[gallery columns="4" ids="1051591,1051592,1051593,1051594"] One full week has gone by and I can honestly say this is the GREATEST WORLD CUP EVER. There have been upsets (like Costa Rica representing CONCACAF in style) and comebacks (like Japan getting Drogba’d). There have been stunning early exits from past champs (thanks for playing, Spain!) and upstart teams making the most of rare World Cup appearances (nice work, Colombia). There have been world-renowned stars doing world-class things (Messi!), word-renowned stars breaking World Cup droughts (Rooney!) and world-renowned stars returning from injury just in the nick of time (Suarez!). There have been breakout stars (Colombia’s James Rodriguez) and unlikely heroes (our favorite German-American John Brooks). There has been the closest thing you’ll see to a buzzer beater in soccer (thanks, Switzerland and Ecuador) and even damn exciting scoreless draws (thanks, Mexico and Brazil). But, above all else, there have been goals. People that don’t like soccer like to point to the sport’s lack of scoring as a reason why – but this tournament is shaping up to be the highest-scoring World Cup ever. And many of the goals have been dramatic and beautiful. Here now is a list of our five favorite goals to this point: 5. USA’s Clint Dempsey vs. Ghana American bias? Perhaps. But the three touches the U.S. captain makes are brilliant and his finish is a perfect one. And don’t act like you didn’t jump off your couch screaming when this goal happened in the first minute of the game. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=1kNG061cgaoolOncv54OAO1ceO-I&widt... width=620] 4. Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte vs. Uruguay There have been a lot of great headers for goals in this tournament but this one is certainly one of the best – not only because it was the game-winner in Costa Rica’s massive upset over Uruguay but because a defender’s foot was practically in his face when he dove for the ball. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&widt... width=620] 3. Ivory Coast’s Gervinho vs. Colombia Who doesn’t like a bit of individual dribbling brilliance? That’s exactly what Gervinho did against Colombia, splitting a couple of defenders and dancing around another one before scoring a beauty to the near post. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&widt... width=620] 2. Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie vs. Spain Most people would have tried to settle this long ball. Most people are not Robin Van Persie, who opted to fly instead. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&widt... width=620] 1. Australia’s Tim Cahill vs. Netherlands The force and precision behind this one-time volley is hard to fathom. One of the greatest goals you’ll ever see. And I hear this guy plays in MLS. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&widt... width=620] --- And since this is purportedly a local blog, we should also highlight the goal from Colombia’s James Rodriguez against Ivory Coast because it led to an epic dance party on the Colombia sideline – led by none other than ageless former Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon. (Look for the guy right next to James, who then tries to go for a piggy-back ride on him). Also, great call from former Union forward and color man Alejandro Moreno, who’s been calling the Colombia forward James “Don’t call me James” Rodriguez. (You have to listen to it to get it.) [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&widt... width=620] One last sorta local story: former NBA star Rip Hamilton – our favorite native son from Coatesville – is on his way to Brazil to give one his signature masks to Dempsey, who broke his nose in the last game. Gotta love that American solidarity.
World Cup 2014 after one week: high drama, beautiful goals, a former Union goalie dancing, and Rip to the rescue
June 20, 2014, 12:00 pm