Monday, 6 February, 2023
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Mbappe's wonder-strike tops our favourite goals from Qatar 2022

That amazing World Cup final between Argentina and France on Sunday at the Lusail Stadium in Doha that ended 3-3 before the South Americans won on penalties also featured two of the best goals of the tournament.

In fact Kyilan Mbappe's astounding volley from the edge of the box is also our  favourite goal of the tournament, and it is arguably the best individual goal ever scored in a World Cup final. Thinking back on famous World Cup final goals, there's the one Brazil scored in 1970, with the captain Carlos Alberto finishing off a sweeping team move after being laid on by Pele. But nothing like the individual skill and execution it took, in that moment with so much riding on it, for Mbappe's second.

Mbappe is a player who seems to have made a habit of being mentioned in the same breath as Pele, ever since he broke through in Russia 2018 to become the first teenager since the great Brazilian to score in the knockout stages of the World Cup, including the final.

And we have his stupendous equaliser against Argentina on Sunday down as the best individual goal in a World Cup final since Pele's strike in 1958 against hosts Sweden, that Brazil won 5-2 to win their first World Cup. In that game, Brazil were already up 2-1 when Pele receives a ball in the box, outrageously flicks it over the defender marking him and volleys home.

So with Mbappe a clear number one, here are the other goals we really loved from this year's edition. In choosing them, we valued the moment, the importance of the goal in the overall context of the match as much as the execution, so you won't find goals like, say, the one South Korea scored at 4-0 down v Brazil on this list. They are in no particular order though.

2. Angel Di Maria in the Final: A rapier-like counterattack involving 5 players starting with right back Nahuel Molina, with only Lionel Messi in the middle of the move taking two touches. Everyone else takes just one touch, although Alexis MacAllister is involved at the start and then continues his run to provide the assist as well, that Di Maria sweeps home coming in from the left.

3. Aurelien Tchouameni (France) v England. THAT shot. The way he just hooked it dismissively into the corner of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance. It was almost disdainful.

4. Enzo Fernandez (Argentina) v Mexico: The game (and Argentina's comeback in the tournament) wasn't in the bag yet despite Messi's opener, when the Young Player of the Tournament showed some neat footwork to create a bit of space before unleashing a superb shot beyond the keeper at the far post.

5. Neymar (Brazil) v Croatia: It's a couple of quick one-twos with Rodrygo and Paqueta that Neymar uses to get behind the defence, before rounding the keeper and finishing emphatically. Massive goal for Brazil in that moment, though ultimately futile. People talk about Richarlison's goal against Serbia, but frankly that's not such a great goal, because he takes the first touch inadvertently and then has to make up for it with that athletic finish. It's not all the shakes it created early on in the tournament.

6. The Dutch free kick v Argentina, scored by Weghorst. To try that in that moment, literally the last kick of the game, and pull it off. Stunning.

7. Luis Chavez (Mexico) v Saudi Arabia. There weren't many direct freekicks scored in the tournament (in fact just two), but this was certainly the best. In the middle of a pulsating clash for qualification to the round of 16. It was timed by FIFA at 75mph. Unfortunately it didn't ultimately help them qualify.

8. Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) v Argentina: Speaking of Saudi Arabia, how can we leave out Al Dawsari's winner against the eventual champions, the goal that very nearly upended the entire script? A screamer to decide a game that will go down as the mother of all upsets.

9. Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal) v Switzerland. The first strike in what was a sumptuous hattrick. How about that for announcing you can take on the mantle replacing the best footballer in your country's history! Some may have gripes about the keeper being beaten at his near post, but it was into the roof as well. Unstoppable.

10. Gavi (Spain) v Costa Rica: Okay it was at three or four-nil up and the game was already won, but it was only their first game, the teams were still announcing themselves, and that technique is to die for, the way Gavi just floats in and guides the volley home. Meant every bit of it.

There were 172 goals at this World Cup - the highest ever (don't be misled though, it's only since 1998 that we've had as many matches with the expansion to 32 teams). It beat the 171 goals in France '98. The 1954 version in Switzerland still has the most goals per game.