The Football World Cup is second only to the Olympic Games in the running for the biggest sporting tournament in the world.
In the past, it has showcased top players like Roberto Baggio, Pele and Diego Maradona. Don’t be fooled, though; world-class skill and international renown don’t always have to be glitzy, glamorous or even mind-blowingly complex. To show you how refined this level of sport can sometimes be, here are my top 5 simplest goals from World Cup history.
Roberto Baggio. Italy vs. Czechoslovakia – 1990
Records of the Italia World Cup in 1990 doesn’t quite do the brilliance of Baggio’s goal justice. The textbook dummy which Baggio pulled off right before scoring was utter perfection. Having taken 2 defenders and the goalkeeper out of the equation, he left the goal with nothing but air between the posts; it would have been hard to miss!
Michael Owen. England vs. Argentina – 1998
England undeservedly lost this game on penalties. However, the match is still remembered quite fondly by English fans for Owen’s goal. A quick flick coming off a pass from Beckham beat the whole Argentinian defence (tactically and on speed) was topped off with an absolutely fantastic finish (which really needs to be seen to be believed). The only shame is that Owen hasn’t quite managed to live up to the same brilliance ever since…
Diego Maradona. England vs. Argentina – 1986
It’s often said that England and Argentina’s football rivalry started with this match: Argentina went on to win this game, the first in a series which eventually led them to win the World Cup overall. The best thing about this, the second goal, was how Maradona thrashed the English defender at the halfway line with the speed and confidence of someone already destined to score (all while he still had five more players to beat!).
Al Owairan. Saudi Arabia vs. Belgium – USA 1994
This strike won the match for the Saudi Arabian team and took them through to the second round for the first time ever. Trust me when I say you just have to look it up.
Carlos Alberto Torres. Brazil vs. Italy – 1970
No matter who you are, you have got to appreciate how Albertos dribbled past 3 players for this one. However, the real genius of this goal is how he drew in the Italian defence before switching manoeuvres entirely and scoring. Sometimes, all it takes is quick thinking.