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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

World Cup free-kicks: Where does Alexsandar Kolarov's against Costa Rica rank in the top 5?

The Serbian curled in a beauty to set his side on their way in their Group F opener

It was a goal worthy of winning a World Cup final - not just a match in the opening week of the tournament (and a Lada).

Serbia's Alexsander Kolarov already had a reputation for possessing a sweet left foot, so it was of little surprise that he managed to get his shot up and over the wall against Costa Rica on Sunday.

As well as the precision though, there was an abundance of fizz and spin, which took it beyond the dive of goalkeeper Keylor Navas - first choice for Real Madrid, so hardly someone who regularly goes flapping at shots.

Kolarov's goal certainly belongs in the upper ranks of World Cup free kicks, so here's a look at four others which should belong in an all-time top five:

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Teofilo Cubillas - Peru v Scotland, 1978

Wow. When was the last time your saw a free-kick taken like that? These days they are all taken with the instep to add curl, or the top of the foot to create some dip on the ball, but Cubillas took the ultra-ambitious option of using the outside of the boot, almost prodding at it. The keeper shuffled towards his near post on seeing the way Cubillas was approaching the kick, yet he still had no chance of stopping it. And just look at that classic Adidas Tango ball. Beautiful in every way.

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Ronaldinho - Brazil v England, 2002

Was it a shot or a cross, or a cross-cum-shot? Either way England were beaten and went home and their players would end up lamenting what they saw as a "fluke". Ronaldinho, however, later revealed to FourFourTwo that it was all planned: "I saw he was off his line. About five metres off. I really aimed at the goal," he said. "All I wanted was for Seaman to be desperate and maybe trip on his way back. It was a great goal in my greatest match for Brazil in that World Cup."

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Roberto Carlos - Brazil v China, 2002

It isn't his most celebrated free-kick - that came against France at Le Tournoi in 1997 - but it was exactly the type of strike which made Roberto Carlos the most feared free-kick taker in the world for a few years. The players standing the in wall barely flinch, but then they don't have time to, as the ball whistled past them and the keeper's dive which comes when the net is already rippling.

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David Beckham - England v Colombia, 1998

A master of the free-kick, Beckham could bend it in from all angles and he notched his first England goal with a trademark dead-ball curler. Even though you were sure the keeper knew where it was going, you were also sure that there was no way he was going to reach it, such was Beckham's accuracy from within 30 yards. This was similar to Kolarov's in terms of where it was taken on the pitch, only Beckham's was set for a right-footer.

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Read more:

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World Cup nightmares: Messi's Iceland miss and 10 other horror moments

Lada car reward for Serbia's match-winner Aleksandar Kolarov

Underdogs Costa Rica lack bite in 1-0 defeat to Serbia