The Group Stage of the 2014 World Cup is over. A part of us is sad to see it go. There were so many games, and so many goals (136 of them in 48 matches — a new record) that there’s no way the next round can match that level of excitement — even though only the best teams remain.
Making a list of the best goals from the first round is like picking your favorite children. There were too many to choose from, but we did the dirty work and compiled the best of the Group Stage for you. Two Americans made the list — that’s more than any other country!
Check ’em out:
9. Clint Dempsey USA) goes it alone for opening score
It takes a special kind of striker to go for goal in the first 30 seconds of a game… and get there. Nice moves, too.
8. David Villa (SPA) scores on back-heel
In his last World Cup game, Villa made his cap count with this gorgeous touch and finish in front of the net.
7. Varela’s (POR) 95th minute header
It may pain Americans to watch, but this perfect header was the latest goal in World Cup history and kept Portugal alive.
6. Jermaine Jones’ (USA) elite strike
We’re just not used to American players firing the ball in from distance like this. A true corker.
5. Gervinho (IVC) takes on all of Colombia
So much determination though.
4. Xherdan Shaqiri (SUI) rounds the bend and goes top corner
The first of Shaqiri’s three goals versus Honduras was also the prettiest.
3. Tim Cahill’s (AUS) quick-response mega-volley
Pretty much the only good thing to happen to Australia in the tournament.
2. Lionel Messi’s (ARG) breakthrough winner
Iran nearly drew with title contender Argentina, but then Messi took over in stoppage time.
1. Robin Van Persie’s (NET) dolphin header
There’s just nothing that can top this. It reigns supreme.
Honorable mention to Karim Benzema’s goal that didn’t count.