Top 10 World Cup Moments Thus Far
19 days and 56 matches later the field of 32 nations has been whittled down to eight. These last couple of days has been a nice reprieve from the constant World Cup action and is an appropriate time to look back on the last three weeks. Below are the top 10 highlights of the World Cup thus far and feel free to leave your own moments in the comments section. My apologies for the quality of some of these videos.
10) Frank Lampard’s chip against…oh, sorry. Arjen Robben’s left-footed bullet against Slovakia
If there was any doubt that Holland’s World Cup dreams depend heavily on the bald midfielder, Robben dismissed those doubts with an absolute screamer in The Netherland’s round of 16 matchup against Slovakia. Cutting inside from about 25 yards out Robben’s shot split three defenders and beat the goalkeeper to the near post to give the Dutch a 1-0 lead.
9) Maicon’s goal from an absurd angle against North Korea
Did he mean it? that was the question on everyone’s mind after Maicon scored Brazil’s first goal of the World Cup. Whether or not he meant it as a shot, and I’m in the camp that thinks he did, Maicon struck the ball remarkably well and put just enough bend on the ball to put it in the side netting. So much for Brazil not being able to score pretty.
8) Noel Valladares’ save against Chile
In the only non-goal of this countdown Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares came up with one of the saves of the tournament against Chile. He was the sole reason the South Americans didn’t score three or four against Honduras and showed great reflexes on this stop.
7) Asamoah Gyan’s extra-time winner against the USA
With one shot Asamoah Gyan raised the hopes of Africa and crushed those of the United States. It’s true, Tim Howard probably should have come up with the save but the strength Gyan showed to fight off two defenders after 93 minutes of play and put that amount of power behind his shot was impressive.
6) Carlos Tevez’s rocket against Mexico
Argentina is scoring from all over the pitch in the World Cup but none of their 10 goals are as impressive as this bomb from Carlos Tevez. Tevez’s first goal might have been illegal but there was no question on this one as he gave Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Perez no chance.
5) Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki combine against Denmark
The Blue Samauri were one of the pleasant surprises of the tournament and Honda emerged as one of the breakout stars. After scoring one earlier in the match this bit of unselfish play showed his versatility.
4) Luis Suarez’s bending winner against South Korea
In a goal reminiscent of Italy’s famous winner against Germany from 2006 Suarez scored a late goal to advance Uruguay into the quarterfinals. It was a goal made all the more difficult by the rain drenching the pitch since halftime.
3) Winston Reid’s injury-time equalizer for New Zealand against Slovakia
If Spain wins the World Cup New Zealand will be the only nation to not lose in South Africa. Their first point came in dramatic fashion against Slovakia as Winston Reid put home a last-gasp header to give the All-Whites a draw.
2) Spihiwe Tshablala’s opening goal against Mexico
The first cycle of games might have been some of the most boring in recent memory but Tshablala opening goal for the Bafana Bafana was nothing short of spectacular. It sent a nation into hysterics and was only made better by South Africa’s unorthodox celebration afterwards.
1) Landon Donovan’s stoppage-time winner against Algeria
Call this a home-town pick but Landon Donovan’s late winner against Algeria was the stuff of Hollywood. It was a win the USA had to have in order to get out of the group stages and advanced the game massively in this country.