Skip to content
Join
Football
  1. Football
  2. World Cup

World Cup: A history of top goalscorers

France's Just Fontaine holds the record for most goals scored at a single World Cup with 13, as any self-respecting football fan or pub quiz regular will tell you.

Miroslav Klose of Germany, meanwhile, holds the record for most World Cup goals in a career, with a 16-goal mark which is unlikely to be challenged in Qatar.

As football fans think about who wins top goalscorer honours this time, we take a look at the feats of Fontaine and Klose and have a look at some of the other goalscoring heroics which have lit up World Cups down the years.

Just in a class of his own

Six games played, 13 goals scored, history made. Take a bow Just Fontaine of France, statistically at least the greatest one-tournament goalscorer of them all.

It was the 1958 tournament in Sweden where Fontaine had his moment in the sun. The Reims striker scored in all six matches he played in, saving his best until last with four goals in France's 6-3 demolition of West Germany for third place.

Related World Cup News

World Cup: Winners you've never heard of

World Cup: Cult heroes

World Cup: Stadium Guides - From Al Khor to Lusail

He is one of only three players to have hit double figures in a World Cup - Sandor Kocsis of Hungary managed 11 four years earlier and Gerd Muller ten in 1970 - and he is the only Frenchman to have ever worn the coveted Golden Boot.

How France, 15/2 to win this year's World Cup, would love to have a predator of Fontaine's calibre in their ranks, especially as they reel from the pre-finals injury sustained by Karim Benzema.

Klose leads way in German efficiency

Brazil have had the most top or joint top goalscorers in a World Cup with five different players leading the way, most recently the wonderful Ronaldo, who was out on his own in 2002 with eight goals.

There can only be one Golden Boot winner, however, at any World Cup and three Brazilians - Leonidas (1938), Ademir (1950) and Ronaldo (2002) - and three Germans have won that.

The great Gerd Muller, with his ten-goal haul in 1970, was the first German (then West German) to win it, followed by Miroslav Klose in 2006 and Thomas Muller, who pipped David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan on the tiebreak four years later.

Muller, of course, is still going strong with ten career goals and could yet inch closer to Klose's record-breaking tally of 16 as part of a German side who are 11/1 to win the cup.

Kane gunning for golden double

Muller might not be a guaranteed starter for Germany these days but, while the Bayern Munich veteran is on the pitch, he has a chance of becoming the first man to win the Golden Boot twice.

The only other player in Qatar who can realise that dream is England's Harry Kane, who landed the honours in Russia four years ago with his six goals.

That made the England skipper the first man since Gary Lineker to score six goals in a major finals, Lineker reaching his milestone at Mexico in 1986.

Lineker is England's all-time record goalscorer at World Cups with ten - he popped in another four at Italia '90 - and that will be on Kane's radar at some point, especially as the Tottenham man is only 29.

One record that he cannot break at these finals, and nor can anyone else, is the honour of being the only Englishman to have scored in three different finals, that accolade belonging to David Beckham.

If Kane goes well then England will fancy their chances of landing World Cup glory at 7/1.

Six the magic mark to have top-scorer hope

Since 1974 there have been 11 World Cups and top scorer honours have been landed with exactly six goals at eight of those.

Only once in that period has six goals been beaten, by Ronaldo in 2002.

The lowest winning mark came in Chile in 1962 where there was a six-way tie at the top with four goals, the Golden Boot being claimed by Leonel Sanchez of the hosts.

Inevitably, the top goalscorer honours has historically been a shootout between South America and Europe with the odd Mexican challenger thrown in.

Away from the football heartlands, Roger Milla is the top-scoring African at a World Cup, banging in four for Cameroon in 1990. Bert Patenaude is the top scorer from the USA, also with four, in 1930.

Will the likes of Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech, Brenden Aaronson or Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting be able to put those numbers under threat this time?

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy