Glorious strikes

Pele scored against Sweden in 1958 to give Brazil a 3-1 lead. The goal is regarded as one of his most memorable strikes.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Diego Maradona's second strike against England in Mexico 1986 is arguably the best goal in World Cup history. And it came just four minutes after the controversial `Hand of God' goal.

Diego Maradona Argentina vs. England, 1986

Arguably the best goal in World Cup history, and it came just four minutes after the most controversial goal when Diego Maradona punched Argentina's opener over the head of Peter Shilton. Second time around it was much better. Maradona picked up a pass close to the halfway line and dribbled his way around three sets of flailing England limbs, before dummying Shilton, plopping the ball into the net, and racing off to celebrate.

Argentina vs. Belgium, 1986

Who said his effort against England was one in a million? As if to prove the point, Maradona did the same again in Argentina's next match — the semifinal against Belgium. Once again Maradona rode three tackles, this time rounding off the inevitable by juggling the ball to his left foot and shooting coolly past the Belgian goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff.

Said Owairan Saudi Arabia vs. Belgium, 1994

Said Owairan ensured the footballing minnows Saudi Arabia left with their heads held high and one of the greatest goals of World Cup history in the bag. Only five minutes had elapsed of the Saudi's second group match against Belgium when midfielder Owairan picked up the ball deep inside his own half. Quite why he elected to keep running and running is not clear, but his confidence was not misplaced. He beat four Belgian players before blasting the ball past Michel Preud'homme.

Michael Owen England vs. Argentina, 1998

Teenage sensation Michael Owen came of age with a wonder goal on the biggest stage of all. Owen had been unsettling the Argentinians all through the second-round match, so when he received the ball on the halfway line from David Beckham a buzz of expectation ran through the crowd. The Liverpool youngster surged towards goal, catching the opposition defence flat-footed, and bearing down on his target. Drawn slightly out towards the right, Owen finished his run by smashing home the goal of the 1998 tournament.

Arie Haan Holland vs. Italy, 1978

Haan had scored from long range in an earlier round against West Germany, but saved his most unbelievable effort for the 76th minute of Holland's deadlocked semifinal clash with Italy. Haan cued up from somewhere approaching 40 yards and his shot rocketed past a stunned Italian keeper Dino Zoff.

It carried the orange-shirted playmakers confidently into their second consecutive final, but sadly for Haan, all the spectacular goals in the world could not make up for the agony of losing once again.

Carlos Alberto Brazil vs. Italy, 1970

Carlos Alberto rounded off a dream Brazilian performance with a mouth-watering strike four minutes from the end in Mexico City. Brazil's front five, including Jairzinho and Pele, had delighted crowds with their sublime skills, but Alberto's strike was a reminder that they could produce searing power too. Pele played a square pass into the right channel 25 yards from goal and up charged Carlos Alberto from his right-back position where, without breaking his stride, he hammered the ball past Italy goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi.

Archie Gemmill Scotland vs. Holland, 1978

Scotland had lost to Peru and drawn with Iran, so what chance did they have of winning by three clear goals they needed to progress against tournament favourites Holland? That they could not quite pull off the impossible eclipsed a sterling effort, which they capped with one of the best goals in any finals tournament.

Archie Gemmill picked up a loose ball on the right of the Dutch box, drew Wim Jansen, skipped over Rudi Krol's flailing tackle, pushed the ball through Jan Poortvliet's legs and lofted it over advancing goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed. Scotland led 3-1 and, albeit briefly, the impossible was within their grasp.

Pele Brazil vs. Sweden, 1958

Pele was just 17 in 1958, but he wasted little time in putting his incredible talents on show to the world. The Brazilian team in that competition was as good as any that the nation has produced before or since, and Pele's goal, which gave them a 3-1 lead, is equally unsurpassed.

He beat Swedish defender Parlin down the right to chest down Nilton Santos' cross, flipped the ball over Gustavsson with his thigh and volleyed low and clinically past goalkeeper Svensson. Pele fittingly rounded off the 5-2 rout with a close-range header in injury-time, but it was strike number one that had stolen the show.

Roberto Baggio Italy vs. Czechoslovakia, 1990

Roberto Baggio was expected to shine on home soil, and first impressions were that the brilliant forward had not been affected by the groaning weight of home expectation.

The Italians had got off to a poor start, struggling to get past the United States. And goal-scoring was becoming a problem. Baggio reminded his team-mates how to do it with an almost arrogant ease. Italy were a goal up against the Czechs, thanks to Salvatore `Toto' Schillaci when Baggio erased any lingering doubts 12 minutes from time. He dribbled almost casually past two opposition defenders, cutting in from the right flank during his mazy run before shooting low past Jan Stejskal in the Czech goal.

Dennis Bergkamp Holland vs. Argentina, 1998

The Argentinians may well have been tired after their exertions in the previous round against England, but that could not take anything away from the goal which ultimately sealed their fate.

With a matter of minutes remaining and the match seemingly headed for extra-time, Dennis Bergkamp struck in a clinical fashion.

He caught out the opposing defenders in stealing into the box but much of the credit must go to Ronald de Boer's superb long pass, which dropped perfectly towards the Arsenal man.

In one movement Bergkamp controlled the ball to move effortlessly inside his marker, and stabbed the ball into the net to send the Dutch through to the semifinals in style.

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