Welcome back to another Ultimate XI, today we are going to be picking an XI of players who have scored a goal in the World Cup final.
Just 77 goals have been scored in World Cup finals, so this is an exclusive list, but with it being the showpiece game in world football, there is obviously quality in today’s XI.
GOALKEEPER- Iker Casillas
Okay, a goalkeeper has never scored in a World Cup final. But instead I have decided to go for a keeper who has kept a clean sheet in the final.
Only seven goalkeepers have actually achieved this feat and for me Casillas is the best (only just). I strongly considered Manuel Neuer for this slot but it’s the Spaniard who makes the cut.
Casillas went 120 minutes without conceding a goal in the 2010 World Cup final, and this capped off a wonderful career for the Real Madrid legend. He won five La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, two European Championships and obviously a World Cup.
LEFT BACK- Andreas Brehme
You can count the number of defenders who have scored in World Cup finals on one hand, but Brehme’s winning goal at Italia 90 gets him into the XI.
The left back made the team of the tournament in 1990, and his performances also got him to third place in the Ballon D’or that season. He won three league titles in his career, all at different clubs, and he was named player of the year for Inter Milan when they won the 88-89 Serie A title.
Brehme was an attacking full back and changed the way left and right backs were viewed in football, and his influence is still being seen today.
RIGHT BACK- Carlos Alberto
Our defence will certainly be alright with this man at right back, and he is probably the scorer of the best goal on this list.
If you haven’t seen Carlos Alberto’s goal from the 1970 final then watch it. The goal shows just how good the Brazilian side was and he was one of the stand out players.
He is widely regarded as one of the best defenders of all time and he was one of the first names in this XI.
CENTRE BACK- Marco Materazzi
Materazzi had an eventful game in the 2006 final, scoring in the 19th minute and then being on the other side of one the most infamous moments in World Cup history (receiving a headbutt from Zidane).
The Italian made a habit of scoring goals from centre back, with his career tally exceeding 50. He has won nearly everything there is to win in football and that made him the only certainty at centre back.
CENTRE BACK- Wolfgang Weber
Our next player is a goal scorer from the 1966 final, and Weber makes it in courtesy of him being a defender…
It is a shame I couldn’t include any English players in this XI, but I have still been able to shoehorn in the final that they won! The German scored a last minute equaliser in the final, but he was unable to stop the unstoppable English attack from scoring two extra time goals.
I don’t really know much about Weber, but he spent his whole career at Köln and played over 350 games for Die Geißböcke.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Andreas Iniesta
Most of you will remember Iniesta’s winning goal in the 2010 final and he makes up one third of this three man midfield.
Iniesta was at the heart of Spain’s most successful side between 2008 and 2012, where they won two European Championships and the World Cup.
His goal actually may have come as somewhat of a surprise as he has never really been known as a goalscoring midfielder, he only scored 13 goals for Spain. To add to his international achievements, he has also won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League titles.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Marco Tardelli
Our second midfielder is someone who made over 250 appearances for Juventus over a decade of service to the Old Lady.
Tardelli scored in the 1982 final and his celebration is iconic, a true release of passion and relief. He was a dominating midfielder, who could contribute defensively and going forward.
He won five Serie A titles with Juventus, along with a European cup and a UEFA Cup to boot. He scored important goals throughout his career, but arguably the most important gets him into this XI.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Zinedine Zidane
Zidane has no less than three goals in World Cup Finals, two in 1998 and one in 2006. I vividly remember his chip from the penalty spot in 06 as it was an exquisitely executed goal.
Zidane won the World Cup in 1998 and for three tournaments, he had the weight of France on his shoulders as he was their star. Zidane is one of the best midfielders of all time, with his dribbling and technique setting him apart from the rest.
Along with his World Cup, he also won the Euros and three league titles in his career. His career was filled with iconic goals and infamous moments, that is why he is a legendary footballer.
This section goes without saying really, Pelé scored a brace in the 1958 final, and another in the 1970 final.
The Brazilian is widely regarded as the best player ever and his record cannot be argued with. His name is synonymous with the World Cup and for that reason he can’t be ignored.
Pelé played for Santos for nearly 20 years, scoring 619 goals in the process. He also won three World Cup’s, he was collecting them like they were going out of fashion!
From the World’s most iconic player, to the World Cup’s most iconic player. El Fenomeno was unstoppable at nearly every World Cup he played in, and he ended up with 15 goals at World Cups.
His list of achievements at World Cups are as follows: two titles (1994 and 2002), 1998 Golden ball, 2002 Golden boot and he is the second highest scorer in World Cup history.
Away from international duty, his career followed a similar pattern, goals. He scored wherever he went, whether that was Italy, Holland or Spain, but for all his goals he only ever won one league title, at Real Madrid. All of his achievements are despite the fact he had a patchy injury record, without this, who knows what would be said about him now.
STRIKER- Gerd Müller
My front line has a total of 1647 goals in their combined careers, so if this team was ever involved in a 0-0 then I’d be shocked.
Muller struck the winner in 1974, and he spearheaded the brilliant West German side during the 60’s and 70’s.
His club career was spent mainly with Bayern Munich and he guided them to four Bundesliga titles. The 74 World Cup is by far the best achievement of his career, but he is another certified goal scorer.
Thanks for reading!
I’d thoroughly recommend watching all of the World Cup official films during this time at home!