The Best Plays in Soccer History

The best plays in soccer history are ever present in the hearts and minds of all soccer fans.
The Best Plays in Soccer History

Last update: 02 July, 2020

Even though some of these memories are in black and white, others are new and filmed from all angles. In the following article, we’ll share the best plays in soccer history.

The top five plays in soccer history

It’s not necessary to have been born in the middle of the century or even to be a soccer fan to be familiar with the best plays of all time.

Soccer history: the goal of the century

This occurred when Diego Maradona scored during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico crowning Argentina as World Champions. Others know the goal as being the goal against the English. It was truly an extraordinary goal, occurring after an incredible play, by the best player in the world.

During the quarterfinals of the World Cup, rivals: Argentina and England faced off. The game had a tense atmosphere since it was the first international match between the two after the Falklands War. During the 55th minute of the match, Maradona eluded six English players, including the goalkeeper, to score his second goal of the match.

Maradona argentina

The audio of journalist Victor Hugo Morales who lively narrates the play is truly unforgettable. A few minutes before his second goal, Maradona had scored a controversial goal which is now nicknamed, “The hand of God”.

Maradona jumped up to head the ball in the box, raising his arm, which made contact with the ball causing it to go into the net.  The referee allowed the goal despite the protest by the English players. Argentina ended up winning the game two goals to one.

Soccer history: Cow’s Tail

This is a rather strange name for this noteworthy play. It occurred in 1994 during a classic match between Real Madrid and Barcelona. It began when Romario, a player from Barcelona, received a pass from Pep Guardiola.

Romario cow tail play

Romario controlled the ball with the bottom of his foot, completed a 180-degree turn, and managed to escape the opponent who was marking him. Only the most skilled players can carry out such a feat. Now, more than 20 years later, many professionals try to copy the play without avail.

The Scorpion

This is another unforgettable moment in football history. René Higuita was the relatively unknown goalkeeper of the Colombian national team. During a friendly match against England in 1995 at the legendary Wembley Stadium, his status changed forever.

Hiquita scorpion save

In order to defend a shot from Redknapp that was heading straight into the goal, Higuita propelled himself into the air and kicked out the ball in spectacular fashion. The position his body took to deflect the ball resembled the movement of a scorpion and hence the name of the play.

Soccer history: The Ghost

This play by Pele (considered by many to be one of the best soccer players in history) has to be mentioned. It happened in 1970 during a World Cup match in Mexico.

Brazil was taking on Uruguay when Pele performed a tackle leaving the Uruguayan goalkeeper without recourse. The goalkeeper remained frozen as Pele continued with the ball. Although the play didn’t culminate with a goal, the moment was forever immortalized as, “The Ghost”.

Of course, Pele has many other outstanding plays under his belt. His “volley” in the final against Sweden in the 1958 World Cup is also worthy of remembrance.

Pele dribble

The Chilena

Do you know why this move is referred to as such? It’s due to Ramón Unzaga, a naturalized player for the Chilean team.

A Chilena occurs with the body in the air, back to the grass, and scissor movements with the legs to strike the ball. It’s often said that Unzaga adopted this move from the native Chileans.

Although Ramón Unzaga was well-known for the Chilena, it was the Colo-Colo striker David Arellano who popularized it, during his tour through Spain in 1927.

Other plays that deserve mention are Raul’s, “Gol del Aguanis” in 1998, Ronaldo’s goal against Compostela after only 14 touches, and the, “Smart Bomb” goal by Roberto Carlos in 1997. As a true soccer fan, have you seen all of these plays?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.