“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:
A dozen goals punched Monday’s card with some incredible drama in Group B closing the day. Will a penalty kick actually crack the top half of the ranking? As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:
June 25, 2018
No. 12 – Salman Al Faraj – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt
This VAR-assisted ditty came during first-half stoppage time when Salman Al Faraj was taken down in the 18. The Saudi Arabian midfielder took advantage of the penalty kick ruling with an equalizer that gave Saudi Arabia its first goal of the tournament.
No. 11 – Khalid Boutaib – Morocco vs. Spain
A long run and an uncontested strike led to Morocco’s first goal in a very heated upset bid against Spain.n Better goals from this match are still to come.
No. 10 – Edinson Cavani – Uruguay vs. Russia
When Diego Godin’s initial header attempt off a corner kick was halted, Edinson Cavani was there to scoop up the rebound and net Uruguay’s third goal of the day, in the 90th minute against the host squad.
No. 9 – Denis Cheryshev (own goal) – Uruguay vs. Russia
Denis Cheryshev found the net again, but this one wasn’t exactly helpful to the Russian cause. The set-piece sequence that led to this goal wrapped up when Diego Laxalt sent a boomer of Cheryshev’s leg that redirected into the Russian net, giving Uruguay a 2-0 lead at that point.
No. 8 – Isco – Spain vs Morocco
While the world still waits for Spain to figure it out, Isco’s close-range finish off Andres Iniesta’s backdoor pass certainly made it look like Spain was about to overwhelm Morocco. Oh, how wrong we were.
No. 7 – Mohamed Salah – Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia
Just a little flick of the toe from Mohamed Salah after controlling this long through ball gave Egypt its first lead of the World Cup. Racing between two defenders and encountering a goalkeeper playing a little bit forward, Salah bumped this ball with just enough arc to get over what it needed to and into the net.
No. 6 – Salem Aldawsari – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt
This was a nice little segment of teamwork leading to a game-winning goal in a match that only meant that someone might leave Russia with a win. The flip afterward was also sharp.
No. 5 – Luis Suarez – Uruguay vs. Russia
It was at this very moment that Uruguay had clinched Group A. Luis Suarez, who has been relatively tame this tourney, struck this free kick as the wall on his right shifted. The only thing stopping this strike was the net.
No. 4 – Youssef En-Nesyri – Morocco vs. Spain
This header off a set piece triggered a two-game rampage of incredible chaos to close out happenings in Group B, where the only known end was that Morocco could only play spoiler. The 21-year-old’s 81st-minute goal gave Morocco a 2-1 lead and let the world imagine the unreal amounts of chaos that were to follow.
No. 3 – Ricardo Quaresma – Portugal vs. Iran
This was a banger. Glory be to the boot that scores Portugal’s first goal not tallied by Cristiano Ronaldo. With Group B still wide open, this looked like it was going to hold Portugal’s claim to the top spot with Iberian rival Spain locked in a struggle with Morocco, but …
No. 2 – Karim Ansarifard – Iran vs. Portugal
A hand ball in the 18 granted this penalty to Iran, taken by Karim Ansarifard. This top-corner screamer knotted the match and set up a finish where Iran alllllllllllmost got a second goal, the Group B crown and a spot in the Round of 16. Alas, a draw and elimination was awaiting Iran as Portugal held on to the second advancement from the group.
No. 1 – Iago Aspas – Spain vs. Morocco
So, VAR had to verify that Iago Aspas was not offside before granting this incredibly important equalizer. The back-heel deflection forged a draw for Spain and by virtue of having scored more goals than Portugal, which also finished with five points in Group B, gave Spain the top spot in the group.