an all-time classic: Kempes darts into space, evades two Dutch tackles with two brilliant touches of the ball, Jongbloed blocks his shot, the ball pings around in a complete mess and it’s very close to being an own goal.
Pros: Great build-up.
Cons: All that litter, for a start. Annoying.
58. Martin Peters, England vs West Germany, 1966
The sort of goal you’d expect to see late in a big game. A tame Hurst shot from distance is deflected up into the air for Martin Peters to stride onto and slam home from seven yards.
Pros: Inherent drama.
Cons: Could hardly miss.
57. Rudi Voller, West Germany vs Argentina, 1986
The Germans draw level at 2-2 with a great piece of poaching from Voller after Lothar Matthaus wins a header from a corner.
Pros: Very satisfying way Voller’s header goes between Nery Pumpido’s flying arms.
Cons: On a plate for him.
56. Paolo Rossi, Italy vs West Germany, 1982
Claudio Gentile bends an inviting cross into the corridor of uncertainty, and the Italians are almost literally queuing up. Rossi nods in from four yards.
Pros: Lovely cross.
Cons: Nothing special in the end.
55. Mario Zagallo, Brazil vs Sweden, 1958
Zagallo adds gloss to the scoreline by bravely sliding in to beat goalkeeper Svensson to the ball and poke it home.
Pros: Guts and determination.
Cons: Looked painful.
54. Pedro Cea, Uruguay vs Argentina, 1930
A hopeful ball into the box is collected by Cea, who slides it into the corner to draw Uruguay level at 2-2.
In the 2nd half both teams had chances, Varallo hit the crossbar, Stabile struck narrowly wide. Gestido missed from two meters out. ?? drew level in 57th min, Scarone’s lobbed ball over his head into the centre was met by Cea who sled it past Bottaso from about six yards out. pic.twitter.com/MzSbuwulBR
— World Cup 1930 Project ?? (@WC1930blogger) July 30, 2021
Pros: Classic opportunism from the Uruguayan goal machine.
Cons: Slight air of desperation about it.
53. Ferenc Puskas, Hungary vs West Germany, 1954
A deflected shot falls perfectly into the path of the best left foot in the mid-1950s business, and Puskas makes no mistake.
Pros: Unerring finish from the great man.
Cons: A tad fortunate.
52. Friaca, Brazil vs Uruguay, 1950
The Brazilian outside-right opens the scoring early in the second half by racing on to a through ball and finding the bottom-right corner.
Pros: Well-controlled finish on a bone-dry, bumpy Maracana pitch.
Cons: Bit bobbly.
51. Vava, Brazil vs Sweden, 1958 (second goal)
Garrincha torments Sweden left-back Sven Axbom — not for the first time — and Vava is on hand to complete a carbon copy of his first goal.
Pros: Garrincha officially had Axbom on toast.
Cons: Slightly less aesthetically-pleasing goal of the two.
50. Marco Materazzi, Italy vs France, 2006
Italy’s equaliser comes from an outswinging corner, a giant leap from somehow-former-Everton defender Materazzi and a decent header past Fabien Barthez.
Pros: Commanding header.
Cons: Barthez claiming to be 5ft 11in.
49. Zito, Brazil vs Czechoslovakia, 1962
Amarildo bewitches the Czech defence, his cross is stood up for Zito at the back post and it’s the simplest of headers for 2-1.
Pros: Superb wing play.
Cons: Too easy.
48. Vava, Brazil vs Sweden, 1958 (first goal)
Tremendous stuff out wide from Garrincha, who goes from 0-60 in a flash before firing in a low cross that Vava converts from three yards.
Pros: Probably the best World Cup final assist ever, at the time.
Cons: A mere tap-in.
47. Jose Luis Brown, Argentina vs West Germany, 1986
Argentina take the lead as Toni Schumacher comes and fails to get near a teasing set piece and Brown rises highest to head home.
Pros: Commanding leap.
Cons: Goalkeeper all over the shop.
46. Geoff Hurst, England vs West Germany, 1966 (first goal)
England captain Bobby Moore takes a quick free kick, Hurst loses his dozing marker Horst-Dieter Hottges and glances a header beyond Hans Tilkowski to level it up at Wembley.
