The 2014 FIFA World Cup was advertised to be the top sports competition of the year, and it did not in any way disappoint. Host nation Brazil were responsible for a variety of storylines, the most noteworthy being that they crumbled under the pressure that comes with playing in the world's most-watched soccer competition while on home soil. The United States Men's National Team survived the group of death before giving Belgium a true scare in the knockout stages. It was Germany, the world's best side at the start of the tournament, that stood tall at the end of the World Cup, and the Germans left no doubt about who the kings of world soccer are at this time.
Highlights of any World Cup are incredible goals that live on for generations to come, and the 2014 edition of the sporting event provided plenty of memorable tallies. James Rodriguez, the breakout star of the competition and arguably the top player of the World Cup, makes the list for the Puskas Award -- the honor given for the best goal of the year. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, an entertainer as much as he is a footballer, has made a career of depositing memorable finishes, one of which is a top-three candidate for goal of the year.
Ibrahimovic and several other nominated candidates scored their goals while playing for their clubs, but the Puskas Award this time around comes down to a pair of tallies notched at the international level. Both involve the Netherlands, and both were netted during the group stages of the World Cup. Which of the two you would name as the top goal of the year could come down to a simple question: Do you prefer swan-dive headers that would be difficult to properly execute in a FIFA video game, or are you more of a "smash that volley where the goalkeeper cannot possibly reach it" type of fan?
8 Marco Fabian
7 Diego Costa
6 Hisato Sato
5 Patjin Kasami
4 Stephanie Roche
3 James Rodriguez
2 Tim Cahill
1 Robin van Persie
The Tim Cahill goal was a perfect finish, attacking football at its finest. What Van Persie achieved at the World Cup was a moment that will be showcased in World Cup highlight packages so long as the event exists and is televised. An over-the-top ball was dropped on a dime just inside of the penalty area, RvP left his feet at the precise second necessary to have even a hope of testing the goalkeeper, and Van Persie's memorable header could not have have been placed in a better spot. The goal of the World Cup and of the year, Van Persie produced one of the greatest tallies you'll ever behold.
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