In a World Cup that has already seen its share of iconic moments, Saturday’s team goal celebration by Colombia (see video below) is one that’s sure to be remembered long after the tournament has ended.
Where does it rank in the pantheon of men’s World Cup goal celebrations, though? We’ve created this list of the top-five such moments based on the rigorous, scientific measure of the author’s opinion. Please enjoy this objectively pure and factually accurate analysis.
5. Julius ‘Agha-Wonder’ Aghahowa’s backflip versus Sweden
Nigerian striker Julius Aghahowa didn’t score that many goals over the course of his career, but when he did they were accompanied by backflips. This septuple flip at the 2002 World Cup came after Aghahowa scored against Sweden. The Swedes ended up winning the game 2-1, and Aghahowa’s header ended up being Nigeria’s only goal at the tournament. Those flips, though!
4. Colombia’s “Shout” dance
This is one of the finest team celebrations ever seen at a World Cup. After Pablo Armero—who has a history of creative celebrations—gave the Colombians their first World Cup goal in 16 years and an early 1-0 lead over Greece, the defender ran over to his sideline to do the team’s best rendition of Wedding Crashers. The choreographed number was so genuinely joyous, its apparent corporate sponsorship doesn’t even taint it that much.
3. Yekini in the netting
Considering Nigeria’s proud tradition of goal celebrations, it shouldn’t be surprising that the nation cracks the top-five twice. When Rashidi Yekini scored the country’s first-ever World Cup goal, against Bulgaria in 1994, his natural momentum carried him into the net, and he just kind of embraced it. Yekini went onto become the Super Eagles top goal scorer, but in retirement he was plagued by mental illness and he passed away in 2012 at the age of 48.
2. Roger Milla’s pole dance
Cameroonian legend Roger Milla is considered a pioneer of modern goal celebrations. At Italia ’90 he celebrated all four of his goals with his patented corner flag cha-cha. Milla scored two goals in the second round match against Colombia to lead Cameroon to become the first quarterfinalists from Africa in the history of the tournament. Four years later, the then 42-year-old Milla cemented his status as the oldest goal scorer in World Cup history by scoring against Russia. Of course, he celebrated with the pole dance.
1. Bebeto’s baby
After Bebeto scored against the Netherlands in the 1994 World Cup two days after the birth of his son, the Brazilian striker did a move that was half-samba, half baby-cradle. Two weeks ago Bebeto reprised the performance with his son Mattheus Oliveira, who now plays for his dad’s old Brazilian club Flamengo.