Ranking World Cup goals: June 18, 2018

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“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Monday’s match play:

Seven balls found the net on Monday with two players posting two goals apiece. Without the second goal from one particular scorer, we missed the possibility of Peak England in the Three Lions’ first outing of the tournament. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 18, 2018

No. 6 (tie) – Andreas Granqvist – Sweden vs. South Korea

Yawn. It was a penalty kick that eventually landed three points for Sweden, but it was still a penalty in the 65th minute of a match that was controlled by Sweden.

No. 6 (tie) – Ferjani Sassi – Tunisia vs. England

Yawn. Another penalty kick. This one at least made England sweat a bit as the Tunisians battled with England throughout the second half of this Group G contest.

No. 5 – Dries Mertens – Belgium vs. Panama

After the Belgians played most of the first half with the strategy of asking politely for a Panamanian mistake, this clearing volley by Panama found its way to Dries Mertens in the 18, where this arcing strike gave the No. 3-ranked side in the world the first of three second-half goals to eventually bury Panama.   

No. 4 – Romelu Lukaku (1) – Belgium vs. Panama

When you’re fortunate enough to have a forward with Romelu Lukaku’s gifts, you use those gifts to your advantage. This goal – the first “nice minute” goal of the tournament – happened thanks to a skillful cross from Keven De Bruyne. Once Lukaku was in a position to receive, the goal was inevitable.

No. 3 – Harry Kane (1) – England vs. Tunisia

Harry Kane has finally scored for England in a major tournament. The corner kick initially was struck by John Stones’ header. While that was capably punched away by Tunisia’s Mouez Hassen, Kane was waiting on the doorstep to flick the rebound into the yawning net. You can almost see a slight amount of the weight that Kane carries on his back slide off when that ball crossed the line.

No. 2 – Romelu Lukaku (2) — Belgium vs. Panama

The set-up was prettier than the actual goal, and all the set-up showed was Belgium’s counterattack sprinting a defeated Panama into submission. The Belgians sealed three points as soon as Romelu Lukaku took a feed from Eden Hazard’s romp through the Panamanian defense. Lukaku’s goal, while efficient, wasn’t as pretty as the run leading to it.

No. 1 – Harry Kane (2) – England vs. Tunisia

Had this stoppage-time whiplash header happened in a knockout-stage match, Harry Kane would have a goal named after him that English schoolchildren would try to reenact for decades to come. As it stood, it stole a result from a spunky Tunisian side while helping England avoid an embarrassing draw.

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