WATCH: Top 10 goals from the 2014 World Cup


Now for the fun part.

With Mario Götze’s 113th-minute winner against Argentina in the final, the 2014 World Cup tied the 1998 tournament in France for the most goals in any World Cup with 171.

That means fun for everyone!

But only 10 of those 171 can make this list, so we’re picking the best ones.

Hint: lots of James Rodriguez, because James Rodriguez is awesome.

10. Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria

The player who eventually won the Golden Ball picked up the first direct free-kick goal of the tournament when he blasted the set-piece past Vincent Enyema who hardly even tried, knowing he had no chance.

The goal would prompt Stephen Keshi to declare “he [Messi] is not from this planet. He’s from Jupiter.” Argentina would win the Group F game 3-2.

Messi had a late winner against Iran as well that was a very pretty goal, but free kicks are more fun.

9. Jermaine Jones vs. Portugal

John Brooks captured American hearts when he headed the United States past Ghana, but going on individual degree of difficulty, Jermaine Jones ripped a peach against Portugal that would put the US ahead and lead them to victor…a 2-2 draw (come on, Ronaldo).

Jones put some impressive curl on the ball and gave the Portuguese keeper no chance as the ball tucked into the far corner.

8. Arjen Robben vs. Spain

On a breakaway for the Netherlands in their opening match, Arjen Robben wasn’t able to get fully past the defense. No problems. He spun around with his back to the goal, cut into traffic, beat two defenders trailing the play, and left the goalkeeper on his rear end before putting the ball into the back of the net and giving the Netherlands a final touch of brilliance in their 5-1 win over Spain.

7. James Rodriguez vs. Japan

Yay! More James please! We’ve answered your pleas, and have grabbed one of the young Colombian’s six goals of the 2014 World Cup.  And there’s more after, don’t worry.

Against Japan in the group stage, Rodriguez put on some serious moves that sent Japanese defender Maya Yoshida tumbling embarrassingly to the ground. And then he scored. It was Rodriguez’s third goal of the tournament, but it wasn’t his best. We’re getting to that…

6. David Luiz vs. Colombia

We love great free kicks, and David Luiz had the best of the tournament. An absolute ripper against Colombia to break James Rodriguez’s heart, Luiz unleashed a knuckleball into the top right corner in the 69th minute.

The goal would end up being the winner, as Brazil went through 2-1.

5. Xherdan Shaqiri vs Honduras

The Swiss were looking to prove they were deserving of their much-criticized group seed, and they made it into the knockout stage. One of their best moments was against Honduras, when star youngster Xherdan Shaqiri delivered a hat-trick, the third of which was this insane strike from wayyyyyy far out.

4. Mario Götze vs. Argentina

How do you not place a World Cup final winner on the list? Then again, this wasn’t just any winner. It was filthy. First was the heck of a cross from Schurrle.  Götze snuck behind Martin Demichelis (the Manchester City version of Demichelis, clearly) and controlled the ball with his chest, firing home without the ball touching the ground.

A goal to win the World Cup in the 113th minute. That’s what legends are made of.

3. Tim Cahill vs. Netherlands

Oh. Wow. Australia means business. That’s what everyone thought to themselves when Tim Cahill ripped the back of the net with a ridiculous volley that put Australia level with the Netherlands.  The goal came moments after the Dutch took the lead, and announced to the world that the Aussies were here to play.

Cahill’s goal was stunning given he hit the shot one-time on a deep pass from behind the mid line, coming from around behind the defender to connect with the ball. Many would have this as the goal of the tournament, but for us, there are two others that edge it out. It’s still beautiful to watch over and over and over…

2. Robin van Persie vs. Spain

The flying header. One of the most iconic images from this World Cup is the Dutch striker midair, having just pounced on a stunning delivery from Daley Blind.  Van Persie began what would eventually become a Spanish onslaught, and he wow’d the crowd as well. He celebrated by sprinting to his manager Louis van Gaal and delivering a monumental high-five, maybe something we’ll see in England as Van Gaal has taken over at Manchester United.

1. James Rodriguez vs. Uruguay

It’s our man again! Undoubtedly the goal of the tournament, the Golden Boot winner unleashed a vicious volley that left the Uruguayans utterly befuddled. It announced Rodriguez on the world stage (although we had already fallen in love with him long before) and said Colombia would not be taken lightly.

This goal has everything as far as degree of difficulty. The ball pops up in the air, and Rodriguez chests it down facing away from goal. Before the ball touches the ground, he does a 90-degree turn and rips a howitzer with his left foot that clips the underside of the crossbar and caroms into the goal from a good 23-yards out or so. Enjoy.

Report: Barcelona eyeing Nathaniel Clyne to fill right back gap

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17:  Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool clears the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on January 17, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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When Dani Alves left Barcelona to join Juventus over the summer, the Blaugrana appeared to have the right back vacancy covered.

[ MORE: Guardiola says he needs “time to learn, to improve”

However, manager Luis Enrique appears to be turning his attention to the Premier League in order to replace the versatile Brazilian defender.

