Ranking World Cup goals: June 21 and June 22, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“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 Friday’s match play:

All but one of Friday’s seven goals came in the second half of whatever game was being contested. Some even waited until the 90th minute (or beyond) to locate their glory. Drama is fun. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 22, 2018

No. 7 – Alexsander Mitrovic – Serbia vs. Switzerland

This was Friday’s only first-half goal, and it carried the lowest impact of anything on Friday. It’s kind of a shame, because the turning header in the fifth minute of Serbia’s eventual 2-1 loss to Switzerland was visually pleasing enough. But style only gets you so far some days. 

No. 6 – Granit Xhaka – Switzerland vs. Serbia

After Xherdan Shakiri’s initial try was blocked halfway to Finland, Granit Xhaka coolly strode up to this loose ball and fired a screamer by Vladimir Stojkovic. It was the second Swiss equalizer in two matches and it set up the scene for the day’s eventual No. 1 goal. 

No. 5 – Philippe Coutinho – Brazil vs. Costa Rica

It took more than 90 minutes for Brazil to crack a valiant Costa Rica side, but the inevitable happened as Brazil created some chaos in the 18 with Philippe Coutinho finishing with a capable shot from close range. Nowhere near as pretty as his marker on Sunday, but few goals in this tournament have been.

No. 4 – Neymar Jr. – Brazil vs. Costa Rica

This little flick-job was a cherry on top, and a potential goal-differential helper for Brazil. In the seventh minute of stoppage time – a period that started with both teams staring at a zero on the board. With Costa Rica feeling a touch demoralized, Douglas Costa worked with the ball in the 18 before a short cross to Neymar. All Neymar needed to do was guide the ball into a yawning net.

No. 3 – Ahmed Musa (2) – Nigeria vs. Iceland

This was an EA Sports “FIFA” goal. The ability of Ahmed Must to switch directions multiple times before sending a ball into a gaping net wrapped up a win for Nigeria against a very game Iceland side.  A result against reeling Argentina and Nigeria is through to the knockouts, pending some sort of epic blowout win by Iceland.

No. 2 – Ahmed Musa (1) – Nigeria vs. Iceland

The coordination to pull off such a goal is well beyond the capability of anyone on staff at The Bat Flip. But Ahmed Musa’s first-touch from a Victor Moses cross in the 18 to control against Iceland was so skilled … Like … Just watch it.

No. 1 – Xherdan Shaqiri – Switzerland vs. Serbia

So, Xherdan Shaqiri takes control at midfield. Sprints far enough to elude Serbia’s Dusko Tosic and send a ball by Vladimir Stojkovic. Shaqiri then commemorated the goal by going full Brandi Chastain in celebration. Those three points are worth the discarded jersey if you’re a Switzerland backer, I suppose.

Blogger’s note: Dealing with a recently spayed kitten turned out to be a tremendous drain of time and focus. While a day late, revel in the ranking of Thursday’s goals.  

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

So, not the most amazing day for the non-U.S. favorite side of this blogger, which verifies that soccer is pain. This isn’t ranking a writer’s pain, though. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 20, 2018

No. 6 – Mile Jedinak – Australia vs. Denmark

This goal allowed Australia to snag a point in a way that doesn’t exactly whelm. Mile Jedinak sends a shot to the left of Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichelm, and with it … The Socceroos won’t go home without zero points, with a possibility of advancing with a win against Peru and if things go down under for Denmark against France on Match Day 3.

No. 5 – Ivan Rakitic – Croatia vs. Argentina

Had the Argentinians not totally given up on this effort, Ivan Rakitic’s running attack and initial shot that set up a rebound to Luka Modric, who shook Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero from his boots before flicking the ball to Rakitic. The goal was academic.

No. 4 – Christian Eriksen – Denmark vs. Australia

A little first-touch wizardry for Denmark’s Christian Eriksen was only superseded by the setup from Nicolai Jorgensen, who controlled the ball in the 18 with a deft juggle and a perfect pass to the left foot of Eriksen.

