World Cups capture the imagination of the public like few other events. Even the most casual football observer can be swept up in the excitement of a national team when the tournament only comes around once every four years.
The Top 10 Goals in the History of the World Cup
One of the biggest attractions of betting at the greatest sports betting sites is the potential for a player to pull off a spectacularly good goal that, due to how widely unexpected it was, gives you a hefty payout. Indeed, World Cup bets are not only possible but also popular at these sites.
However, what are the chances of the next World Cup conjuring up a beauty like the below-mentioned goals? Here are what we consider the 10 best World Cup goals ever.
10. Helmut Rahn (West Germany) vs Hungary, 1954
Germany might have been divided into two countries in 1949, but that didn't stop West Germany's football team going on to pick up Germany's first three World Cup wins before the nation was reunified in October 1990. In fact, the first triumph came as soon as 1954.
For that, West Germany was able to thank Helmut Rahn, who scored the team's third - and winning - goal over much-fancied Hungary in the final for a 3-2 result. Rahn cut inside before using his left foot to strike the ball into the bottom corner.
The match was later dubbed "The Miracle of Bern", a name used for a 2003 film retelling a story that, by then, had firmly secured itself in German footie folklore.
9. Zito (Brazil) vs Czechoslovakia, 1962
For most international teams, losing a player of Pelé's calibre to injury early in a major tournament would have seemed like a disaster. Not so much for the 1962 Brazilian team, however, who had to do without the man since he was injured in a group clash with Czechoslovakia.
Ironically, it was against that same team - this time in the final - that Brazil showed how good they could still be without him. Czech goalkeeper Viliam Schrojf made uncharacteristic errors to concede two of Brazil's goals, but Zito's header - on the back of a floated cross - was no fluke. Ultimately, Brazil ran out 3-1 winners and claimed their second World Cup title.
8. Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina) vs Serbia and Montenegro, 2006
Like its parent Southeast European country, the Serbia and Montenegro football team was short-lived. In fact, it only had that name between 2003 and 2006, when it was renamed Serbia as the Montenegro territory broke away from the sub-country with which it had long been in a loose union.
Sadly, the fact that the Serbia and Montenegro team was representing basically two countries masquerading as one didn't help it to put up a good fight against Argentina in the 2006 World Cup's last 16. Argentina thrashed the team 6-0, with Esteban Cambiasso's goal a particular highlight.
Nine players were involved in a 25-pass sequence capped by Cambiasso's close-range strike at 31 minutes. He had connected with an awesome backheel from Hernán Crespo, who later scored himself in the 78th minute. Tevez, Messi and Maxi - with a brace - also got on the scoresheet.
7. Maxi Rodríguez (Argentina) vs Mexico, 2006
Staying on the subject of Maxi, he was in great goal-scoring form again just over a week following the Serbia and Montenegro rout. This Mexico clash was much tighter, with the sides entering extra time tied at 1-1 - however, it was Rodríguez who overcame the deadlock.
He reacted to a Juan Pablo Sorin floating pass and nicely positioned the ball before a left-footed volley sent it soaring into the upper left corner of the onion bag. That occurred in the 98th minute and, with Mexico unable to answer, spared Argentina the lottery of a penalty shootout.
It was an indisputably dramatic climax to the game and secured the Albiceleste a quarter-final against Germany. Their luck only just ran out there - as, following another 1-1 scoreline post-extra time, Germany won 4-2 on penalties. Maxi was, aptly, one of Argentina's two penalty scorers.
6. Michael Owen (England) vs Argentina, 1998
The omens didn't exactly look good for England during the early stages of the 1998 World Cup in France. A group game lost to Romania landed England a clash with old adversaries Argentina for the Round of 16.
That match itself initially didn't look too promising either, with Gabriel Batistuta converting a penalty to help Argentina towards what should surely be another rout of the English. However, Michael Owen didn't get the memo; after only about 16 minutes of the game, he put England ahead.
Roberto Ayala's foul on Owen had enabled Alan Shearer to score an equalising penalty. Minutes later, Owen made contact with a David Beckham through-ball, flicked the ball beyond Jose Chamot and went on a sprint before lashing the ball into the Argentine net's far top corner.
