Flashback: The 10 best goals at the 2014 World Cup

Robin van Persie goal World Cup 2014

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is only 15 days away, so to whet your appetite, here are 10 of the best goals scored in Brazil four years ago.

Counting down from 10 to 1, we start with a screamer from Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri.

10. Xherdan Shaqiri: Switzerland v Honduras, Manaus, June 25

In what would turn out to be the first goal of a splendid hat-trick in a 5-2 victory that would send Switzerland on their way into the last 16, Shaqiri made his way across the edge of the box before unleashing a powerful and venomous strike that kissed the underside of the crossbar and rocketed into the back of the net.

9. Wesley Sneijder: Netherlands v Mexico, Fortaleza, June 29

With his team trailing 1-0 in Fortaleza and the clock ticking down, Sneijder provided the spark the Netherlands needed to kickstart their 2014 campaign with a superb solo effort, making a run towards goal before scoring with a stunning volley.

8. Lionel Messi: Argentina v Iran, Belo Horizonte, June 21

Were Iran about to secure a draw with mighty Argentina? That looked to be the case until one Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini intervened.

Giving the Barcelona legend just a bit too much space, Messi picked up the ball before cutting inside and finding the net with a beautiful left-footed strike.

7. Jermaine Jones: USA v Portugal, Manaus, June 23

Not a player known for his goalscoring prowess, the former Besiktas midfielder is nevertheless responsible for one of the greatest goals ever scored by the USA in the World Cup – a powerful shot that curled perfectly into the far corner.

It would also be the goal that ultimately helped the Americans advance to the next round at the expense of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

6. Lionel Messi: Argentina v Nigeria, Porto Alegre, June 25

There are few sights more amazing to behold than a perfectly floated free kick from Lionel Messi.

That’s just what fans in Porto Alegre were treated to when the Argentinean maestro unleashed this effort in Argentina’s final group game.

5. Mario Gotze: Germany v Argentina, Rio de Janeiro, July 13

“It’s unbelievable. I scored, but I didn’t really know what was happening. A dream has become a reality, and we are going to have a great party.”

Those were Mario Gotze’s words after the injury-time goal in the World Cup final that won Germany the trophy.

It was a perfectly weighted pass from Andre Schurrle that started the move, but it was Gotze who showed incredible calmness and composure to control the ball and fire it past Argentine keeper Sergio Romero, sparking a celebration for the ages.

4. David Luiz: Brazil v Colombia, Fortaleza, July 4

“I hit the ball at the exact right point. You can try to hit it like that, and it’ll take you all day.”

Even David Luiz had to admit that he couldn’t have struck this one any better.

While the 2014 World Cup will go down in history as one to forget for the hosts (Hello, Germany), they’ll always have this goal.

The quarter-final winner seemed to leave Luiz’s boot before ballooning into the air, moving in two directions and flying in under the Colombian crossbar.

Simply put, there was no better free kick at the World Cup that year.

3. James Rodriguez: Colombia v Uruguay, Rio De Janeiro, June 28

James Rodriguez delivered on the promise his legion of Colombian fans had in him when he scored this absolute pearler against Uruguay.

The then 22-year-old scored three goals in the group stages, but none were better than this one, as he took the ball down, turned, shot and scored from 25 yards out. A moment of pure brilliance.

2. Tim Cahill: Australia v Netherlands, Porto Alegre, June 18

“It just felt so right to hit it, and I hit it sweetly. This is what it’s all about because everyone dreams of playing on this stage.”

Everything seemed to come together perfectly for Tim Cahill when he scored this stunning volley against the Netherlands after racing onto a high through ball.

Unfortunately for Australia, they still went on to lose the match 3-2, but this moment and this goal will live on forever.

1. Robin van Persie: Netherlands v Spain, Salvador, June 13

“It is the best goal of my career. It was a brilliant goal, even I have to say that.”

That’s how Robin van Persie described his absolute wondergoal in the Netherlands’ opening group game against Spain.

Headers don’t often grab all the headlines, but few would argue that Van Persie’s sensational equaliser was one of the greatest World Cup goals ever scored.

The Dutch striker timed his run to perfection as he met a perfectly floated pass from Daley Blind and launched himself through the air to make the perfect connection and leave Spain keeper Iker Cassillas stranded.

Van Persie’s flying effort was also one of the first goals to go truly viral on social media, spawning countless memes:

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