No. 3 – Luka Modric – Croatia vs. Argentina

A little crossover, a lot of mustard and juuuuuuust enough bend. That’s Luka Modric’s recipe on this netfinder, one that assured Croatia a spot in the knockout stages while severely jeopardizing any advancement from Argentina. 

No. 2 – Kylian Mbappe – France vs. Peru

The end result was a goal-line tap-in by Kylian Mbappe. The play before it came when Paul Pogba won possession. moving the ball to Oliver Giroud led to a shot deflection that fell right in front of a charging Mbappe. The rest was three points for France.

No. 1 – Ante Rebic – Croatia vs. Argentina

Life is pain. This became apparent when Ante Rebic scored one of the easiest goals you’ll ever see on the world stage. This is almost akin to the easy-goal glitch on EA Sports’ “FIFA International Soccer” where a player could set an attacked right in front of a goalkeeper when he’d try to clear, only to block the kick and tap in an easy goal. As goals go, Wilfredo Caballero won’t allow many worse than this.

World Cupdate: Leaving it Late

Via @FIFAWorldCup

Welcome to your daily 2018 FIFA World Cup update, or World Cupdate, where we recap the past day’s proceedings from Russia while previewing what is still to come. These features will run every morning throughout the duration of the tournament and feature highlights, major news, and much more from Russia.

Here’s What Happened: Friday, June 22nd

If Friday is any indication then we are in for a thrilling weekend of football at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Late winners from Brazil and Switzerland set up a wild final day in Group E while Nigeria throws a lifeline to Argentina with a convincing victory over Iceland in Group D.

Here’s to hoping Saturday and Sunday can live up to the excitement brought to us by Friday’s matches. Let’s us recap all the action for you.

Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica

For 90 minutes, it appeared Brazil was destined for their second straight disappointing draw at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A result that would have placed them in a precarious position heading into the final group stage match. Luckily for Brazil, their stars finally showed up when they needed them most.

Two goals in injury time from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar give Brazil a much needed victory and all three points against Costa Rica. The 2-0 result also gives Brazil a slight tie-breaker advantage in goal differential if it comes down to that.

With the loss, Costa Rica have been eliminated from World Cup contention.


  • Philippe Coutinho | BRA (90’+1′)
  • Neymar | BRA (90’+7′)


Nigeria 2-0 Iceland

Taking the field in their spectacular home kits, Nigeria knew they needed a result against Iceland to remain alive. They got that and more courtesy a 2-0 victory over their scrappy opponent. The teams battled to a goalless draw after 45 minutes but new Nigerian hero Ahmed Musa scored a brace in the second half to give his Super Eagles a much needed three points.

With the victory, Nigeria now sit second in Group D where they will have everything to play for against Argentina next week. A win or draw will see them through while a loss will spell an end to their time in Russia. Iceland ares still in contention as well, but they will need all three points against Croatia in their final group match.

Nigeria’s win also came with a bit of history. The victory makes Nigeria the winningest African nation ever at a FIFA World Cup tournament.


  • Ahmed Musa | NGA (49′, 75′)


Serbia 1-2 Switzerland

After the first half of play, Serbia led 1-0 and could taste a spot in the Round of 16 but everything fell apart for them in the second half against Switzerland. A laser beam from distance off the foot of Granit Xhaka brought the Swiss level in the 52nd minute. Nothing much happened for the next 40 minutes until Xherdan Shaqiri was sent free behind the Serbian defense where he finished neatly to push his side ahead 2-1 in the 90th minute.

With a big three points in the bag, Switzerland are in a prime spot to advance to the Round of 16. Any result over Costa Rica will put the Swiss into the next round. A win coupled with a Brazil loss or draw means Switzerland wins Group E.


