50 days to go: Heroic hat-tricks

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 50 days to go!

In less than two months' time – on 14 June, to be precise – the 21st FIFA World Cup™ kicks off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, as the hosts take on Saudi Arabia.​

That leaves us plenty of time to enjoy a countdown. Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.​​

50 The number of hat-tricks scored at the FIFA World Cup™. Four years ago, Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri brought up the half-century by scoring all three goals in his side's 3-0 group stage victory against Honduras. That came after Thomas Muller had rattled in the first hat-trick at Brazil 2014, excelling in Germany's 4-0 defeat of Portugal.

The very first hat-trick at a finals was scored by Bert Patenaude in USA's 3-0 win against Paraguay in 1930. Meanwhile, four players have managed two separate trebles. Sandor Kocsis (Hungary, 1954), Just Fontaine (France, 1958) and Gerd Muller (West Germany, 1970) all managed the feat within the same edition, while Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta registered his two in consecutive World Cups (1994 and 1998).

The England 1966 final featured one of the most celebrated hat-tricks of all time. Wembley was the stage as Geoff Hurst hit three goals to help the Three Lions overcome West Germany 4-2. Since then, no player has plundered a treble in the showpiece match.

The record World Cup for hat-tricks was Switzerland 1954, where eight were scored. France 1938, Spain 1982 and Mexico 1986 all yielded four apiece, and since the latter tournament no edition has produced more than two.