Pros: Bright thinking all round.
Cons: Hurst is a little too unattended.
45. Dirk Nanninga, Netherlands vs Argentina, 1978
Rene van de Kerkhof’s clipped cross from the right is met by the leap of Nanninga to make it 1-1 with eight minutes left.
Pros: Fine header, very Cristiano Ronaldo vs Roma, 2008.
Cons: Argentinian keeper Ubaldo Fillol nowhere to be seen.
44. Jorge Valdano, Argentina vs West Germany, 1986
Valdano finds himself with acres of Azteca grass to run into, makes it abundantly clear to Schumacher where he’s going to sidefoot it… and isn’t bluffing.
Pros: Simple but stylish finish.
Cons: Where, as Barry Davies would put it, were the Germans?
43. Gerd Muller, West Germany vs Netherlands, 1974
A bad first touch or a great first touch? Either way, it’s classic Muller, finding space in the penalty area and then finishing with maximum efficiency.
Cons: Dutch keeper Jongbloed rooted to the spot again.
42. Mario Kempes, Argentina vs Netherlands, 1978 (first goal)
Kempes takes a great first touch to cut through the Dutch defence before sliding it underneath Jongbloed to open the scoring for Argentina.
?? ¡Un recuerdo imborrable para @Argentina contra #PaísesBajos!
?? En 1978 se enfrentaron por la Final de la #FIFAWorldCup y fue victoria albiceleste por 3-1 con dos goles de Mario Kempes y uno de Daniel Bertoni. #CreeEnTuContinente pic.twitter.com/THiOc7XuFF
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) December 6, 2022
Pros: Devastating first touch.
Cons: Looks like a slide tackle.
41. Ronaldo, Brazil vs Germany, 2002 (second goal)
Rivaldo steps over the ball to allow Ronaldo to receive it in space on the edge of the German box before passing it into the corner for 2-0.
Pros: Almost effortless.
Cons: Not a vintage Ronaldo goal.
40. Agne Simonsson, Sweden vs Brazil, 1958
With time running out for the hosts, Simonsson latches on to a neat through ball from Gunnar Gren and clips a finish beyond Gilmar.
Pros: Very tidy.
Cons: A mere consolation.
39. Hector Castro, Uruguay vs Argentina, 1930
A cross from the right is met by Hector Castro, whose header loops over Botasso to make it 4-2 and and seal Uruguay’s inaugural World Cup triumph.
Pros: A tremendous story arc, the greatest goal ever scored by a player who had accidentally amputated their own forearm with an electric saw at the age of 13.
Cons: Looping headers are among the least enjoyable types of headers.
38. Emmanuel Petit, France vs Brazil, 1998
Petit races on to a pass from Patrick Vieira for a standard, breakaway goal in a 3-0 win.
Pros: A decent finish from a player not known for his goalscoring.
Cons: Brazil knew the game was up.
37. Gino Colaussi, Italy vs Hungary, 1938 (second goal)
Colaussi extends Italy’s lead with his second of the game, outmuscling his Hungarian marker to settle himself and fire into the far corner.
Pros: Just about a “solo effort”, good strength to hold off the defender.
Cons: Keeper really should come out to narrow the angle.
36. Silvio Piola, Italy vs Hungary, 1938 (second goal)
Piola’s power seals it for Italy. The ball is cut back to the Lazio man, who meets it first time with a right-foot shot into the bottom corner.
Pros: Well-timed, proto-Lampardian run into the box.
Cons: Hungarian defender should have blocked it.
35. Gyorgy Sarosi, Hungary vs Italy, 1938
Hungary get back into it with a lightning-quick raid down the right, and skipper Sarosi is in the middle to convert a drilled cross.
Pros: A prescient glimpse of post-millennium attacking play.
Cons: A chance you’d expect the prolific Ferencvaros hitman to score with his eyes closed.
34. Zinedine Zidane, France vs Brazil, 1998 (first goal)
Zidane wanders into a pocket of unmarked space to meet an inswinging Emmanuel Petit corner and head powerfully in at the near post to give France the lead.
Pros: Great leap, emphatic technique.
Cons: Poor marking.