  • Aleksandar Mitrovic | SRB (5′)
  • Granit Xhaka | SUI (52′)
  • Xherdan Shaqiri | SUI (90′)


After two rounds of group play in Group D and Group E, the picture is starting to become clear. Croatia is already through in Group D but the remaining three teams all have a shot at advancing still. Group E is tight at the top where both advancement spots will come down to the final match-day on Wednesday.

Goals of the Day

Some big names got on the score sheet for Brazil today but they weren’t good enough to make our list. A half-volley, an absolute firecracker, and a brilliant run make up today’s best goals from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Ahmed Musa (Nigeria)

Ahmed Musa writes his name into Nigerian football lore with a double against Iceland but its his first goal that stole the show. An incredible first touch to control the pass coupled with his brilliant strike on the half-volley put it right up there for Goal of the Tournament.

Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)

Sometimes, rather than try something fancy your best option is to just let it fly and that’s the approach Granit Xhaka took when scoring this goal. Off a blocked shot from close range, Xhaka teed up the loose ball and crushed it past a helpless goalkeeper to bring Switzerland level.

Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)

Few players in the world right now fly any farther under the radar than Xherdan Shaqiri. A Premier League mainstay for many seasons now, Shaqiri is looking for a move to a bigger club in England and goals like this are why we will be a hot commodity this summer.

Check back tomorrow for more great goals from the 2018 World Cup.

Group Update

Argentina is thrown a lifeline thanks to Nigeria’s win over Iceland but they still need results to break their way to advance. Brazil and Switzerland both win on Friday to put themselves in qualifying position with one group stage match to go.

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 4.22.05 PM.png

Who is Moving on, Who is Going Home

As groups move through their second round of matches, the knockout bracket is starting to take shape. Here are the teams that have qualified for the Round of 16 and the teams that will be heading home.

Moving On

Group A: Russia and Egypt (seeding still TBD)

Group C: France

Group D: Croatia

Going Home

Group A: Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Group B: Morocco

Group C: Peru

Group E: Costa Rica

Here’s What’s Next: Saturday, June 23rd

Saturday rings in our second weekend of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and each games features the opportunity for a team to book a spot in the Round of 16. Belgium, Mexico, and Sweden can all advance with wins against their respective opponents.

We are now in the final days of the second round of group play and the stakes are get higher with every passing game. Don’t miss a minute of the action.

Belgium v. Tunisia (Group G)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 8:00 AM
  • Location: Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Coming off a 3-0 beatdown of Panama last week, Belgium can book a spot in the Round of 16 with another three points against Tunisia in their second group match. Tunisia came agonizingly close to stealing a point against England but were done in by an injury time goal. They will need at least a draw to keep their knockout hopes alive.

Korea Republic v. Mexico (Group F)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 11:00 AM
  • Location: Rostov Arena (Rostov-On-Don)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Mexico needs four points from its last two group matches to win Group F and avoid a potential matchup with Brazil in the Round of 16. Their journey begins today against South Korea, where they will be favored it win outright. If South Korea hopes to advance, they will need a draw at worst to stay alive. A loss would see them crash out of the tournament early.

Germany v. Sweden (Group F)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
  • How to Watch: FOX

The scenarios are pretty cut and dry for defending champions Germany as they enter their second group stage match against Sweden. Win to keep your hopes alive or lose and see your tournament come to an end early. Sweden are already sitting on three points but an upset over Germany propels them into the Round of 16.

You can watch all these games live on the channels listed or streaming online at FoxSports.com with a cable sign in.

If highlights are more your style, check out @FOXSoccer on Twitter where goals and game recaps are posted throughout the day.

All game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time

Golden Boot Standings

The Golden Boot Award goes to the stop goal scorer at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 4.33.57 PM.png
Via beIN Sports

Philippe Coutinho and Ahmed Musa crack their way into the top 10 but the leaders all remain the same. Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane will try and add to their total this weekend.

Keep up to date on everything World Cup right here on “The Bat Flip” where we will be posting our daily World Cupdate to recap what went on and preview what’s still to come in Russia.