“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 Tuesday’s match play:
A whopping 10 balls crossed the line on Monday with at least three goals in every match. Own goals continued to run rampant and a rare jailbreak tally helped to spring an upset. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:
June 19, 2018
No. 10 – Shinji Kagawa – Japan vs. Colombia
If this post were rating the top bookings of the day/tournament, the straight red card given to Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez would vault to the top of the countdown. Alas, this is about goals and this sixth-minute penalty kick, while significant to Japan’s upset victory, was still a penalty kick.
No. 9 – Thiago Cionek (own goal) – Senegal vs. Poland
Idrissa Gana Gueye’s rocket from outside the box got a very fortunate redirection when it caromed off Poland’s Thiago Cionek and past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. It was just another part of what wound up being a disastrous day for the FIFA No. 8 side in the world.
No. 8 – Juan Quintero – Colombia vs. Japan
From about 25 yards away, Juan Quintero tucked this low roller inside the near post to equalize with Japan. This direct kick needed goal-line technology to verify, but even watching it live, there seemed to be little doubt. Sometimes you have to show the technology to remind the world that you have it, I suppose.
No. 7 – Ahmed Fathi (own goal) – Russia vs. Egypt
Oh, look, another own goal. The most exciting play in this year’s World Cup! In defense of this marker, it was actually a good-looking goal, just incredibly unfortunate for Egypt. A cross into the box – intended for Artem Dzyuba – ricocheted off the knee of Ahmed Fathi and became Russia’s first goal of the night.
No. 6 – Artem Dzyuba – Russia vs. Egypt
The large center forward of the Russian 11 turned in a solid individual effort by chesting down a long through ball, weaving around Egyptian defender Ali Gabr and picking the top right corner for his second goal of the tournament. Had it not been the cherry-on-top third goal, it would have found a home in the day’s top five goals.
No. 5 – Mohamed Salah – Egypt vs. Russia
OK. It was a penalty, which has a big hill to climb to gain any love, but my Liverpool is showing as Mohamed Salah screamed a shot to the net for Egypt’s first goal of the tournament. While the 3-1 loss all but eliminated Egypt, Salah did post a goal in his first action after missing the opener against Uruguay.
No. 4 – Grzegorz Krychowiak – Poland vs. Senegal
This 86th-minute header deserved better, but on a flat day for Poland, all this did was cut Senegal’s lead in half with little time for Poland to do much more. Kamil Grosicki’s kick into the box located Krychowiak, who sent a bullet to the net.
No. 3 – Denis Cheryshev – Russia vs. Egypt
Blink and you’ll miss this quick-moving setup leading to Denis Cheryshev’s 59th-minute goal – one that put Russia up 2-0 and really set the wheels in motion that Russia could be a serious contender if given a favorable Round of 16 match. Mario Fernandes’ feed to Cheryshev also deserves a second look.
No. 2 – Yuya Osako – Japan vs. Colombia
This is where having 10 on the pitch – thanks to a third-minute red card – can be fatal. Or in Japan’s case, a massive blessing. A corner kick in the 73rd minute gave Japan the honor of being the first Asian side to beat a South American squad in the World Cup. Even with the advantage of playing 11-on-10 for 85-plus minutes, this still felt like a big upset.
No. 1 – M’baye Niang – Senegal vs. Poland
There’s a lot to take in on this. First M’baye Niang had just reentered the pitch after getting dinged up. Once Niang stepped back on, a sprint toward a loose ball was won by the Senegalese speedster. Then came a bit of luck as Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny didn’t present the best visual on how to play sweeper keeper. All that was left after Niang got behind Szczesny was a clear path to a 2-0 lead and another Senegal win over a highly ranked European side (See: France, 2002).