“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:
The first day of knockouts gave us some doozies. But there was one that outdoozied everything that the tournament has given us so far. If you saw Saturday’s action, you know what that goal is. If not, keep on reading. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:
June 30, 2018
No. 10 – Antoine Griezmann – France vs. Argentina
Kylian Mbappe should get credit for Antoine Griezmann’s penalty strike. Mbappe’s unofficial third goal was set up as he was dragged down in the 18. Griezmann soon gave France a 1-0 lead with a sizzler from the spot.
No. 9 – Sergio Aguero – Argentina vs. France
This goal, while kind of pleasing to the eyes (and to the heart of this disappointed Argentina supporter). Lionel Messi sent in this feed from about Siberia right to Sergio Aguero’s forehead. It cut the French lead to a goal, but Argentina could never equal.
No. 8 – Angel Di Maria – Argentina vs. France
This leveler from late in the first half came with an extra dose of mustard as Angel Di Maria loaded up this strike from about 30 yards away. A swift little sweeper that arced to the high right corner to erase France’s early 1-0 lead.
No. 7 – Kylian Mbappe (2) – France vs. Argentina
He’s 19. Nineteen. Nine-freaking-teen. If you weren’t aware of Kylian Mbappe before the World Cup, or even Saturday. Consider this a primer.
No. 6 – Gabriel Mercado – Argentina vs. France
Had things gone a bit better for Argentina on Saturday, this goal would have challenged for the top spot. As it stood, this led to France’s reply of three straight goals to bury any Argentinian hopes of glory. Gabriel Mercado’s slick little flick of Lionel Messi’s initial try redirected the ball just enough to give Argentina a short-lived 2-1 lead. Those were happy minutes.
No. 5 – Pepe – Portugal vs. Uruguay
Headers off set pieces are never not fun. Pepe continues the fun with this boink shot from above, though considering that it’s Pepe, it is concerning that he didn’t collapse to the ground and try to buy a yellow card against the ball.
No. 4 – Edinson Cavani (1) – Uruguay vs. Portugal
The fact that this goal is No. 4 on the list gives you an indicator of how sexy Saturday’s goals were. The long cross from Luis Suarez finds Edinson Cavani in the perfect location to head the ball into the net. When that front line is clicking …
No. 3 – Kylian Mbappe (1) – France vs. Argentina
So, Kylian Mbappe is 19. Imagine being this good at anything at age 19 that you’re able to embarrass world-class athletes by just being you. That’s the life of Kylian Mbappe.
No. 2 – Edinson Cavani (2) – Uruguay vs. Portugal
This one-touch ditty ultimately put Uruguay through into the quarterfinals, and it was sharp. Coming off a counter, Edinson Cavani corralled a pass in the 18 and curled it past Portugal’s Rui Patricio during the 62nd minute.
No. 1 – Benjamin Pavard – France vs. Argentina
Watching this in real speed from the broadcast angle, you don’t quite get the appreciation for the magic of this Benjamin Pavard goal. Then you get the replay and a slower frame rate. This was a wondergoal. A golazo. Probably the prettiest strike of the tournament so far. Though speaking as a supporter of Argentina, this will be playing in a loop in my continuous reel of Argentinian World Cup failures.