1. Ahmed Musa vs Iceland
After an impotent performance against Croatia and more of the same in the first half against Iceland, Nigeria broke away from the crippling lethargy that Iceland can inflict. Musa’s first touch to pluck the cross from Victor Moses away from the defending Ragnar Sigurdsson was matched by his sweet finish on the half volley and was well decorated by the bold kit in which it was scored.
2. Kevin De Bruyne vs Brazil
De Bruyne showed throughout last season that can hit a ball so cleanly that it barely spins. It is a sponsor’s dream as the Adidas logo is in shot throughout in the replay, ensuring the Telstar gets maximum coverage. The Brazil goalkeeper Alisson is just finishing his dive as the ball continues its journey across the netting while Romelu Lukaku watches on having finally been felled after his surging run from his own half. Every aspect of the goal was devastating but for the way the ball calmly travelled to its inevitable destination.
3. Neymar vs Mexico
Even if children across the world are being encouraged to do “the Neymar”, which mocks the histrionics of the Brazil forward, he did provide a goal that actually showed what he can be when he’s not swamped by his personal mission to be the protagonist and actually play as part of a collective. Following his tears after the Costa Rica match, Neymar surprised the Mexico defence by declining to shoot and instead changing the momentum of the play with a clever back heel before continuing his run to finish the move from Willian’s cross. A reminder that box-office quality still exists beyond the haircut and the memes.
4. Isco vs Morocco
Iniesta to Isco to Diego Costa to Iniesta to Isco and lifted into the net. This goal was Iniesta’s last tangible imprint on international football as he glided away from defenders before serving the ball for Isco to score. Spain did eventually realise Pep Guardiola’s biggest bugbear – playing a sterile possession game with no clear intention – but provided a teaser of the fast, aggressive and incisive football that had become synonymous with their most successful period. The final pass with the outside of the boot from Iniesta, with four Spanish players waiting in a neatly assembled square brought a brief image of a five-a-side match, framed by the white shirts of the Morocco players.
5. Edinson Cavani vs Portugal
The move by Cavani and Luis Suarez featured two of the best passes of the tournament before being finished off by a combination of Cavani’s shoulder, head and face. In South America, the goal was described as a “cabeza de dimple” – originating from the distinctive shape of a bottle of Dimple Whiskey that is most popular in Venezuela – as the unusual angle of the header looked as if it had taken a bounce off a rounded bottle neck instead. It epitomised the “absolute commitment” demanded by manager Oscar Tabarez and each contact with the ball made an extremely satisfying “thunk”.