40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History: #22 Josimar - Brazil vs Northern Ireland ('86)

Josimar Higino Pereira

The 1986 FIFA World Cup is one of the most talked about events in footballing history. A certain Argentine decide to show the world why he was considered the best to have ever played the game.

The most infamous, or famous, depending on which side of the fence you find yourself on, handball in the history of the game - "The Hand of God" was swiftly followed by one of the most mesmerising solo efforts the world had ever seen. England, the victims.

That is what we recall when we think of the World Cup in 1986.

However, there was another moment in the same competition that is worth the same magnitude of praise. Ironically it came from Argentina's eternal rivals Brazil in the group stages. The same team that refuses to acknowledge Maradona's side triumph on the biggest stage in the world.

Brazil were drawn in Group D alongside Spain, Algeria and Northern Island and after overcoming both Spain and Brazil were well on their way to the knock-out rounds. They were expected to overcome the relatively weaker challenge posed by the Irish.

What wasn't expected was what occurred in the dying embers of the first half, sandwiched between two goals from Careca.

The half was petering out and everyone was already thinking about their refreshments. All but one Brazilian on the pitch. The one making his debut for the national side.


Brazil were 1-0 up with four minutes to go to half-time, keeping the ball with some lazy passing in Northern Ireland’s half. “Josimar … Júnior … Elzo … Alemao,” said BBC commentator John Motson, capturing the rhythmic groove of Brazil’s possession as Alemão played the ball square to Josimar. “Well, Careca and Casagrande are waiting for a cross.”

The rookie tempted fate. And it worked. Instead of whipping the ball into the box for the man who'd already gotten on the score-sheet, Josimar threw a right boot at it, which seemed like the kitchen sink, and the ball swooshed in a manner you'd think only possible to conjure with a Jabulani. Nah. All you need is a lethal right foot and the self-belief of Josimar Higino Pereira.

All of thirty yards out, like an arrow, into the top corner. And that's why it makes our list of 40 Greatest Goals in World Cup history.

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Edited by Amit Mishra
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