Davor Suker, Croatia vs. Denmark, 1996
To avoid repeating pretty much every single ‘Greatest International Goals’ list ever written, we thought we’d throw in a curveball to start off with. Croatia faced defending European champions Denmark and were 2-0 up with little time remaining. Denmark were confronted with early elimination if they didn’t get the three points, which prompted goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel to bomb on up the pitch.
However, the Danes were caught in possession and with Schmeichel forty-odd yards from his own box, the Croatian defence hit a long ball towards forward Davor Suker. Upon controlling the ball, the Real Madrid striker-to-be began to head towards goal but was charged by the freshly retreated Manchester United ‘keeper. Suker anticipated this and effortlessly chipped over Schmeichel, a sight he was all too familiar with seeing – just ask Phillipe Albert. (Track to 1:56)
Carlos Alberto, Brazil vs. Italy, 1970
It was during Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Italy in the 1970 Mexico World Cup Final that people began to categorically recognise Mario Zagallo’s squad – containing the likes of Pele, Rivelino, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto to name a few – as one of the greatest and most talented teams to grace the World Cup stage. And they proved they could live up to this name by scoring one of the best international goals of all time.
Dribbling past four players in his own half, Clodoaldo started the move off, then passing to Jairzinho. The Botafogo forward then slips it to Pele who cooly hands it on a plate to the oncoming steam train who is Carlos Alberto. The defender runs onto it and smashes home first-time with the force of a Joey Barton sucker punch, sending the 107,000 inside Mexico’s Azteca Stadium into raptures.
Diego Maradona, Argentina vs. England, 1986
Maradona took possession of the ball inside his own half against an England side still fuming from that handball incident just minutes before. The spritely South American controlled it – ingeniously taking two players out of the game with a Cruyff turn – revved up, and began to jink his way around cumbersome England challenges with his stubby little legs pumping away at full steam.
By the time he reached the penalty area he’d surpassed six white shirts, only to round Peter Shilton and stab home. Argentina went on to win 2-1 and were eventual World Cup winners.
Roberto Baggio, Italy vs. Czechoslovakia, 1990
As Italy played hosts to the World Cup in 1990, 23-year-old Roberto Baggio made his World Cup debut for Italy in the final group stage game against Czechoslovakia.
A swift one-two with fellow countryman Giuseppe Giannini set Baggio on a run that started mid-way up the pitch on the left hand side and ended with him tip-toeing his way towards the opposition goal like a pony-tailed gazelle in football boots.
Skipping his way past one defender, the Italian maestro dropped a shoulder to fool another then gave the Czechoslovakian keeper ‘the eyes’ to nonchalantly slot in at the near post, sending him the wrong way.
Marco van Basten, Netherlands vs. Russia, 1988
This peach comes from the final of the 1988 European Championships in West Germany. Yes, it’s another goal from a final, but there is no denying that this is certainly one that will stand the test of time.
Following an over-hit cross field pass from deep, Van Basten adjusted his run and arrived to the descending ball close to the Russian by-line. From what looks like an impossible angle, the Dutchman hits it first time on the volley past Russian goalkeeper Rinat Dasayev.
Needless to say this shot has been attempted many-a-time by budding footballers playing headers and volleys over the park – the majority of which have flown waywardly into neighbouring gardens.
This is just our opinion. If your favourite international goal isn’t in here, just let us know by commenting below!