World Cup 2018: 5 best goals from the first round of games

Pogba - securing all three points for France

The greatest World Cup footballing extravaganza is up and running, providing some stunning results already for the fans to cherish. For the neutrals, this has to be the most entertaining first round in a very long time.

Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, Germany - Many touted them as the favorites to lift the trophy, but not one of these teams managed to amass three points in their opening encounter.

Maybe this is the season for the underdogs to have their say. Belgium crushed Panama 3-0 whilst some other highly rated sides like Croatia and Senegal are off to a decent start.

From Mexico's highly spirited performance against the defending champions to Iceland's heroic World Cup debut, a lot of amazing things have happened already, which just makes the tournament a lot more intriguing.

Another crucial facet to take note of is the quality of finishing. Whilst a few players have made the fans raise their eyebrows with some spectacular strikes, some of them made their fans react the same way for the wrong reasons.

Talking off some big misses, not many would be forgetting Lionel Messi's penalty miss against Iceland. Nevertheless, let's keep all the forgettable moments aside and relive some stupendous action that kept us on the edge of our seats.

The game between Senegal and Poland brought an end to an enthralling first round. Here are the five best strikes from these fixtures, which will be remembered for a long time to come.

#5 Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia) vs Costa Rica

Costa Rica v Serbia: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Captain leading from the front!

Talk about spotting the top right corner with surgical precision, you won't see many better examples than this amazing free-kick converted by Serbian skipper Aleksandar Kolarov.

The former Manchester City and current AS Roma defender, Kolarov has a particular proclivity to pull off some stunning goals. If one has to rank all of those amazing strikes, this has to be right up there in the top 3.

Costa Rica entered the game as the favorites to win it going by how well they performed in the previous edition. They were far away from pulling off something similar and fluffed some presentable chances as well.

Serbia earned a free-kick just 10 minutes into the second half. Although the angle was brilliant for any left-footed striker, he still had to hit the target. Kolarov hit the bullseye and the ball went past a diving Keylor Navas who had no chance to get a hand on it.

Talk about captains leading from the front, this was a very special moment for Kolarov and his goal earned Serbia three invaluable points. They still have some tough games against Brazil and Switzerland coming up, but that goal must have lifted their spirits big time.


#4 Nacho (Spain) vs Portugal

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Nacho's sumptuous strike got everyone off their seats

Spain and Portugal provided one of the finest encounters in the history of World Cup when both sides settled for a 3-3 stalemate at the Fisht Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo snatched away two important points from the Spanish, but the latter had their moments in the match. Ronaldo opened the scoring very early in the game, putting the ball past David de Gea via a penalty.

Diego Costa equalized for the 2010 Champions before a horrendous mistake from De Gea helped Ronaldo regain the lead for Portugal.

The second half kick-started on a grandiose note for Spain as Costa tapped in a beautifully headed cross from Sergio Busquets. The scoreline was 2-2, moments later the man who gifted Ronaldo the penalty earlier provided a moment of magic.

The ball ricocheted off Isco's attempt and fell kindly for Nacho, who was around five yards away from the box. He struck it first time and it was an absolute thunderbolt into the back of the net.

Such volleys require great skill and precision to end up inside the netting, and it was quite a goal from the Real Madrid defender, it earned Spain a temporary 3-2 lead.


#3 Denis Cheryshev (Russia) vs Saudi Arabia

Cheryshev scored a brace coming off the bench in the tournament opener

Hosts Russia entered the championship with form against them. Yet home advantage was always going to come into play, and it came in big time.

Russia annihilated Saudi Arabia in the first game of the tournament, thumping them 5-0. Yuri Gazinsky scored the first goal of the World Cup finals in the 12th minute of the game.

Just before the first 45 came to a close, Denis Cheryshev, who came in as a substitute for the injured Alan Dzagoev, scored the second with a neat finish from close range.

Aleksandr Samedov scored the third one for Russia, which pretty much settled the deal and ensured a sleepless party night for the host nation. But that wasn't the end as the Russian players pulled off two more spectacular goals.

Cheryshev, towards the dying minutes of normal time, romped through into the box from the left wing. With a stellar attempt from outside off his left foot, he managed to get the ball in the net off the goal keeper's left to score his second on the night.

It's one of the very difficult moves to emulate, and appears terrestrial on the commoner's eye. To round the game off in style, Aleksandr Golovin converted a brilliant free-kick and made it 5-0 for his side.


#2 Philippe Coutinho (Brazil) vs Switzerland

Football: Brazil vs Switzerland at World Cup
Coutinho opened the scoring for Brazil with a stupendous finish

Brazil entered the tournament as one of the favorites to take the trophy home. But they were well below their standards from an attacking perspective against Switzerland at the Rostov Arena.

They started off on a positive note with some marauding runs coming from Neymar and Gabriel Jesus. Neymar was getting physically manhandled and he never really had free space to take a breath.

It was imperative for someone else to show up and it was the little magician Philippe Coutinho who made the entire stadium stand up and applaud the genius he is.

Marcelo's cross into the box was headed away by the defense and it fell for Coutinho just outside the box. The ball fell in an area where he usually loves to operate and he outrageously thwacked the ball in the top right corner.

It was Coutinho at his razor-sharp best, and that clearly instilled a lot of confidence in his teammates. But Steven Zuber's second-half goal muted the Samba beats for the remainder of the game, and it all ended in a 1-1 draw.


#1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) vs Spain

Ronaldo raised the roof with a peach of a strike!

Cristiano Ronaldo had already scored two in the game, but Diego Costa's brace and Nacho's thunderous goal kept Spain in the lead. The going got tough for Portugal as Spain neutralized every attacking move they performed.

Time was running out, Portuguese hopes were dying. The Spaniards in and out of the stadium were in a celebratory mood as they pretty much had three points in the bag.

Portugal was awarded a free-kick with just a couple of minutes remaining in normal time. Ronaldo was lining up to take the shot and by his standards, the distance was not too far.

Nevertheless, the pressure on his shoulders at that point in time was certainly humongous. With a million hopes pinned on him, the living legend pulled off one of the greatest moments of his scintillating career.

He curled the ball into the top right corner, and the pace on it ensured De Gea remained stagnant. He single-handedly earned Portugal a point and their hopes of winning the World Cup are pretty much alive.


Quick Links

Edited by Anthony Akatugba Jr.
Be the first one to comment