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Original Issue


1. Brazil's Ronaldinho vs. England, 2002

Did he really mean to go top-far-corner from 35 yards? Does it matter? What we know: Ronaldinho's brazen 50th-minute free kick knocked England out of the quarters, set the Seleção on the path to a fifth World Cup and sealed the fate of GK David Seaman (above), forever remembered for helplessly watching this ball go over his head.

2. Peru's Teofilo Cubillas vs. Scotland, 1978

After a foul, the ball was placed just outside the penalty area and surrounded by four Peruvians—which gave Scottish keeper Alan Rough plenty to process. Juan Muñante ran at and stepped over the ball. Then came Cubillas, who seemed likely to be a decoy as well, given the angle of his approach. But he jarringly toed the ball straight into the top left corner, hoodwinking Rough.

3. Argentina's Javier Zanetti vs. England, 1998

With the ball just off-center and a few yards outside the box, Argentina set up three potential shooters. The first ran a Muñante-like decoy; the second came in hot, like Cubillas ... but then he dished to Zanetti, alone in the confusion, who coolly slotted it past—Oh, no! Oh, yes!—Seaman.

4. Bulgaria's Dinko Dermendzhiev vs. Peru, 1970

Ping-Pong perfection. First game of the group stage, 13th minute, just outside the box, a bit to the keeper's right. Dermendzhiev darts to the left, around a wall of four defenders. From the right comes another Bulgarian, who receives the free-kick pass and flicks it back behind the wall, onto the foot of Dermendzhiev, who chips it home.

5. England's David Platt vs. Belgium, 1990

This one felt like the other kind of football: In the round of 16, in the 119th minute, from 40 yards, Paul Gascoigne rainbowed an arcing bomb of a free kick over the shoulder of and onto the swinging foot of David Platt, whose volley found the back of the net and sent the Three Lions to the quarters.