“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 Sunday’s match play:
Low on goals and high on drama. That’s how we’ll remember Sunday’s goals. Both matches were decided on penalties, which is like breaking a tie in American football with oldschool point-after distance field goals (20, not 33). Four goals scored during the 240 minutes of live action. Another two that were “deciding” goals in penalties. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …:
July 1, 2018
Unranked – Russia def. Spain 4-3 in penalties; Croatia def. Denmark 3-2 in penalties
Drama? Sure. Special acts of scoring? Not so much. Lots of balls in the net, though. The more remarkable feats are in the actual saves.
No. 4 – Sergei Ignashevich (own goal) – Spain vs. Russia
With more than a few Russian doubters waiting for the carriage to turn into a pumpkin, this own goal from Sergei Ignashevich looked to be a clock-striking-midnight moment. Oh, how wrong we were. A free kick from beside the 18 deflected off Ignashevich’s as he dove and into the net. Spain for all its ball possession and statistical dominance couldn’t ever add to the ledger after this gift.
No. 3 – Mathias Jorgensen – Denmark vs. Croatia
This first-minute firecracker deserved better than to be erased a few minutes later and ultimately be Denmark’s last salvo in this World Cup. Thomas Delaney controlled a long throw-in before nudging the ball to Mathias Jorgensen, who squirted the ball into the net and gave the Danes a lightning-fast 1-0 lead.
No. 2 – Artem Dzyuba – Russia vs. Spain
OK, this was a penalty. So no skill or set-up involved. This was all about what created the penalty. Gerard Pique’s unfortunate lack of awareness got him slapped with a handball foul and put the ball on the spot for Artem Dzyuba, who equalized with your standard penalty-kick marker.
No. 1 – Mario Mandzukic – Croatia vs. Denmark
This might be the weakest No. 1 of the tournament, thus far. But it proved to be huge. It ended all live-action scoring for the day with ~115 minutes of action still to go. A bit of disorganization by Denmark while clearing the ball away put the ball on Mario Mandzukic’s boot, which led to an equalizer in the fourth minute.