Ranking World Cup goals: June 23, 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 Saturday’s match play:

What we learned Saturday is that Belgium can score in clusters, Mexico can score more than once and that Germany – for all its steely precision – can generate the most emotional goal of the tournament so far. Saturday gave us 13 goals, at the behest of The Bat Flip’s one-man ranking committee. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:

June 23, 2018

No. 13 – Eden Hazard (1) – Belgium vs. Tunisia

Don’t worry. Eden Hazard makes an appearance later in the countdown. This was a penalty kick. Nothing to really see here.

No. 12 – Carlos Vela – Mexico vs. South Korea

This is exciting only for the really enthused call from Telemundo.

No. 11 – Dylan Bronn – Tunisia vs. Belgium

Off a set piece from about 25 yards away, Dylan Bronn headed in this Wahbi Khazri bender to give Tunisia the slightest amount of hope against the Belgium adding machine. That hope wouldn’t last too long, as one would expect.

No. 10 – Ola Toivonen – Sweden vs. Germany

This lobbing flick deserved a lot higher than No. 10, especially when Sweden was wearing these absolutely amazing blue kits. Sweden alllllllllllllllmost stole a point from Germany, which could have put the Germans into a huge bind heading into Matchday 3. Alas, as you’ll see later in the countdown, it wasn’t meant to be.

No. 9 – Wahbi Khazri – Tunisia vs. Belgium

This goal had zero meaning in the grand scheme of things, but it meant the world to Wahbi Khazri. But after Khazri found the net, he rushed inside to retrieve the ball for a keepsake that might be the most meaningful of his international career.

No. 8 – Romelu Lukaku (1) – Belgium vs. Tunisia

Romelu Lukaku will not be happy until he puts a ball in every soccer net in the world. His third goal of this World Cup saw him running alongside Dries Mertens, who sent a pass where only Lukaku could steady the ball before ripping a shot into the far corner.

No. 7 – Marco Reus – Germany vs. Sweden

This goal was inevitable. There was no way that Germany – the current holder of the World Cup – was getting blanked in back-to-back games. Timo Werner crossed the ball after stepping into the 18. Mario Gomez flicked it upward. Marco Reus finished with a redirection. This is the Germany that world knows.

No. 6 – Chicharito – Mexico vs. South Korea

OK, so this goal wound up at No. 6. Watch this. THIS goal was No. 6 on the day. That’s how great the top five are. Javier Hernandez – or Chicharito as he is known – located the net when Hirving Lozano ended a long-running build-up with a pass to Chicharito. All the Mexican forward had to do was juke South Korea’s Jang Hyunsoo and push the ball netward.

No. 5 – Eden Hazard (2) – Belgium vs. Tunisia

The long through to Eden Hazard led to a bit of an undressing as Hazard played a ball to himself over Tunisian keeper Ben Mustapha. After that, Hazard was able to poke the ball into a very open net as Mustapha could only watch and react in exasperation.

No. 4 – Michy Batshuayi – Belgium vs. Tunisia

This sliding strike from Michy Batshuayi was visually pleasing as the perfectly timed boot found the side of the net, giving Belgium its fifth goal of the day. Batshuayi had tried earlier in the match to get his goal. This sequence got it for him.

No. 3 – Romelu Lukaku (2) – Belgium vs. Tunisia

The finish was delightful. The build-up was crisp. This was the exact moment when the world realized that Belgium wasn’t sleepwalking through this match. The feed from Thomas Meunier from just atop the 18 located Romelu Lukaku, who chipped the ball over a sliding Ben Mustapha.

No. 2 – Heungmin Son – South Korea vs. Mexico

Bask in the glowing vapor trail left behind by this Heungmin Son strike in stoppage time. All it accomplished on the sheet was that it cut Mexico’s lead in half while finding a spot that even Guillermo Ochoa couldn’t reach.

No. 1 – Toni Kroos – Germany vs. Sweden

About as late into stoppage time as one can get, Toni Kroos gave three points to Germany as it entered the second half on the verge of elimination. Kroos chose to bump his free kick try to Marco Reus, who stopped the ball just as Kroos began his swing and parked a shot past Sweden’s Robin Olsen. Sweden deserved better. This goal might wind up being the most important goal in Germany’s campaign to repeat as World Cup champion.

World Cupdate: Kroos Saves Germany

Via SquawkaNews

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: Saturday, June 23rd

One favorite cruises while another escapes to save their dreams of another title on a wild day at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Belgium impressed for a second straight match, easily dispatching Tunisia to put a foot in the Round of 16. Mexico followed suit with a commanding performance and three points over South Korea. The final match of the day was by far the most dramatic as Germany kept their repeat bid alive with a last second goal to claim all three points.

Catch up on any and all of the drama you may have missed with this Sunday edition of our World Cupdate.

Belgium 5-2 Tunisia

Of all the pre-tournament favorites to win the World Cup, Belgium have been far and away the most impressive through two group stage matches. Another three goal victory on Saturday all but sealed Belgium’s spot in the Round of 16 and in reality, the top overall spot in Group G. Tunisia’s fate is also likely sealed as they will be eliminated from overall contention unless Panama can upset England tomorrow.

