The World Cup spawns memes and national pride in equal measure. But let's be real, when you're watching men kick a ball up and down a field, you're hoping for some tantalizing goals -- the kind of screaming, top-corner thunderbolts that might cause an earthquake somewhere in Mexico.
So while your eyes might glaze over during a languid, 0-0 draw, you can always refer back here for our running list of the World Cup's best goals.
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Philippe Coutinho's Mind-Boggling Curler Against Switzerland
The Brazilian playmaker got his side off to a quick start against Switzerland with this classy, bending strike from just outside the box. Soaring over the defense and bouncing off the goal post, the shot made the Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer something of a passenger in a very cruel game.
Nacho's Thunderous Smash for Spain
Sometimes you've just got to shrug your shoulders and smash the ball like an absolute bastard. That's what the defender Nacho did in Spain's barnburner of an opener against Portugal. While the game was something of a highlight reel in itself, the Spaniard managed to float above the fray by unleashing this raging beauty of a goal, which darted through the box and smacked the left post before fizzing into the net. The only way to truly relish the glory is by watching it with Andres Cantor's commentary, which is to say: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!
Denis Cheryshev's Clinical Floater Against Saudi Arabia
The Russians made short work of a subpar Saudi Arabian team in the tournament's opening match, cruising to a 5-0 victory in front of a boisterous home crowd. Cheryshev's goal stands out as a wonder amid the flurry of attack. Frankly, the winger made it look like fun and games, deftly chipping the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net with the outside of his foot. It was a chef's kiss of a goal, and the Russian's fourth as they continued to pile it on well into stoppage time.
Kolarov's Stunning Free Kick Against Costa Rica
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas is among the world's elite, but Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick was better. The swashbuckling Serbian whacked the ball from distance for his team's opening goal in the tournament. It was one of those free kicks that seems to hang in the air for minutes, an inch-perfect strike that no goalie on Earth would ever have a chance of swatting out of harm's way.
Dries Merten's Wonder-Volley Against Panama
My goodness Belgium has a good soccer team. One third of the country's stellar attack, Dries Mertens should draw comparisons to a wizard with the volley he placed in the back of the net against Panama. The winger played a helluva game, especially in the second half, but this airborne peach was basically enough to earn all the plaudits on its own.
Harry Kane's Last Gasp Winner Against Tunisia
Look, England played like England. They could have been up 3-0 at halftime, but instead remembered the weight of history, and opted for the panic-inducing route of barely scraping a last gasp victory. Their last-minute glory is largely thanks to Harry Kane. The England captain and prolific goalscorer was uninvolved for large stretches of the match, but showed up when it counted, scoring both of the Three Lions' goals -- including the 92nd minute winner. A deftly placed header after a solid delivery from leftback Kieran Trippier, Kane kept England's chances alive, and literally ignited fire in the heart of every lager-fueled Englishman from Moscow to Yorkshire.
Irving Lozano Stuns Germany and Starts an Earthquake in Mexico
If you, as an American, aren't rooting for Mexico to defy the odds and slay more giants, there's something wrong with you. Irving Lozano propelled his team to a 1-0 victory over defending (and declining) champions Germany with a goal that literally triggered seismic activity in Mexico. It wasn't exactly a golazo, but the implications were massive, indicating that the tide is shifting away from the old guard and that more upsets might be on the horizon.
Luka Modric Helps Croatia Sink Argentina
Argentina had a bad World Cup, and Luka Modric didn't help. The Croatian midfielder was integral in his team's dismantling of Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams, and from the moment he caught a little space outside the box, the ball seemed destined to breeze past goalkeeper Willy Caballero. The game ended 3-0 in favor of the Croatians, and Messi cut a defeated figure well before the final whistle sealed his team's fate.
Christian Eriksen's Finish Against Australia
Christian Eriksen knows how to finish, and his goal against Australia shows why he's occasionally coveted among Europe's most elite clubs. Basically, it was a perfect climax to some intricate build-up play, and Eriksen crushed the half-volley into the roof of the goal, past the Aussie goalie Matt Ryan for the game's opener.
Jesse Lingard's Screamer VS Panama
England absolutely routed Panama, cruising to a 6-1 victory. Jesse Lingard's goal put a few exclamation points on an already raucous celebration. The goal was straight highlight reel fodder, darting into the area with the flair and style. Panama certainly received no breaks during their first World Cup, and Lingard's finish was just one emphatic strike in a game full of goals.
Radamel Falcao's Outside Footed Shot Against Poland
Radamel Falcao's career has been prone to ups and downs, but the Colombian striker has resumed the goal scoring form that long boosted his reputation as one of the most prolific in Europe. Here, he slots home a side-footed shot with requisite ease against Poland's Wojciech Szczęsny, and makes it look pretty.
Juan Cuadrado Finishes Off James Rodriguez' Savage Pass
Cuadrado did well here, but James Rodriguez did better. James likely had to tap into some kind of supernatural telepathy to find his teammate running through the middle of the park. The ball's arch was perfect, and Cuadrado sealed the goal for Colombia's third against Poland.
Luis Suarez' Free Kick VS Russia
Give Luis Suarez an inch of space and suffer the consequences. Russia finally met a decent side when they squared off against Uruguay, and Suarez managed to dash any hopes of the home side continuing their unbeaten run. His free kick was a lightning rod that no one had a chance of stopping as Uruguay trounced Russia 3-0.
Find out where to watch the World Cup games with all the soccer fans in your city with our list of the best World Cup bars in NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, DC, Miami, Houston and more.
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