Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that love is in the air. As a soccer fan, there is not much that I love more than a truly aesthetically pleasing goal.
Therefore, I’ve decided to compile a list of some of my favorite goals from recent years. Think of it as a Valentine’s Day gift from me to you. A bouquet of screamers rather than a bouquet of flowers, as it were.
Please enjoy the ten goals below, which are listed in no particular order.
Ben Woodburn, Wales vs Austria
The goal itself is phenomenal. Ben Woodburn picks up the ball beyond the D, takes a look and finds the bottom corner. However, what truly elevates this goal to the next level is the crowd. The fact that Woodburn scored his debut goal for his country seconds after the fans finished belting out the Welsh national anthem is almost too good to be true. I’m sure this is a moment that Woodburn will never forget.
Tim Cahill, Australia vs Netherlands
Simply put, this is the perfect strike from Tim Cahill. Yes, Australia went on to lose the match. And yes, Cahill eventually lost out on Goal of the Tournament honors thanks to an incredible effort from James Rodriguez. Still, there is not a single thing I’d change about this goal. With this volley, Tim Cahill put Australia on top of the football world, even if it was only for a moment.
Rose Lavelle, USA at Netherlands
Rose Lavelle is one of my favorite active players to watch. Her skill with the ball at her feet means she can create all sorts of space by running directly at the opposition. With this goal, she took a moment to remind everyone how effective she can be from distance as well. No goalkeeper in the world would have gotten near such a precise finish.
Siphiwe Tshabalala, South Africa vs Mexico
The build up to this goal is absolutely incredible. South Africa were able to string together four great passes, and Tshabalala finished the move with a thunderbolt. Additionally, it’s tough not to love the joy of a host nation getting on the board first to kickstart the World Cup.
Phil Jagielka, Everton at Liverpool
Fun fact: I have a poster of this goal hanging on my bedroom wall. The technique on the strike is impressive, but the meaning of the goal in the context of a Merseyside derby is something else. The “bolt from the Everton blue” call from Peter Drury is also just a fantastic bit of commentary.
Michael Essien, Chelsea vs Arsenal
The quality of the video is not great, but that fails to diminish the class of the strike from Michael Essien. The ball is clearly hit with immense power. It also just seems to hang in the air, traveling away from Petr Cech until it hits the back of the net. The camera angle from behind Essien illustrates the incredible amount of swerve that he managed to get on his shot.
Gustavo Bou, New England Revolution vs NYCFC
This victory was vital in terms of clinching a playoff spot for New England. Even without that context, the goal is a thing of beauty. Bou had plenty of space on the right, but even so, going for a chip from that distance is audacious.
Leigh Griffiths, Scotland vs England
Leigh Griffiths converted two free kicks at Hampden Park in this 2-2 draw. It is the second one (4:58 in the above video) that earned him a spot on this list. The free kick is impressive, but the reaction of the crowd truly makes this goal special. The moment the ball hit the back of the net, utter delirium broke out in Glasgow. I have not seen many celebrations that rival the wide angle shot of the entire stadium jumping up and down in unison.
Leighton Baines, Everton vs Leicester City
Any equalizer in stoppage time of a knockout cup game is impressive. When it is a goal like that one, there are few things better. This was a tremendous strike from Leighton Baines, but what truly stands out to me is how collected he is before and after the ball enters the net. The legendary cool of Baines is just one of many reasons why he should be considered one of the best left backs the Premier League has seen.
Leo Messi, Barcelona at Real Betis
No list of great goals would be complete without the genius of Leo Messi. The way that he was able to maintain so much finesse and control on a first-time finish is staggering. That slight touch off the crossbar on the way in is just the cherry on top. The fact that the Betis fans stood to applaud the goal tells you everything you need to know.
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– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)