A look at some of the best goals from this year's World Cup, including Van Persie's header

  • Article by: CHRIS LEHOURITES , Associated Press
  • Updated: July 11, 2014 - 5:50 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO — Robin van Persie scored one of the most eye-catching goals of the World Cup with a diving header, and James Rodriguez blasted in one of the tournament's most spectacular after controlling the ball with his chest and volleying home from outside the area.

The world will be treated to quite a spectacle if Germany and Argentina — maybe another superb goal from Lionel Messi? — can match those memorable goals in Sunday's final at the Maracana Stadium.

But before the final kicks off, here's a look back at some of the best goals of this year's World Cup, in no particular order:

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Netherlands striker Robin van Persie against Spain, first round

Van Persie's goal started with a 40-yard pass from Daley Blind, who launched the ball from just inside the halfway line. With Van Persie running through the middle of the Spain defense, the charging Manchester United forward flung himself forward to meet it inside the area, diving at full stretch and sending his delicate header sailing over a helpless Iker Casillas in goal.

"I saw Casillas standing a bit in front of the goal, so I decided to go for a loop," Van Persie said. "It just could not have been more perfect. These kinds of goals are scored once in a lifetime."

The goal came in the 45th minute, making the score 1-1. The Dutch then poured in four more to rout the defending champions 5-1.

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Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez against Uruguay, second round

Rodriguez provided one of the best goals of the tournament with a swivel-and-volley move that left fans gasping in delight. He chested the ball down with his back to goal well outside the area and in one fluid motion turned around and fired a left-foot volley that went off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

Rodriguez scored a second goal in the same match, and Colombia reached the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory.

"From what I've seen so far, he's is the best player of the World Cup," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said after the match.

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Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi against Iran, first round

Messi has scored scores of goals in his career, but it was a late strike against Iran that stands out at this year's World Cup for both its beauty and its importance.

The Argentina forward used the outside of his foot to scoop the ball to the left, took three quick steps and shot just before Iran forward Reza Ghoochannejad could stretch his leg out to block it.

"Only Messi could score that goal," Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said. "He was cool, calm, he found the right moment, the right space. Because only a player with that dimension has the ability to strike a goal like that."

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