Anatomy of a Classic Goal: James Rodriguez and the perfect volley

As we await the full return of world football, we’re taking this opportunity to look back on some of the most memorable goals ever scored. Going frame by frame, we’ll dissect how, exactly, these epic moments came to fruition.

Other classic goals: Ronaldo | Van Persie | Bergkamp | Aguero | Messi

Who, where, and when?

  • Goalscorer: James Rodriguez (Colombia)
  • Match: Colombia vs. Uruguay
  • Competition: 2014 World Cup (round of 16)
  • Date: June 28, 2014

It feels like an eternity ago now, but in the summer of 2014, burgeoning superstar James Rodriguez was the hottest commodity in world football. Young and handsome, supremely talented, and spearheading a fun, charming Colombia team, the then-22-year-old attacking midfielder was the belle of the ball at the World Cup in Brazil.

He captured the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer – despite playing fewer than 400 minutes as his country bowed out to the host nation in the quarterfinals – ultimately finding the net six times in just five games.

Of his sextet of goals, none left a mark on the competition quite like his gorgeous volley against Uruguay in the last-16. It was so spectacular that it’s easy to forget Rodriguez also scored the other goal in Colombia’s 2-0 win at the iconic Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Nobody remembers that second one, though. His opener, a perfect volley from 25 yards out that was eventually named the best goal of the tournament, was that damn special.

Here’s the breathtaking tally in all its glory: