The Top 5 World Cup Opening Game Goals

We’re now just eight days away from hosts Brazil kicking off the 2014 World Cup against Croatia in Sao Paulo.

Four years ago, South Africa’s No. 8 Siphiwe Tshabalala lit the blue touch paper on the 2010 tournament with his stunning strike in the opening game of the tournament against Mexico, but where does it rank in our top five opening day goals of all-time?


5. Papa Bouba Diop – France 0 Senegal 1, 2002

It was a result which sent shockwaves around the globe, as minnows Senegal beat the reigning World and European Champions in front of a stunned crowd in Seoul.

Intelligent movement from El-Hadji Diouf – not something he often did during his career in England – created space for the forward, and his cross was turned in by midfielder Papa Bouba Diop at the second attempt to spark wild celebrations from the Africans.


4. Alessandro Altobelli – Bulgaria 1 Italy 1, 1986

Italy forward Alessandro Altobelli carried on from where he left off in the World Cup of 1986 as, four years after he scored the strike which effectively secured the Italians victory in the 1982 final against West Germany, he grabbed the opening goal of the tournament in Mexico.

With the clash against Bulgaria in Mexico City approaching half-time, Altobelli buried this clinical volley to put Italy in front in a match in which they’d draw 1-1.


3. Philipp Lahm – Germany 4 Costa Rica 2, 2006

As impressive starts go, a brilliant curling finish from your left-back just six minutes into your own World Cup was a pretty good one.

Philipp Lahm heralded the start of Germany’s tournament in 2006 with this brilliant effort from the edge of the penalty area which put his side 1-0 up in a classic contest which would feature five more goals.


2. Siphiwe Tshabalala – South Africa 1 Mexico 1, 2010

This was the moment that the honour of hosting the World Cup really hit home for South Africa, with the whole country breaking out in wild celebration when Tshabalala finished off this brilliant counter-attack with a stunning finish early in the second half in Johannesburg.

Racing onto Teko Modise’s pass, Tshabalala powered an unstoppable effort into the top corner past goalkeeper Oscar Perez to set the tournament alight.


1. Torsten Frings – Germany 4 Costa Rica 2, 2006

Lahm’s fine goal on that hot day in Munich was eventually outdone just three minutes from time, as midfielder Torsten Frings picked up Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free-kick and buried an unstoppable effort from 30 yards into the top corner.

The strike capped off Germany’s fine start to hosting the tournament, although they were eventually beaten in the semi-finals by Italy. 


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