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World Cup Semifinal Appetizer: The Best Goals of the Tournament

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↵There have already been 133 goals scored in the World Cup, a number which surely isn't breaking any records, but has provided for some wonderful moments in the first three rounds. ↵

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↵With the semifinals starting today – the Netherlands faces Uruguay at 2:30 p.m. ET today with Germany and Spain playing the same time tomorrow – let's have a look at some of the best goals of the tournament thus far. Note, this list is decidedly incomplete, and the greatness of some plays is completely subjective, so please feel free to share your thoughts on what we missed. The list is broken down by category, before a rundown of what could be the top five (or six) goals of the tournament. ↵

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↵The Dramatic ↵
↵It just so happens that the United States had two of the most dramatic goals in the World Cup, First, Landon Donovan's moment… ↵

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↵Of course that goal wouldn't have mattered if it hadn't been for Michael Bradley's heroics – set up by a perfect header from Jozy Altidore – in the match against Slovenia. ↵

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↵There was another great last-minute goal in the tournament, coming from New Zealand's Winston Reid on an amazing cross from Shane Smeltz to tie Slovakia in injury time. ↵

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↵The Set Piece ↵
↵Scoring on a set piece is a uniquely different skill than finding the net in open play. With so much talk about the Jabulani ball, here are a few of the best set piece goals (both direct kicks and from the corner kick). ↵

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↵Keisuke Honda had a blast for Japan against Denmark… ↵

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↵…but not to be outdone, his teammate Yasuhito Endo had his own strike in the same game. ↵

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↵Diego Forlan had a fantastic strike in open play, but that didn't make the list because it had deflected off a defender and may have needed that luck to get into the net. This, however, needed nothing but skill…and power.  ↵

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↵Two of the best corner kick goals came from the head, and both included Brazil. First, Juan's powerful header for Brazil. ↵

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↵Wesley Sneijder's header wasn't as powerful, but coming off a flick header, it was just as skillful. Oh, and it was also the game-winner to knock favorites Brazil out of the tournament.  ↵

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↵Great Offense, or Poor Defense? ↵
↵There has been some atrocious goalkeeping in the tournament, and at times, the defending has been just as sloppy. Are these four goals the product of great offense or poor defending? ↵

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↵First, David Villa's extremely difficult strike from almost midfield, after the goalkeeper had run out to try and make a play, leaving an open net. ↵

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↵Next, Asamoah Gyan had a splendid game-winner against the United States, but was it more due to the bad defense by the USMNT central defenders? ↵

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↵The goal by Miroslav Klose against England is an amazing combination of offensive skill and grade-school defense. ↵

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↵Note to Uruguay, Spain and Germany…Arjen Robben likes to go to his left. ↵

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↵The Best of the Best ↵
↵We'll count down the top five (well, six) goals of the tournament in open play. It's hard to pick the best, as they are all fantastic. ↵

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↵5a. Mesut Oezil's strike against Ghana split three defenders.  ↵

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↵5. David Villa is the only player to appear twice on this list (and his goal against Parguay where he picked up the 7-10 split by hitting both posts didn't even make it). This bit of skill in the box was too good not to include. ↵

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↵4. Siphiwe Tshabalala's goal to open the tournament is something South Africans will remember forever, both because of the significance of the goal, and the quality of the strike. ↵

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↵3. There was some debate after this goal as to whether Maicon meant to shoot at the net. There should be no debating how great this shot is.  ↵

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↵2. This is really a 1 and 1a situation, but this gets placed second due to the circumstances of No. 1. Argentina's Carlos Tevez with an abolute rocket from distance against Mexico. ↵

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↵1. Luis Suarez scored this goal in torrential rain following a corner kick and put it right on the mark, which is incredible in its own right, but even more so given the circumstances of the weather. ↵

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↵We think this properly whets your appetite. Let's hope the next four matches give us even more to highlight.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.