The best World Cup goals


Argentina’s Lionel Messi and France’s Kylian Mbappé will face each other on Sunday with a World Cup trophy at stake. They will also be playing for the Golden Boot – the Paris Saint-Germain team-mates are tied at the top of the tournament’s scoring race with five goals each.

That the World Cup’s top scorers will face off on their biggest stage seems fitting for a tournament that has given fans the ultimate goals. In the 62 games played so far in Qatar, 163 goals have been scored, an average of 2.63 per game.

That total is the fourth most of all time, while the average is slightly below Russia 2018 (2.64) and Brazil 2014 (2.67). With two games to play—Sunday’s final plus Saturday’s third-place match between Morocco and Croatia—there is a chance this tournament will match the all-time record of 171, set in 1998 and equaled in 2014.

From stunning strikes to towering headers, here are seven goals (in order of when they happened) that are sure to last from the 2022 World Cup.

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Salem al-Dawsari, Saudi Arabia vs Argentina (group stage)

One of the most impressive goals of the World Cup came on the second full day of matches in the tournament. Saudi Arabia were underdogs in Group C, and a draw against Argentina in their opener on November 22 would have been an important result. But Dawsari launched the Green Falcons into history with his 53rd-minute lead. The 31-year-old escaped pressure from three defenders and darted inside with his right foot, then created enough space to fire a brilliant shot that curled into the net to give Saudi Arabia the lead. He followed it up with his trademark cartwheel and backflip celebration.

With his goal, Daswari, long one of the best players in Asian football, etched his name into World Cup history.

Richarlison, Brazil v Serbia (group stage)

FIFA’s official “Goal of the Tournament” is decided by a fan poll after the World Cup, but since this one took place on November 24, it has run away with the popular vote. In the 73rd minute against Serbia, Vinícius Júnior sent a good cross into the area and Richarlison’s finish was even better. The ball almost dropped out of his line of sight, but he caught it at the perfect moment for a stunning right-footed shot.

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It wasn’t a coincidence either. Video after the fact showed Richarlison practicing a similar finish in Brazil’s training sessions. The Tottenham star added another sublime goal with their final against South Korea in the knockout round. His team career ended sooner than expected, but Brazilian fans won’t soon forget Richarlison’s outstanding performance.

Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon – Serbia (group stage)

This target may not score as high in beauty points compared to others on this list, but it gets a kick out of its sass. In the 63rd minute, with his team trailing 3-1, Aboubakar left Serbian defender Nemanja Maksimovic in the dust and then sent a rebound past goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic. The ball took another bounce just off the line before miraculously dropping into the net. After a quick VAR check, the goal stood and the Indomitable Lions roared back to earn a 3-3 draw.

You can’t mention the Cameroonian captain without acknowledging his goal against Brazil. he scored in stoppage time of the second half to give his team the lead, he was then promptly sent off for a yellow card for excessive celebration.

Luis Chavez, Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia (group stage)

If there was an award for best set-piece goal, it might go to this free-kick. Chávez’s ball flew over the heads of his teammates and the Saudi defenders and into the net. It gave Mexico hope as the last places in Group C came down to the wire on November 30 and put Chávez, a 26-year-old midfielder from Pachuca in Liga MX, on the list of top goalscorers free, possibly never. .

According to FIFA’s advanced statistics, the ball traveled 95.8 feet to the goal, the distance measured in a straight line, not in the air, with a top speed of 121.7 mph. It was the most affected goal in the group stage.

Kylian Mbappé, France vs. Poland (Round of Seven)

France had comfortably secured their place in the quarter-finals in the dying minutes against Poland on December 4, but that didn’t stop Mbappé from giving the world another masterpiece. He had scored before the game to put France 2-0 up, but his stoppage-time goal was the highlight of the day. Mbappe collected a clever pass from Marcus Thuram, got away from a Polish defender and two touches later curled the ball into the top corner of the goal.

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Mbappé’s five goals in this World Cup have been from open play. He and teammate Olivier Giroud lead all players with an expected goals without penalty figure of 3.4. He’s still only 23, he’s just getting started.

Youssef en-Nesyri, Morocco vs. Portugal (quarter-finals)

En-Nesyri’s header in the 42nd minute helped Morocco reach new heights in more ways than one. The Atlas Lions earned a spot in a World Cup semifinal, the first for any African or Arab nation, and the 6-foot-2 en-Nesyri entered the record books. The Sevilla forward glanced a cross into the box and took advantage of a moment of hesitation from Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa to leap 9’1 feet and poke the ball into the net.

This measure goes in the company of the heights achieved by Cristiano Ronaldo, a player known for his prowess with the head. Even Ronaldo himself, watching from the sidelines, was in awe of how en-Nesyri defied physics on the biggest stage.

Julian Alvarez, Argentina vs. Croatia (semi-final)

Argentina’s World Cup has had no shortage of fantastic goals. It is difficult to choose just one that stands out: that of Enzo Fernández brilliant strike from outside the area after a short corner against Mexico it was one of the best goals of the group stage, and Messi’s score in that match it showed the master at his best.

That said, Álvarez’s second goal in the semi-final against Croatia sums up Argentina’s run: a moment of brilliance from an all-time great paired with a teammate. willing to do anything to keep Messi’s dream alive. Messi beat Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol on the turn and found Alvarez in the corner of the six-yard box to stop him. It’s a standout goal that spoke so much of what came before: Messi’s career and the years that Álvarez and other young Argentine players have spent idolizing him – like the finish itself.

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Marcus Rashford’s free-kick for England v Wales in the group stage. A year on from his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final, the 25-year-old Manchester United star played his free kick perfectly, converting one of his three goals – tied with Bukayo Saka for most in England – in Qatar.

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Gonçalo Ramos’ first goal for Portugal against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Seventeen minutes into his first start, Ramos proved he was a suitable replacement for Ronaldo on the bench. with a rocket past the Swiss goalkeeper. The Benfica forward is the only player with a hat trick in Qatar.

Neymar’s surprise from a tricky angle for Brazil against Croatia in the quarter-finals. The Brazilian star weaved his way through the Croatian defence in overtime for a goal that tied him with Pelé as his country’s all-time top scorer.

Wout Weghorst’s equalizer for the Netherlands against Argentina in the quarter-finals. he he handed over a dagger in the 11th minute of stoppage time to force extra time. The direct play from the training ground echoed a set piece dominated at the 1998 World Cup by surprise Argentina.

World Cup in Qatar

The last: France will face Argentina in the World Cup final after eliminating Morocco 2-0 in a semi-final on Wednesday in Khor, Qatar. The Blues will face Lionel Messi and Argentina on Sunday at 10 am in the East for the world championship. Morocco will play Croatia in the match for third place on Saturday.

Messi’s likely last World Cup: For Lionel Messi, the World Cup represents the last chance to get out of Maradona’s shadow. For Argentines, a respite from relentless bad news.

Today’s WorldView: In the minds of many critics, especially in the West, the World Cup in Qatar will always be a tournament surrounded by controversy. But Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, wants people to take a different view.

Perspective: “America is not a men’s soccer ass right now. It’s about something, and it’s more in tune with what works for the rest of the world rather than stubbornly forcing an American sports culture, without the benefit of the best of the best talent, into international competition.” Read Jerry Brewer on the future of the US men’s national team.


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