Monday, 5 April 2010


In the 18 World Cups that have taken place, the side that has won the tournament has also been the top scorers in that tournament on eight occasions. And as you will see from the following list, the top three goalscoring nations (by tournament) did NOT win the World Cup. It just goes to show that it's not ALL about goals. In ascending order, then, the top five highest scoring nations by tournament...

5= Argentina 1930 / Brazil 2002 (18 goals)

Argentina lost the first ever World Cup Final to Uruguay in 1930, scoring two in the Final to add to the 10 they had scored in the group stages and the six they put past the USA in the semi-final. Brazil in 2002 were one of the eight teams to have top scored in the tournament and won it. 11 goals came in their three group games; in the knock-out stages Brazil scored twice in the second round, the quarter-final and the Final, whilst a single goal was enough to win them the semi-final.

4. Brazil 1970 (19 goals)

Brazil scored 'only' eight goals in the group stages, a surprising stat given that they ended the tournament with 19, meaning that in the more testing ground of the knock-out stages they notched a further 11; four against Peru in the quarters, three against Uruguay in the semis and four more in the magnificent Final against Italy. They became the first nation that year to win the World Cup and top score at the tournament for a second time - the first time they had achieved this was in 1962.

3. Brazil 1950 (22 goals)

13 of the 22 goals came in the Final Group phase in which four teams all played each other. As host nation Brazil were favourites, and winning their first World Cup seemed inevitable after they thrashed Sweden and Spain 7-1 and 6-1 respectively, leaving them only needing to draw against Uruguay in the last match to take the trophy. They led 1-0 in front of a delirious crowd of nearly 200,000 at the Maracana, but were caught out by two goals in the last quarter of the match as Uruguay claimed a second Title.

2. France 1958 (23 goals)

The amazing thing about this tally of goals is that it was achieved in just six matches - two of which the French lost! Seven against Paraguay in the first group match was followed by defeat to Yugoslavia and then victory over Scotland. Northern Ireland were put to the sword in the quarter-final before Brazil ended French hopes of winning the tournament with a 5-2 win in the last four. The third/fourth place play-off match between the losing semi-finalists gave France the chance to add a further six goals, and striker Just Fontaine ended the tournament with 13 goals.

1. Hungary 1954 (27 goals)

The Germans won't agree, but this was a tournament that Hungary should have won.
Their 27 goals were scored in just five games; 17 of them came in their two group games (9-0 against South Korea and 8-3 against West Germany). Brazil and Uruguay were both duly dispatched by a 4-2 scoreline in the quarter-final and the semi-final, and the 're-match' with Germany saw Hungary score two more within the first eight minutes. There were no more goals to come however, from the Magical Magyars, and the Germans found three of their own to complete an extraordinary comeback.

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