In a case of "typical England", the team proceeded to concede another goal before exiting the tournament due to a penalty shootout nightmare. However, Owen's goal was, for him specifically, the start of a rosy international tenure in which he would score 39 more times for England.
5. Carlos Alberto (Brazil) vs Italy, 1970
While it was Alberto who slotted home the actual goal, it was the culmination of what was undoubtedly an admirably collaborative team performance. It could be traced back to Tostão who, with his team already 3-1 ahead, sparked a sequence where the ball passed through Brito, Clodoaldo, Pelé and Gérson. Clodoalda retrieved possession before handing over to Rivelino.
From him, the ball was clipped to Jairzinho, who brought it to Pele. Following a cue from Tostão, Pelé left the ball to re-enter the possession of Alberto, who hammered it... you know where. As this was the final, the goal helped Brazil to seal their third World Cup win across four tournaments.
It's hardly a wonder that Brazil's performances at this competition are often deemed a great example of beautiful attacking football - as opposed to dull and regimental defensive tactics.
4. Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands) vs Argentina, 1998
Long-time Arsenal fans don't need to be reminded of how much class the Dutch forward Dennis Bergkamp could show on the pitch. However, his strike that sent Argentina packing at France's World Cup in 1998 warrants repeat viewing.
Appropriately enough given that it was Independence Day, Bergkamp's skill was - ahem - out of this world as he reacted to a 60-yard pass from Frank De Boer. Bergkamp proceeded to get the ball past Roberto Ayala's legs before, with his foot's outside, rifling it past Carlos Roa in the 89th minute.
Sometimes, a reaction to a great goal can be very memorable in itself - and in this case, the Dutch radio commentator was so hoarse with screaming that he probably kept cough sweet makers in business. Bergkamp himself later called this his favourite of all of his goals - we are hardly surprised.
3. Geoff Hurst (England) vs West Germany, 1966
It's one of the best-known stories in the history of English football, but - hey - how many of us are really tired of it being retold? So, here goes...
Towards the close of England's World Cup final with West Germany, the hosts are 3-2 up - leading the Germans to desperately push forward their defenders in search of an equaliser. However, England skipper Bobby Moore tore up that script as he made a long pass to Geoff Hurst.
Commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme commented that some pitch invaders "think it's all over" - before Hurst sent the ball into the German net's top corner to Kenneth's cry of "It is now!"
If we believe Hurst's words post-match, he was actually - understandably, in the circumstances - attempting to run down the remaining time by kicking the ball into the stands. The goal was apparently a cock-up, then - but what a spectacular finish to a now iconic game.
2. Pelé (Brazil) vs Sweden, 1958
If you can remember the excitement surrounding Owen and Rooney when they showed their spectacular goal-scoring ability as teenagers, then you can easily imagine how Brazilians must have felt when Pelé, at the time just 17 years old, scored this beauty in the 1958 World Cup final.
In the run-up, he escaped a defender before bringing down the ball and bringing it over his sole opponent in the box. A right-footed volley was all that he then needed to send the ball beyond the keeper. That made the score 3-1 to Brazil - and the match developed into even more of a goal-fest.
Pelé added to his own tally with an injury-time header to put the finishing touch on the 5-2 scoreline. The still-intact World Cup final records set by his match include the most goals ever scored - 7 - and the youngest goal-scorer, Pelé.
1. Diego Maradona (Argentina) vs England, 1986
Maradona famously courted controversy with his opening goal against England in this quarter-final, which he scored with his hand - or, as he put himself after the game, "a little with the hand of God".
Hence, it has long been dubbed the "Hand of God" goal - but only four minutes after it was scored, the Argentinean clocked up another goal that was no con but all cool. All in 11 seconds, he ran 15 yards into England's half, wrong-footed Terry Butcher, beat Terry Fenwick, dragged the ball past the arriving 'keeper Peter Shilton, and then right-footed it in the net.
Although Maradona struck a similar goal in the semi-final triumph over Belgium three days later, its quality didn't quite touch that of the original, which went on to be voted FIFA's Goal of the Century.
Imagine a situation where you place a bet on a little-fancied player scoring... and then that player comes up with the goods. It's possible at an array of football betting sites, but which ones should you devote most attention to? Our reviews of sports bookies can help you answer that question.
Trust Top 10 Sports Betting Sites when you are looking to compare the leading football gambling portals.