Two goals from Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were more than enough to lift the Belgians to 5-2 victory as Lukaku moves into a tie with Cristiano Ronaldo atop the Golden Boot standings. Assuming England takes care of business against Panama, the two sides will play a winner take all Group G showdown on Thursday.


  • Eden Hazard | BEL (6′ PEN, 51′)
  • Romelu Lukaku | BEL (16′, 45’+3′)
  • Dylan Bronn | TUN (18′)
  • Michy Batshuayi | BEL (90′)
  • Wahbi Khazri | TUN (90’+3′)


Korea Republic 1-2 Mexico

Coming off an emotional win over Germany in their first match, there were some concerns Mexico may struggle against South Korea. Those fears were quickly erased when Mexico came storming out of gates and took the first half lead courtesy a penalty kick from Carlos Vela. Mexico doubled their advantage on a counter attacking goal by Javier Hernandez that effectively sealed the three points for El Tri. South Korea pulled one back late off a belter from Son Heung-Min but it was not enough.

Mexico fans can now breathe a little easier with six out of a possible six points in the bag and a solid shot at winning Group F. South Korea on the other hand sits on the brink of elimination with no points through two games.


  • Carlos Vela | MEX (26′ PEN)
  • Javier Herdández | MEX (66′)
  • Son Heung-Min | KOR (90’+3′)


Germany 2-1 Sweden

After 45 minutes, Germany were on track to be out of the World Cup, trailing Sweden 1-0.

After 90 minutes, Germany found an equalizer but were down a man, its World Cup hopes barely alive.

After 95 minutes, the final whistle blew and the defending champions had new life following a 2-1 stoppage time victory.

In the dying moments, Sweden committed a foul just outside the penalty area. Toni Kroos lined up his shot and blistered it into the back of the net in the final minute of injury time. Ten minutes earlier, centre-back Jerome Boateng was sent off with his second yellow card of the match, relegating his side to only ten men for the final 10+ minutes.

Germany never stopped pushing for a winner at played their best football down a man. Kroos capitalized on a Sweden mistake and breathed new life into Germany’s hopes of a repeat title. Group F will be decided on Wednesday.


  • Ola Toivonen | SWE (32′)
  • Marco Reus | GER (48′)
  • Toni Kroos | GER (90’+5′)


Saturday’s results, especially in Group F, set the table for a spectacular final set of matches next week to determine who moves on and who goes home.

Goals of the Day

Two screamers in injury time top our list along with a Golden Boot tying chip from a history making Belgian striker. Our daily top three goals are below.

Toni Kroos (Germany)

When his side needed it most, Toni Kroos created a moment of brilliance deep into stoppage time to save Germany’s hopes for a repeat World Cup championship. Taking a free kick off a Sweden foul, Kroos launched a rocket into the far corner to claim all three points.

Son Heung-Min (South Korea)

Our second injury time stunner of the day comes courtesy of Son Heung-Min of South Korea. Though not as consequential as the Kroos goal above, Son gave his side a glimmer of hope in the dying minutes with this bender past Guillermo Ochoa.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

The opening match of the day gave us seven goals but only Romelu Lukaku’s second of the match was good enough to make our daily list. A cheeky chip over the sliding goalkeeper from in close was enough to put Belgium in front for good.

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

Group Update

Mexico was on the verge of advancing to the Round of 16 before Germany’s late game winner means they’ll have to wait until Wednesday to officially move on though they remain in great position to do so.

Belgium knows at worst, they’ll have a winner take all match to claim Group G on the final match-day next week. Depending how England fares on Sunday, The Red Devils may only need a draw to win the group outright thanks to their sizable goal differential.

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 4.12.19 PM

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: Sunday, June 24th

The final round of matches for Match-day 2 of the group stage is upon us and many questions will be answered once the final whistle blows in each one. England can book a spot in the Round of 16 with a victory while two underdogs in Group H will do battle for a leg up heading into the final match-day next week.

England v. Panama (Group G)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 8:00 AM
  • Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Keeping pace with Belgium and setting up a winner take all final group match will be a top concern for England as they prepare to take on Panama. A win for The Three Lions will bring them level on points and book them a spot in the Round of 16 with a match to go. Panama will enter the game as huge underdogs but in a World Cup of upsets, anything can happen.

Japan v. Senegal (Group H)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 11:00 AM
  • Location: Ekaterinburg Arena (Ekaterinburg)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Both surprise winners from the opening round of group play, Japan and Senegal will now battle for Group H supremacy in their second round matchup. If one side can snag all three points they will be a prime position to advance to the Round of 16.

Poland v. Colombia (Group H)

Via @AFP
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Now that Germany has life, the spotlight shifts focus to Poland and Colombia to save their World Cup dreams. Both sitting on zero points after their first match, a win will be crucial while a loss may be enough to send one team crashing out of Russia.

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 2018-06-23 at 4.25.00 PM.png
Via @beIN Sports

For the first time, Cristiano Ronaldo has company atop the Golden Boot Standings. Becoming the first player with consecutive multiple goal games at a World Cup since Diego Maradona in 1986, Romelu Lukaku joins Ronaldo on top with four goals a piece through two matches.

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.