Many of the UFWC goals scored in the past 65 years or so can be viewed online. (In particular, the YouTube collection of sp1873 is absolutely magnificent.) Watching the goals provides further proof of the brilliance of the UFWC – the competition has provided more than its fair share of special goals. I have chosen my favourite 50 goals from those I have seen, in chronological order, with my top ten highlighted along the way. Some of these goals are famous; however, many are not, and they are a treat for all UFWC fans. The numbers in brackets after the description correspond to the approximate time in the video that the ball hits the net – in each case the video should start a few seconds earlier to show the goal in all its glory.

We’re presenting the top 50 over three days, followed by a selection of own goals and oddities as part of UFWC Goals Week. Let’s start with Part 1 of the Top 50, covering 1948 to 1979:

1948 Italy vs England
Stan Mortensen
A thumping drive into the roof of the net, beating the keeper from a very acute angle at the near post. (0.27)

1958 Sweden vs West Germany
Hans Schafer
A controlled half-volley high into the net; the goal gave West Germany the lead in this World Cup semi-final, but the Swedes were to hit back with some superb goals of their own. (1.10)

1958 Sweden vs West Germany
Gunnar Gren

A powerful shot so well placed that it hit the inside of the stanchion in the top corner and bounced out again. (3.33)

1958 Sweden vs West Germany
Kurt Hamrin

Dribbling along the touchline, Hamrin skips past one defender before dinking the ball neatly over the keeper. (3.50)

1958 Sweden vs Brazil
Pele
*TOP TEN*

Arguably the most famous goal on the list. Pele was a hitherto unknown 17-year old suddenly appearing in the World Cup final in front of a global audience. He showed no nerves at all, however, in putting his side 3-1 up with this iconic goal. Shielding the ball from one defender with his chest, he then flicked it over another defender before calmly volleying it into the net. (1.04)

1966 USSR vs Italy
Igor Chislenko

*TOP TEN*
Chislenko brought the ball forward, played a one-two with a backheeled return, cut inside and bent a powerful shot into the far top corner. (0.10)

1967 France vs USSR
Jacques Simon

A perfectly placed left-footed rocket into the top corner. (1.46)

1967 USSR vs Austria
Anatoliy Byshovets

A beautifully-controlled bicycle kick. (1.23)

1969 Sweden vs France
Ove Kindvall

A neat bit of skill saw Kindvall turn his man in the box, before surprising the keeper with a flashing shot high into the net. (2.10)

1970 Switzerland vs Italy
Sandro Mazzola
*TOP TEN*

The TV picture is not the best on this footage, but it is a remarkable goal. Mazzola works himself some space with no fewer than five keepie-uppies, before directing his shot low into the corner from outside the box. (1.10)

1974 Netherlands vs Argentina
Johan Cruyff

To cap perhaps their best performance of the 1974 World Cup, the Netherlands went 4-0 up with this volley from wide on the left by Cruyff. (2.42)

1977 Rep of Ireland vs France
Liam Brady

This goal gave Ireland the UFWC title for the first time in their history, and was neatly finished by Brady after a single touch had taken at least three French defenders out of the game. (0.10)

1978 Italy vs France
Michel Platini

Platini bent a perfect free kick into the top left-hand corner, only to have it disallowed as the referee wasn’t ready. Undeterred, he re-took it, and buried into the bottom right-hand corner this time. (2.53)

1978 Netherlands vs Italy
Arie Haan
*TOP TEN*

The goal that clinched the Netherlands’ place in the World Cup Final, it swerved in off the post from at least 35 yards out. (2.56)

1979 Italy vs Argentina
Franco Causio
*TOP TEN*

Collecting the ball wide on the left from a throw-in, Causio flicked the ball over a defender then hit a sensational looping volley over the keeper and in. (1.00)

1979 Paraguay vs Brazil
Eugenio Morel

Chest control and an overhead kick in this Copa America semi-final. (0.13)

Coming tomorrow, Part 2 of the Top 50, covering 1980 to 1997, as UFWC Goals Week continues.

New to the Unofficial Football World Championships? Try our UFWC Beginner’s Guide.