Latin America enjoys the World Cup with special intensity. This region of the planet has been hosting this event for seven times, and three countries, Brazil, Argentine and Uruguay, have reached the trophy.

Well known legends in Latin American soccer have played in FIFA World Cup, Pele and Diego Armando Maradona. If we check the list of the main scorers in history we see that, within the top ten there are several Latin players: the Brazilian Ronaldo, owning the second position (15 goals), outnumbered by the German Miroslav Klose (16); and there is also the king Pelé, who scored 12 times, followed by the Argentine Gabriel Omar Batistuta and Teófilo Cubillas from Peru, with 10 goals each.

More than 2300 goals have been scored in the 21 versions of the Cup, which makes it a hard task to select the most important ten in Latin America, but in PanamericanWorld we decided to take our chances and create a list of unforgettable scores. Which one is your favorite?

DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA vs. England, in quarter finals, Mexico 1986 World Cup

Playing against the British team, the mythic 10 scored two of the most famous goals in World Cups. That was a match marked by the military conflict in Falkland Islands, which took place four years before. This is why both selections were facing more than a football match. At the 51st minute, fighting for a ball in the area, Maradona jumped and clearly push the ball with his hand, going over the goalkeeper Chilton. The British players protested hard against the action but the referee Ali Bennaceur validated “the hand of God” as Diego called the move. Three minutes after that, “Pelusa” took the ball in the middle of the field and defeated all players one by one until he got to the goal and killed all English aspirations. It was called by many people “The goal of the century”.

RONALDO vs. Germany, the final in Korea-Japan 2002 World Cup

Brazil and Germany, the two most winning teams in the history of World Cups, faced in the final South Korea of 2002 Japan. The great star in the team was Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima, who was trying to get over the experience in France 1998, when the French team crashed the Canarinha 3-0. This time, South Americans, led by Luiz Felipe Scolari, had a perfect performance, and close the tournament winning 2-0. The two goals were scored by Ronaldo. There was nothing to do for the German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn when trying to stop the two powerful shots (the second one came up from an awesome combination with another genius, Rivaldo) placing Brazil with five golden medals in World Cups.

ALCIDES GHIGGIA vs. Brazil, Maracaná, final 1950 World Cup 

The most impressive victory of the Uruguayan team is known in history as “El Maracanazo” and one of the saddest moments for Brazil. The Brazilian team was looking forward to win its first World Cup in front of its audience, and to get the big prize, they just needed to tie versus Uruguay. More than 100 thousand people were at Maracana, hoping to celebrate the title. Happiness was huge when Friaca gave advantage to the locals, at the 47th minute, however, Juan Schiaffino scored at the 66th , and then at the 79th , Alcides Ghiggia tie it up when scoring a goal that gave Uruguay a very surprising victory and the World Cup title.

MARIO ALBERTO KEMPES vs. Netherland, final in Argentine 1978

This Argentine was at its first final in World Cups after the outrageous (and polemic) heavy victory versus Peru. On the other hand, the Hollanders then had impressed the people with an outstanding way to play (without Johan Cruyff), so everyone expected a very close game. The Argentine star Mario Alberto “El Matador” Kempes scored at the 38th minute, however, when fans thought they were going to win, Nanninga came up at the 82th and forced the extra time. Once again Kempes was the hero when scoring at the 105th and causing a monumental euphoria in Buenos Aires.

PELÉ vs. Italy, final in Mexico 1970

The Brazilian team that won Mexico 1970 World Cup, is considered one of the most complete of all times. That team was full of talented players, led by Pelé, who was playing his third cup. Being directed by Mario Zagallo, the South Americans won the six matches they played, in which they scored 19 goals! In the final, they played versus Italy, and at the 18thminute, Pelé scored the first of the four goals that gave Brazil its third Cup, and the chance to receive, forever, the Jules Rimet Cup.

JORGE BURRUCHAGA vs. Federal Germany, final in Mexico 1986

Argentine and Germany performed a very entertaining final. This time Maradona did not score, but he was very helpfully, contributing to the advantage (2-0) of his team with his passes that seemed definitive, however, the Germans did not give up and tied the game with two spectacular goals from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Völler. Then at 83rd minute, Jorge Burruchaga kicked the ball and defeated the goalkeeper Harald Schumacher and with this goal Argentine conquered its second World Cup title.

ROMARIO vs. Sweden, semifinal in United States 1994

The Brazilian team in 1994, directed by Carlos Alberto Parreira, was not one of the most outstanding in history, but it was a very effective one. In that semifinal, South Americans played versus one of the favorites, Sweden. Many people were expecting for a heavy result, however, Europeans, with Thomas Ravelli, as an excellent goalkeeper, had a well prepared defensive plan and for 80 minutes there was not move in the scoreboard. When there were people preparing themselves to go to extra time, Romario, an excellent forward player showed up and scored the goal that placed Brazil in the final, versus Italy.

CLAUDIO PAUL CANIGGIA vs. Italy, semifinal in Italy 1990

Caniggia was one of the most outstanding players within the Argentinian team in the 1990 World Cup. At first he scored the goal that eliminated Brazil in the eight finals, and then, in semifinal, when the South Americans were losing versus Italy 1-0, he tied the match, at the 67th minute. That match was decided by penalties and in that moment the goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea was the hero, when stopping the shooting from Donadoni and Serena, what put Argentine in a final in a World Cup.

JAMES RODRÍGUEZ vs. Uruguay, eight finals in Brazil 2014

The Colombian James Rodríguez was the main responsible for the best performance of his team in the country history. In the eighth finals, they played versus Uruguay that was coming from defeating Italy. At the 23rd minute, James received a pass on his chest and without having the ball touch the ground, he kicked it, with his left foot, going straight through the goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. That goal was selected as the most impressive goal in the Cup, and then he won the Puskás Prize.

VICTORIANO SANTOS IRIARTE vs. Argentine, final in Uruguay 1930

Argentine and Uruguay played the final in the first edition of the World Cup, in Centenario Stadium, Montevideo. The match was tied two goals until the 67th minute, when the forward Victoriano Santos Iriarte got himself into the books, when he scored the decisive goal making his team champion of the World Cup.