33. Zinedine Zidane, France vs Brazil, 1998 (second goal)
The slightly superior Zidane header in the 1998 final. He steals in to meet a whipped corner with a near-post nod that leaves Claudio Tafferel standing.
Imagine being in the crowd for this ? #OnThisDay in 1998, @equipedefrance ?? won their first #FIFAWorldCup ? pic.twitter.com/YPjf1suJwP
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 12, 2022
Pros: Also nutmegs Roberto Carlos on the line.
Cons: One header is probably enough, let’s face it.
32. Helmut Haller, West Germany vs England, 1966
Ray Wilson misjudges his headed clearance, Haller gathers it on the edge of the box and, just before Bobby Moore can close him down, slaps a right-footed shot into the far corner. Something very “opening goal of a World Cup final” about this, fittingly.
Pros: Textbook pouncing on an error.
Cons: Didn’t quite catch it as he’d have liked, even if they do all count.
31. Pele, Brazil vs Sweden, 1958 (second goal)
Pele crowns Brazil’s first World Cup triumph with a deliberately angled, looping header that outfoxes Svensson.
Pros: Clever thinking.
Cons: Slightly undignified goalkeeper scrambling.
30. Kylian Mbappe, France vs Croatia, 2018
Mbappe puts the game out of Croatia’s reach by giving the keeper the eyes from distance, shaping to curl one to the right before sliding one low to the left.
When a dream becomes a reality.
Take a bow, @KMbappe!
? Highlights ? https://t.co/LOdKDX2Cwn @FrenchTeam // @equipedefrance // #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/yzFrRXR6VE
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 15, 2018
Pros: Great disguise.
Cons: An oddly unsatisfying 25-yarder.
29. Nils Liedholm, Sweden vs Brazil, 1958
Great feet from the Milan legend, beating two Brazilians before finding the corner beyond goalkeeper Gilmar’s reach.
Pros: Lovely footwork.
Cons: An oddly awkward-looking dribble, like an old man trying to catch a mouse with his wooden leg.
28. Pablo Dorado, Uruguay vs Argentina, 1930
After some neat interplay in the Argentina box, Dorado scores the first-ever World Cup final goal by firing a right-foot finish into the far corner, through the goalkeeper Juan Botasso’s legs.
Pros: Literally doing what nobody had ever done before.
Cons: Keeper will be disappointed with that at his near post, Clive.
27. Juan Schiaffino, Uruguay vs Brazil, 1950
The magisterial Schiaffino levels for Uruguay with a classic bit of near-post plundering, beating his marker to the ball and firing first-time past Moacir Barbosa.
Remembering a Uruguay legend, who passed away 1⃣7⃣ years ago today.
Juan Alberto Schiaffino starred in the 1950 #WorldCup final, scoring one of the goals that broke Brazilian hearts in the fabled Maracanazo ??? @Uruguay | #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/nGfdnlb0RT
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 13, 2019
Pros: Sharp movement, decisive finishing.
Cons: Defender had switched off.
26. Silvio Piola, Italy vs Hungary, 1938 (first goal)
Piola takes charge of things by larruping one into the top corner from 12 yards after Italy ludicrously overcomplicate what had already been a high-xG situation.
Pros: No-nonsense finish, flailing goalkeeper.
Cons: I mean, look at the chance they had mere seconds beforehand, which resulted in… a pass out wide to the right:
25. Paul Breitner, West Germany vs Italy, 1982
All in vain, but Breitner restores some German pride with a tidy, low volley on the turn after Italy fail to clear a corner.
Pros: Fine technique.
Cons: Furious non-celebration.
24. Andreas Brehme, West Germany vs Argentina, 1990
“My so-called weaker left foot is as strong as the right. My left foot shots are more powerful, the ones with the right are better placed, like all penalties. It’s like choosing a weapon.”
One of the most coolly accurate penalties ever converted by Brehme, four years after he’d drilled one in with the other foot in a shootout against Mexico.
? Andi Brehme hit a superb winner in the last 16, was crucially on target in the semi-final, and scored the goal that won West Germany the 1990 #WorldCup. He was a left-back ?
