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Football: Greatest ever major tournament goals

28 June 2022 11:47:18 EST
Diego Maradona scored a fantastic second goal against England in 1986

It has been 34 years since Marco van Basten scored that incredible volley at Euro 88, so we have decided to pick out some of the other greatest major tournament goals.

Before we delve into some more sensational strikes, it's certainly worth remembering the seemingly impossible goal that Van Basten scored.

With a ball floated towards the right side of the penalty area, the Dutchman, from an acute angle and going away from goal, struck a delightful volley over the goalkeeper and into the net.

To make this goal stand out even more, the now 57-year-old produced this in the Euro 88 final, adding the second and final strike in the 2-0 victory over the Soviet Union.

With the European Championship Women 2022 starting on 6th July and World Cup 2022 coming up in Qatar later this year, we have taken a trip down memory lane to pick out the best major tournament goals.

World Cup

Diego Maradona vs England (1986)

While the quarter-final clash between England and Argentina will always be shrouded in controversy because of the 'Hand of God' incident, there is no denying Diego Maradona scored one of the greatest goals of all time in that clash.

Receiving the ball under pressure, the Argentine proceeded to evade two opponents to spin away over the halfway line before dribbling past another two English defenders, rounding the goalkeeper and then holding off a recovering player to slot the ball into an empty net.

It was a sensational goal that combined speed, control and composure and although England supporters won't like it, this strike was a touch of class.

Michael Owen vs Argentina (1998)

Although this last-16 tie went against England in the end, Michael Owen's sensational solo goal that gave the Three Lions a 2-1 lead at the time lives long in the memory.

Just 18 years of age at the time, the Liverpool legend dribbled past defenders Ayala and Jose Chamot with ease before striking a wonderful finish past goalkeeper Carlos Roa from just outside the penalty box.

Robin Van Persie vs Spain (2014)

Who can forget the sensational header from Netherlands striker Robin Van Persie against defending champions Spain in the group stage of World Cup 2014.

Daley Blind managed to find the striker with a stunning pass forwards, judging it perfectly over Sergio Ramos, before Van Persie looped a magnificent header over Iker Casillas.

James Rodriguez vs Uruguay (2014)

There was another fantastic goal at World Cup 2014 and it belongs to Colombia's James Rodriguez, who chested the ball down before producing a scintillating 25-yard volley that crashed in off the underside of the bar.

Rodriguez guided his country to the quarter-finals and ended the tournament with the golden boot, notching six goals in total.

European Championships

Daniela Sabatino vs Sweden (Women's Euro '17)

Although Italy's women finished bottom of their group at the European Championships in 2017, they did manage to go out in style with a 3-2 victory over Sweden.

Daniela Sabatino's early strike was cancelled out but the Italian was on the scoresheet again, this time with an excellent weighted lob that went back across the keeper and into the net. It was a wonderful first-time strike after she was picked out in the area by a fantastic pass from deep.

Antonin Panenka vs West Germany (Euro '76)

This may not be an official goal, as it came in a penalty shootout, but there is no way this effort from Antonin Panenka could be ignored.

With the 1976 European Championship final level at 2-2 after extra time, Czechoslovakia and West Germany needed penalties to decide who would lift the trophy.

When Uli Hoeness missed the fourth spot-kick for West Germany, the opportunity was there for Czechoslovakia to win the tournament.

Despite all the pressure, Panenka was the calmest person in the stadium as he ran up to the ball and chipped it down the middle of the goal, showing he had nerves of steel.

That penalty method now bears his name and it has been copied over the years, with varying degrees of success.

Davor Suker vs Denmark (Euro '96)

Croatia enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals of the European Championships in 1996 in their first tournament as an independent nation and one goal in particular, from Davor Suker, is remembered to this day.

Already leading Denmark 2-0, Suker executed a sublime chip from just inside the area with the outside of his left foot to loop over Peter Schmeichel for his second of the match.

Paul Gascoigne vs Scotland (Euro '96)

This list wouldn't be complete without Paul Gascoigne's quality individual effort in England's 2-0 victory over Scotland in the group stage in 1996.

Receiving a ball on the edge of the area, the talismanic midfielder lifted the ball over the head of Colin Hendry with his left foot before smashing a right-footed volley past the keeper.

It was, simply, a truly wonderful goal.

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