[ MORE: Tony Pulis extends contract with West Brom ]

According to SunSport, Barcelona is prepared to approach Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne during the winter transfer window as the Spanish giants look to lock down the right back position.

The 25-year-old is reportedly seen as a significant upgrade from Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal, both of whom have been tabbed as starters this season for Barcelona.

Clyne has appeared in 12 matches this PL season for the Reds, who currently sit tied atop the Premier League with Manchester City and Arsenal on points.

In addition to Clyne, SunSport reports that Glen Johnson is also a consideration for the Blaugrana, however, the 32-year-old is certainly not a first option for Enrique and Barcelona given his age and drop in form.

MLS Conference Semis preview: Compelling match-ups all around

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23:  Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates with team mate Tim Howard after victory that sends the USA through to the second round during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images
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One of Major League Soccer’s most wide open new rivalries headlines a glorious quartet of first legs when the Conference Semifinals get going on Sunday.

[ MLS: Conference semis schedule ]

Toronto FC and New York City FC have squared off five times in a nascent rivalry which has seen plenty of thrills, including a 4-4 draw in NYC last season.

TFC has three draws but is yet to top NYCFC. There are so many reasons to love this match-up: the tactical face-off between Patrick Vieira of NYC and Greg Vanney of Toronto; the combined firepower of David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, and Andrea Pirlo.

Aside from the postage stamp pitch at Yankee Stadium for the second leg, almost everything about this is wonderful.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 13: Khiry Shelton #19 of New York City FC carries the ball against Marco Delgado #18 and Michael Bradley #4 of Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium on March 13, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

[ MORE: JPW talks with USL commish Edwards ]

The other Eastern Conference semi sees the Montreal Impact building off its upset of DC United with a pair of matches against high-flying New York Red Bulls.

The first match is in Montreal, and the Stade Saputo is a big, loud place. Didier Drogba is no longer featuring for the hosts, but Ignacio Piatti has been as good as any players in the league (He deserves MVP consideration but it seems politically difficult to imagine it will go anywhere besides a New York team or Giovinco).

The Red Bulls haven’t lost since July 3, and feature a dominant group up the middle which includes Luis Robles, Dax McCarty, Sacha Kljestand, and Bradley Wright-Phillips. This, too, shall be fun.

Over in the West, we see suddenly starring Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy opening up against surprising Colorado Rapids.

A Donovan vs. Tim Howard match-up is in some ways an Evertonian and USMNT fan’s dream, but this will be more about whether Colorado’s “no-name” — outside of Howard and Jermaine Jones — team can stare down the star power of the Galaxy. Look for sneaky star Shkelzen Gashi to make his name known a bit more for the Rapids.

[ MORE: Spain may recall David Villa ]

Finally we’ve got the hottest team in the West, Seattle Sounders, duking it out with Supporters’ Shield and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winner FC Dallas.

The playoffs find Seattle as a minor favorite since FCD star Mauro Diaz went out for the year and Fabian Castillo skipped town for Turkey. But ruling out Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, and head coach Oscar Pareja is something you’d do at your own peril.

For Seattle, there’s new star Nicolas Lodeiro and striker Jordan Morris, the latter who is delivering at an unreal level (even for a rookie as hyped as the Stanford man).

All of these matches have the potential for special soccer. Bring on Sunday.

Spain’s Lopetegui open to recalling all-time scorer David Villa

David Villa, New York City FC
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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For all the glossing of Major League Soccer as a retirement league for European stars, David Villa’s performance in MLS may’ve rebirthed his international career.

Villa, 34, has 97 caps and 59 goals for Spain but has not played for La Furia Roja since scoring against Australia in his only appearance of World Cup 2014.

[ MLS: Conference semis schedule set ]

He retired after the tournament, but that doesn’t mean new coach Julen Lopetegui won’t be trying to call him back into the fold.

From The Daily Mail:

“The truth is that I saw him very well and playing with a lot of intensity,” Lopetegui told Onda Cero.

“Villa continues to play at a very good level and in the future we will see if he can return. We don’t close the door to any player and we always have consideration for players that can help the national team.”

He’s Spain’s all-time leading scorer by a 15-goal margin, and Villa’s prolific rate .6 goals per national team game is second only to Alfredo di Stefano amongst the nation’s Top Ten scorers.

Would he be interested? We like to think so, and Villa has been dominant for NYCFC in a potential MVP season. NYCFC faces Toronto FC in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks – Week 10

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Week 10 of the Premier League is here as we are a quarter of the way into the season. It’s still ridiculously tight across the league.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Click play on the videos below to hear my score prediction and preview of each game.

[ VIDEOS: Preview all 10 games ]

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Man United 3-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]


West Brom 1-2 Man City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Everton 2-2 West Ham – (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Tottenham 2-1 Leicester City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM]

Stoke City 2-1 Swansea City – (Monday, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Watford 3-2 Hull City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]


Middlesbrough 1-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Southampton 1-1 Chelsea – (Sunday, 12 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]