? Happy birthday to a multifunctional legend ?#HBD | @DFB_Team_ENpic.twitter.com/1RufVkvwB7
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 9, 2021
Pros: Side-netting, pure precision under pressure.
Cons: Finals won with a single goal from the penalty spot are the pits.
23. Carlos Peucelle, Argentina vs Uruguay, 1930
Peucelle draws Argentina level by driving past two defenders and finding the far corner from an acute angle.
? New profile header.
Argentinian Carlos Peucelle?? makes it 1-1 during the @1930WorldCup Final against Uruguay??. pic.twitter.com/ZRWXMeTmyC
— World Cup 1930 Project ?? (@WC1930blogger) August 8, 2022
Pros: Lightning pace and directness paying off.
Cons: Did he actually mean to cross it?
22. Antonin Puc, Czechoslovakia vs Italy, 1934
Puc breaks the deadlock for the Czechs when the ball comes back to him from his own corner and he fires past Gianpiero Combi from a narrow angle.
Pros: Evidently a well-struck shot from distance.
Cons: We’ll never be able to watch it.
21. Paul Pogba, France vs Croatia, 2018
Pogba extends France’s lead just before the hour mark as he follows up his blocked right-foot blaster with a much more presentable left-foot pass into the net past a wrong-footed Danijel Subasic.
Pros: Decent plan B.
Cons: Rebounds are never as much fun.
20. Josef Masopust, Czechoslovakia vs Brazil, 1962
Masopust charges through from deep, onto a perfectly-timed through ball from Tomas Pospichal and fires underneath the onrushing Gilmar to open the scoring.
Pros: Lovely pass.
Cons: Statuesque Brazilian defence.
19. Raimundo Orsi, Italy vs Czechoslovakia, 1934
Orsi drags Italy level with nine minutes to go, controlling a bouncing ball and turning superbly in the box fire past Czech goalkeeper and captain Frantisek Planicka.
Gol de Raimundo Orsi (Italia) a Checoslovaquia en la Final del Mundial de 1934.
El crack de #Independiente (5 títulos amateurs) fue campeón de la Copa América y Plata en JJOO. Luego fue vendido a Juventus donde ganaría 5 scudettos consecutivos y se nacionalizaría italiano ?? pic.twitter.com/FOLjwS0fCr
— seba_cai (@seba_cai) June 14, 2018
Pros: Shearer-esque, almost decades before its time in its execution.
Cons: Defender needs be tighter there, you can’t let a player of Orsi’s quality that yard of space to turn and shoot.
18. Guillermo Stabile, Argentina vs Uruguay, 1930
Stabile — nicknamed “El Filtrador” or “the Infiltrator” — runs onto a long ball and hits a powerful shot into the top right corner from just inside the area.
Pros: Incredible nickname, the solitary photo suggests it was indeed a belter.
Cons: You’ll just have to take my word for it.
17. Andres Iniesta, Netherlands vs Spain, 2010
With four minutes until penalties, Spain venture forward, Cesc Fabregas slips in Iniesta, who rifles it home to win the World Cup.
The most iconic winning goal ever? ✨ ?? #OnThisDay in 2010, Andres Iniesta produced some late magic as Spain won their first #FIFAWorldCup! ? ? @andresiniesta8 | @SEFutbol pic.twitter.com/B78JQy2lqd
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 11, 2022
Pros: Lethal finish, a fitting winner in a 1-0 victory.
Cons: Vuvuzelas, away kit.
16. Alcides Ghiggia, Uruguay vs Brazil, 1950
The first truly iconic World Cup final goal, breaking Brazilian hearts in the process. Ghiggia gallops in from the right and squeezes a finish in at the near post to win the cup for Uruguay in the Maracana.
Pros: Pure cinematic melodrama.
Cons: Near post, goalkeeper, disappointed with that, etc.
15. Helmut Rahn, West Germany vs Hungary, 1954 (second goal)
With the Germans having fought back from 2-0 down to level in Bern, the ball is cleared only as far as Rahn on the edge of the Hungary box. He sends two defenders for a fondue, switches on to his left foot and finds the bottom-right corner to give Germany the lead with six minutes to go.
