Robin Van Persie’s flying strike in The Netherlands’ 5-1 demolition of Spain has been hailed as one of the greatest headers in World Cup history. A look back at some of his memorable predecessors:
Geoff Hurst, 1966
Not a spectacular effort as Hurst was left completely unmarked by the West German defence. But the Wembley nod-in from Bobby Moore’s cross made history as the first leg of the only World Cup final hat-trick, helping England to a 4-2 win.
Pele’s giant back-post leap to meet Rivelino’s cross set Brazil on their way to a 4-1 final triumph over Italy. His celebratory jump into the arms of Jairzinho has become one of the abiding images of the greatest final ever.
Yordan Lechkov, 1994
The balding Bulgaria midfielder sealed one of the great upsets of World Cup history with his long-range diving header, 12 minutes from time in his side’s 2-1 win quarter-final win over Germany in Giants Stadium, New York.
Zinedine Zidane, 1998
French maestro outjumped Leonardo at the near-post to power in a corner for the first of two headers he scored in Les Bleus 3-0 final defeat of Brazil. His 2006 final headbutt of Marco Materazzi may prove to be the header he is remembered most for.
Carles Puyol, 2010
The Barcelona defender’s mighty leap to meet Xavi’s corner was enough for Spain to clinch a 1-0 semi-final win over Germany and clear the biggest obstacle on the path to the country’s first World Cup victory.