As the clock ticks towards injury time, the world as a whole holds its breath. Every move that a player makes manages to speed up the heartbeats of millions of fans. Right move, the team gets one step closer to greatness; wrong move, dreams come crashing. Such is the fickle nature of football.
Throughout the game, there are plenty of moments that make the fans go crazy at the brilliance of a player – but it’s the dying moments that often give birth to legends. The urgency of the moment, the last gasp effort, that one last try to change the fortunes – that’s what separates good teams and players from the great ones. Here is our list of these incredible goals from the World Cup history
A come from behind story for the ages: It was the year 1990, Colombia had not been in the World cup for three decades, and were trailing West Germany by a goal. This game was crucial for them to remain in the World Cup. In the final minutes, out of nowhere, Valderrama’s pass found Freddy Rincon, Colombian striker, who shot between the legs of the goalkeeper. This goal led to a draw and made Colombia secure the 3rd place in the group. For the first time, Colombia was in the round of 16.
1994 was a year of surprises for a lot of unfancied teams, like Sweden and Romania. The game was a draw in the stipulated 90 minutes, and had to go into extra time. In the 101st minute, Romania took lead with a goal by Florin Raducioiu, and all they needed to do to go to the semi-finals was deny Sweden an opportunity to score – a task they were excelling at. Frustrated by their defensive tactics, Kennet Andersson went for a hail Mary – and went for a long shot that ended up scoring the equaliser. The match had to be decided through penalties, in which Sweden prevailed. That year, Sweden finished the World Cup in the third position with Anderson as the third highest goal scorer.
It was the quarterfinals of the 1998 World Cup. Claudio Lopez had scored the equaliser for Argentina. In the 90th minute, Frank de Boer’s 60-yard long pass found Dennis Bergkamp, who controlled it well with his right foot and hit between the legs of the defender to strike a volley against Argentinian Carlos Roa. It launched a frenzied round of ‘Dennis Bergkamp!’ from the commentator, who possibly lost his voice for the next few weeks at least! The 1998 World Cup is remembered because of this goal and the commentator’s reaction.
Until 2006, the Spanish football team was known for underperforming on the grand stage and fans were left disappointed. Their victory in the EUFA Euro 2008 surprised their fans and they were favourites to win the World Cup 2010. The team was full of young players. Spain had reached the finals against the Netherlands. It was an aggressive match full of tackles on the pitch. But, Spain was about to finally fulfil their destiny. In the 116th minute, Andres Iniesta gave Spain a moment to remember him by with his beautiful goal that won them the World Cup.
This list couldn’t have ended without a mention of this goal from the current iteration of the World Cup. Japan was leading 2-0 against Belgium during the first 60 minutes of play, and were cruising towards a comfortable win. At the 69 minute mark, Vertonghen scored a spectacular header – boosting the morale of a flagging team. They rallied from then on, scoring an equaliser at the 74th minute. The tension was rising and both teams were saving goals aggressively. It seemed like a draw was imminent – But just before the final whistle was blown, the substitute saved the day. Nacer Chadli locked victory in Belgium’s hands with his stunning goal. The match won Belgium a lot of new fans, making them favourites going forward.