World Cup·Poll

World Cup: Vote for your favourite match

With 159 goals scored so far in the World Cup, the record of 171 set in 1998 is still within reach. All of the offence has given us some exciting matches.

Goals, drama and heartbreak have given us several great moments in Brazil

Goalkeeper Tim Howard made USA one of the most exciting, and fun, teams to watch at the FIFA World Cup. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

As the FIFA World Cup builds towards the championship, we're looking back at some of the best matches and moments of the tournament. And, there have been plenty of noteworthy games in Brazil 2014, particularly in the early phases of the Group stage.

With 159 goals scored so far in the World Cup, the record of 171 set in 1998 is still within reach. All of the offence has bought mainstream appeal in non-traditional soccer markets.

But even Brazil and Mexico's 0-0 draw could have made our top five — perhaps it's on yours? Watch the replays of these matches and tell us which is your favourite so far.

Netherlands-Australia, Group stage

Score: 3-2 Netherlands

Why this match was great:

The "Anything you can do, I can do better" theme. Arjen Robben put the Dutch up in the 20th minute, only to be outdone on the ensuing kickoff as Australia's Tim Cahill volleyed in one of the greatest goals of the World Cup.

The Aussies put a real scare in the Netherlands when they took the lead in the second half, and appeared on the verge of pulling off a major upset. Although the Dutch responded and claimed victory, the match was a highly entertaining affair and earned the Socceroos plenty of respect.

Uruguay-England, Group stage

Score: 2-1 Uruguay 

Why this match was great:

Luis Suarez returned from injury (pre-bite) and netted two spectacular markers. He was exciting and difficult for England to defend in a game that had plenty of chances. Oh, and someone named Rooney scored his first ever World Cup goal for England.

Argentina-Nigeria, Group stage

Score: 3-2 Argentina

Why this match was great:

Two reasons — Lionel Messi's best game of the Group stage and Nigeria's resilience. Nigeria's Ahmed Musa and Messi both had two goals each, and there were quick goals at the start of each half.

Brazil-Chile, Round of 16

Score: 1-1 (Brazil won 3-2 on penalties)

Why this match was great:

A classic, heart-stopping finish. Brazil almost went into a state of shock when Chile striker Mauricio Pinilla's shot clanged off the bar in the 119th minute. The hosts were that close to bowing out in the Round of 16. Instead, Brazil keeper Julio Cesar made two crucial stops while Brazil's shooters delivered the goods in the shootout.

USA vs. anybody, Group stage, Round of 16

Why the Americans were so fun to watch:

Aside from their final Group stage game against Germany — which had bad weather and a FIFA standings nightmare to blame — every U.S. match had quality goals and last-second drama. Although Michael Bradley might like to forget it, the U.S.-Portugal 2-2 draw was one of the most exciting contests in Brazil.

But the final half hour of the U.S.-Belgium Round of 16 match rose to a new level. The Americans nearly won it just before extra time, and in the extra time there were three goals scored. While the late goals were full of quality, Tim Howard's outstanding goalkeeping stole the show and turned him into the U.S. Secretary of Defence, temporarily, on Wikipedia.

Honourable mentions:

  • Spain-Netherlands, Group stage (5-1 Netherlands)
  • England-Italy, Group stage (2-1 Italy)
  • Switzerland-Ecuador, Group stage (2-1 Switzerland)
  • Brazil-Mexico, Group stage (0-0 draw)
  • Algeria-South Korea, Group stage (4-2 Algeria)
  • Netherlands-Mexico, Round of 16 (2-1 Netherlands)


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