Er ermöglichte mit seinem Siegtor im WM Finale 1954 das Wunder von Bern. Heute wäre Helmut Rahn 90 Jahre alt geworden.#rahn pic.twitter.com/QMk0fWMiQK
— Sportschau (@sportschau) August 16, 2019
Pros: Great composure.
Cons: Could Grosics have got down to it quicker?
14. Angelo Schiavio, Italy vs Czechoslovakia, 1934
Five minutes into extra time, the Bologna hitman’s final goal for his country is the one that wins the 1934 World Cup. Schiavio is slipped in on the right and his first-time shot goes in off the crossbar with Planicka a mere, helpless spectator.
Pros: Superb technique on the turn.
Cons: The early minutes of extra time simply aren’t an iconic time to score a World Cup-winning goal.
13. Jorge Burruchaga, Argentina vs West Germany, 1986
Diego Maradona has the vision to release Burruchaga into the German half, and he gallops through to slide the ball beyond Schumacher to win Argentina the World Cup.
A 31 años del título en México 1986, revivimos el logro de los #Campeones86 junto a Jorge Burruchaga ? https://t.co/fPNMPItaxS pic.twitter.com/sj9nPNbeiT
— Selección Argentina ?? (@Argentina) June 29, 2017
Pros: A fitting winning goal.
Cons: The German offside trap.
12. Pele, Brazil vs Italy, 1970
The greatest World Cup final header? A speculative blooter of a cross from Rivellino is met by a towering leap from Pele, who buries a textbook downward header into the corner.
Pros: Prodigious athleticism.
Cons: It’s the near-post thing again, sorry.
11. Geoff Hurst, England vs West Germany, 1966 (second goal)
Famously controversial, to its footballing detriment. A first-time cross from Alan Ball is seized upon by Hurst, who swivels well to thump a finish “in” off the bar.
England krönt sich #Onthisday 1966 erstmals zum FIFA Weltmeister ???????
Matchwinner im #WM-Finale gegen @DFB_team war Geoff Hurst, der als erster Spieler drei Treffer in einem WM-Endspiel erzielte. ⚽️⚽️⚽️? pic.twitter.com/r3rKXXGMrJ
— FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft (@fifaworldcup_de) July 30, 2019
Pros: High drama, great technique, Azerbaijani intervention.
Cons: Didn’t go in. It just didn’t.
10. Pal Titkos, Hungary vs Italy, 1938
Titkos provides an instant reply for the Hungarians, bringing a half-cleared ball into the box under his spell before belting a left-foot, near-post finish past Aldo Olivieri in the Italian goal.
Pros: Sheer power.
Cons: It’s the near post again, apparently the decades-long scourge of international custodians.
9. Geoff Hurst, England vs West Germany, 1966 (third goal)
Play arguably should have been stopped (well done, referee) but Hurst wasn’t to know that, racing through with all his remaining energy after two hours of football to absolutely wallop it into the top corner with his left foot.
Pros: You couldn’t really design a better goal to seal a 4-2 victory.
Cons: An absolute swinger – even Hurst admits it.
8. Marco Tardelli, Italy vs West Germany, 1982
Italy exploit the space left behind as the Germans chase the game. Tardelli receives the ball on the edge of the box, his first touch almost setting up a barnstorming 20-yard half-volley. In the end, he almost slips into his shot but sends the ball into the far corner.
? 11 de Junio de 1982
?? Italia 3-1 Alemania ??
?? ????? de Tardelli atronó el Bernabéu
???? #otd | #España82 | @azzurri pic.twitter.com/VQBjYPUz4r
— Copa Mundial FIFA ? (@fifaworldcup_es) July 11, 2020
Pros: Greatest World Cup goal celebration of all time.
Cons: In isolation, actually looks like a goalline clearance.
7. Amarildo, Brazil vs Czechoslovakia, 1962
Amarildo instantly controls a quick throw-in, skips away from one Czech defender, hoodwinks another with a hip-swerve and, spotting keeper Schrojf off his line, fires the ball in at the near post.
Pros: Lethal dribbling.
Cons: Shameful goalkeeping.
6. Ivan Perisic, Croatia vs France, 2018
Like a modern, high-budget remake of Marco Tardelli’s 1982 goal. Perisic takes a touch to get a yard of space away from N’Golo Kante and then rifles the bouncing ball into the far corner.
Pros: Venomous power.
Cons: Slight deflection and an unsighted Lloris.
5. Mario Gotze, Germany vs Argentina, 2014
For the second World Cup in a row, the final is settled deep into extra time with the only goal from a diminutive midfielder. Gotze controls the ball on his chest and volleys into the far corner, all in one movement.
What a goal to win it! ? ?? @MarioGoetze, #OnThisDay in 2014 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ #FIFAWorldCup | @DFB_Team pic.twitter.com/gluKvx1o8v
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 13, 2022
Pros: Supreme technique.
Cons: Weirdly careless marking.
4. Carlos Alberto, Brazil vs Italy, 1970
The ultimate World Cup final team goal and, certainly, many people’s No 1 of all time. Clodoaldo’s insouciance in the build-up pays off for once, Jairzinho raids inside, Pele calmly lays it off (but that’s all it is, really) and Carlos Alberto absolutely batters it into the far corner.
We began with 8 of the finest strikes from #Mexico70 ??
Now, YOUR winner of this #WorldCup greatest goals bracket is… ?
??? Carlos Alberto’s exclamation point on an iconic @CBF_Futebol team move in the Final! ? pic.twitter.com/nUVTOsEDvL
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2020
Pros: A televisual masterpiece, greater than the sum of its parts.
Cons: Very slightly overmythologised, and we must all wonder what would have happened if the ball hadn’t sat up perfectly off the lush Azteca turf.
3. Gerson, Brazil vs Italy, 1970
The only fully-documented World Cup final screamer, and that’s pushing it. Gerson takes two excellent touches to get the ball out of his feet and fires a venomous strike into the far corner.
?? He pulled the strings for the magical Brazil team that won the 1970 #WorldCup
? Happy 80th birthday to @CBF_Futebol legend Gerson! pic.twitter.com/MZkBMhRYm7
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) January 11, 2021
Pros: Power, swerve and technique.
Cons: Top corner would have been nice, if we’re nitpicking.
2. Santos Iriarte, Uruguay vs Argentina, 1930
“El Canario” takes the first World Cup final by the scruff of the neck — and how! Shaping to shoot from 30 yards on the left, he instead dips inside and lets fly with a right-foot rocket into the top-left corner past a helpless Botasso.
#WorldCupFinal Santos Iriarte’s top draw screamer from 25-30 yards puts URU ahead 3-2. Is this one of the best goals in a WC Final? #WC1930 pic.twitter.com/jyFUpAPMTe
— World Cup 1930 Project ?? (@WC1930blogger) July 30, 2017
Pros: The greatest World Cup goal you’ll never, ever see. Well, unless you can make out what’s happening here…
Play became stretched & ?? would dominate but ?? still had chances. In the 68th, Uruguay took the lead. Iriarte took possession, charged down the left, dropped his shoulder, cut to his right & from roughly 25-30 yards struck a powerful shot into the top left corner. 3-2 to ??. pic.twitter.com/QcmTDVFQsC
— World Cup 1930 Project ?? (@WC1930blogger) July 30, 2021
…or you’re prepared to trust this faithfully-created diagram, which disputes the boot Iriarte scored with, just to add some further mystique:
Cons: Near-post screamers are the lesser-appreciated form of screamer.
1. Pele, Brazil vs Sweden, 1958 (first goal)
An astonishing goal, let alone from a 17-year-old. Pele rises high to take a deep cross on his chest, flicks the ball perfectly over the head of Bengt Gustavsson and then volleys beyond keeper Svensson from 12 yards. If it happened in 2022, football would probably end.
Um gol incrível de Pelé na @FIFAWorldCup de 1958 ??!
O Rei marcou 1⃣2⃣ gols e é o único jogador na história a ganhar 3⃣ Copas em 4⃣ disputadas. ???
? FIFA TV#58DaysToGo #AcrediteNoSeuContinente pic.twitter.com/N2cLUbaCoF
— CONMEBOL ?? (@CONMEBOLBR) September 23, 2022
Cons: None, go away.
(Top image: Getty Images/Design: Sam Richardson)