RIO DE JANEIRO: Five of the most memorable goals of the 2014 World Cup:
ROBIN VAN PERSIE: Netherlands v Spain, Group B, Salvador, June 13
The first wonder goal of the 2014 World Cup was also many pundits’ choice as the best of the lot. With the Netherlands trailing 1-0, Daley Blind swung an inviting angled long ball into the penalty area. Van Persie tracked the flight of the ball perfectly, and diving full-length to meet it, lobbed an extraordinary header over Iker Casillas and into the net. Not only was it one of the goals of the tournament, it was the catalyst for a Dutch comeback that would see Spain thrashed 5-1.
TIM CAHILL: Australia v Netherlands, Group B, Porto Alegre, June 18 Australia were largely thought to be making up the numbers in Group B, where their first round opponents included the Netherlands, Spain and Chile. But even though they ended up losing all three games as predicted, veteran striker Tim Cahill gave his team one of the signature moments of the tournament with his 21st minute thunderbolt against the Dutch. Meeting a long ball on the run, the 34-year-old uncorked a ferocious volley that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
LIONEL MESSI: Argentina v Iran, Group F, Belo Horizonte, June 21 Iran looked to have done enough to have secured an improbable point against the mighty Argentines, and on another daym may even have snatched a win. But with the game deep into injury time, and Argentinian supporters gloomily resigned to a goalless draw, Messi decided to stamp his class on the contest with a decisive, match-winning intervention. Collecting the ball on the right-hand edge of the penalty area, he jinked past one defender and then let fly with a left-foot shot which flew into the net.
JAMES RODRIGUEZ: Colombia v Uruguay, last-16, Rio, June 28
The 22-year-old Rodriguez had already won a legion of admirers for his skilful attacking artistry during the group phase, where he had racked up three goals. But he took his adulation to another level with a goal of sumptuous brilliance in the Maracana Stadium to open the scoring against Uruguay in the last-16. Collecting a header on his chest 25 yards from goal, the Colombia No 10 let the ball drop and then unleashed an unstoppable left-foot volley that flew in off the underside of the crossbar.
MARIO GOETZE: Germany v Argentina, Final, Rio, July 13
Goetze had begun the tournament as one of coach Joachim Loew’s starting XI, only to lose his place in the side. But when called upon as a late substitute in the final, the 22-year-old did not disappoint. Andre Schuerrle’s run and cross was met by Goetze, who controlled on his chest to volley home. – Sapa-AFP