World Cup: Top 5 goals of the group stage

Brazil's Philippe Coutinho scores their first goal against Switzerland, on June 17, 2018.
Brazil's Philippe Coutinho scores their first goal against Switzerland, on June 17, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

The first round of the 2018 World Cup has given football fans great entertainment as goalscoring records were smashed in Russia.

The first 48 games have yielded 122 goals and only one match - France vs Denmark, was goalless. All 32 participating teams have scored at least two goals or more for the first time.

A record 25 goals were scored in the 85th minute or later, shading the previous record of 24 set in 1998.

There have been 24 penalties awarded in Russia, with 18 scored - both record tallies. And nine unfortunate own-goals were scored so far to beat the previous record of six set in 1998.

But it is the spectacular ones that will get fans talking and preserving videos of it for YouTube posterity. The Straits Times selects five of the best netbusters so far.

1. Toni Kroos (Germany) vs Sweden

Five minutes into stoppage time and its World Cup hopes in the balance, it took great composure for German midfielder Kroos to conjure up this late winner. From an oblique angle, he felt there was little chance his free-kick could hit the target. So by tapping it to Marco Reus, who stopped the ball to give him a clearer sight of goal, Kroos lashed the ball with swerve and venom to bulge the net and give Germany the win. It was to be Die Mannschaft's highlight of the tournament before their shock early exit.

2. Son Heung-min (South Korea) vs Mexico

The Tottenham Hotspur forward's stock just keeps rising and rising. Having proven himself in the Bundesliga and the Premier League, Korea's top player lit up the World Cup with two memorable goals. He ran half the length of the pitch to tap in after Manuel Neuer had gone Awol. But in an earlier game against Mexico, Son cut in from the right flank before launching a heat-seeking missile with his left boot right into the top corner. The Taeguk Warriors may have been eliminated but they won many fans over with goals like this.

3. Iago Aspas (Spain) vs Morocco

While there have been several piledrivers to light up this tournament, Aspas' goal against Morocco takes the cake for its wit. With Spain trailing 1-2 and stoppage time approaching, the Celta Vigo forward ran to meet a cross from the right wing. Instead of trapping the ball before turning to shoot, Aspas cheekily went airborne to flick it into the net with a backheel for a wonderful piece of improvisation to rescue a draw.

4. Ahmed Musa (Nigeria) vs Iceland

In a disappointing World Cup where all four African nations bowed out after the group stage, Musa made it into a very short highlights reel for the continent. Against Iceland, the Leicester City forward demonstrated his pace and power to surge to beat the defence to Victor Moses' cross. Musa then showed a delicate first touch to kill the ball before emphatically ramming the ball for a memorable goal.

5. Philippe Coutinho (Brazil) vs Switzerland

He is the third most expensive footballer in the world at €142 million (S$223 million) and it is goals like this that showed why Barcelona shelled out the moolah to sign him from Liverpool. The attacking midfielder has made it a habit to score from long range and this is the latest addition to his greatest hits album. For added effect, the swerving and dipping ball struck the post before going across the line with Yann Sommer clawing thin air in vain.