Friday, 5 March 2010


Two Brazilians, two Germans - no surprises there. The two most successful nations in the history of the World Cup have produced four of the five all-time top scorers. But what is the nationality of the player third in the list? And who tied for fifth place with the German striker who also managed his country to a third-placed finish four years ago on home soil?

1. RONALDO (Brazil, 15 goals)

Ronaldo scored four goals at France 1998 (including one penalty), top-scored in 2002 with eight goals as Brazil won their fifth World Cup (including both goals in the 2-0 win against Germany in the Final) and added three more at Germany 2006. When he scored Brazil's opening goal in the fifth minute of their second round clash with Ghana, he overtook Gerd Muller's record to become the leading World Cup marksman of all time. Rumours of him returning to the Brazilian squad for South Africa 2010 to try and add to his record tally are surely wide of the mark.

2. GERD MULLER (Germany, 14 goals)

Muller's international goals record makes sensational reading: 62 appearance for his country, and 68 goals. He notched up 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, which included one penalty and two hat-tricks in the group stages. In 1974 in Germany Muller scored another four goals, including the winning goal against Holland in the Final to secure Germany's second World Cup triumph.

3. JUST FONTAINE (France, 13 goals)

The truly extraordinary thing about Just Fontaine is that his 13 goals were all scored at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. He scored six times in the groups stages, two in the quarter-final and one in the semi-final defeat against Brazil. Leaving the best to last, he then added a further four in the third place match with Germany to create a record for goals in one World Cup tournament which will surely never be broken.

4. PELE (Brazil, 12 goals)

Pele's World Cup goals haul was spread over the four tournaments between 1958 and 1970. In 1958 in Sweden he scored six, setting a host of records in the process. Brazil won the World Cup that year for the first time, and Pele's goal in the quarter-final win over Wales made him the youngest player ever to score in the finals. In the semi-final he became the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup in the 5-2 battering of France. And a goal in the Final made him the youngest player to find the net in a World Cup Final. All three records stand to this day. In 1962 he scored in Brazil's opening group match against Mexico but was injured in the next game and missed the rest of the tournament. Brazil successfully defended their title, and had Pele played throughout it's quite conceivable that his name would be at the top of this list instead of Ronaldo. He added another goal in the 1966 tournament in England, before hitting four in 1970 as Brazil claimed the trophy yet again.

5= JURGEN KLINSMANN (Germany, 11 goals)

The German maestro was an integral member of West Germany's World Cup winning side of 1990, scoring three times, including a vital goal in the second-round win against European neighbours and historical rivals Holland. Five goals at USA 94 was an impressive haul given that the Germans went out in the quarter-finals to Bulgaria, and at France 98, in his last World Cup as a player, Klinsmann added three more goals to take his total to 11 and place him fifth in the list of all-time World Cup goalscorers.

5= SANDOR KOCSIS (Hungary, 11 goals)

A prolific goalscorer from Hungary's golden era. Like Just Fontaine, Kocsis netted all of his 11 goals in one tournament - the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, which was the only tournament he played in. The 'Magical Magyars' won their two group games 9-0 and 8-3 respectively, with Kocsis scoring seven times in the two matches. He added two more in both the quarter-final and semi-final wins over Brazil and Uruguay. His average of 2.2 goals per game in the tournament remains a record.

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