2018 FIFA World Cup™
13 days to go: Fontaine's record haul
01 Jun 2018
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is drawing ever nearer – with just 13 days to go! 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.
13 - Records are made to be broken and almost all of them fall sooner or later. One goalscoring landmark, set by France’s Just Fontaine, has been standing for 60 years now and looks increasingly unlikely to ever be beaten. The striker set it in helping himself to 13 goals at the 1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden™, more than anyone has ever scored at a single world finals. The Stade de Reims forward struck four against West Germany, a hat-trick against Paraguay, braces in the matches with Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland, and a goal apiece against Brazil and Scotland.
“In 1958, I’d only started playing again on 15 February after a knee operation on 7 December,” he told FIFA.com in a 2014 interview, adding with a smile: “I did what I needed to come back and so, by the time June came around, I was walking on water. Like Jesus.” Ironically, the man they call Justo achieved his remarkable scoring feat in a borrowed pair of boots, with his pair falling apart in France’s last training session before travelling to Sweden. “We just had two pairs of boots at the time and no sponsors. I had nothing.” Team-mate Stephane Bruey, who had the same shoe size as Fontaine, came to the rescue, however, lending him one of his pairs. “Some of my goals were inspired by two spirits coming together inside the same shoe,” he once joked.
Beaten in the semi-finals by Brazil, Les Bleus had to settle for third place. “I quickly forgot about my personal performance,” said Fontaine. “I prefer to remember our third place than my first. At the time nobody really cared about who finished top scorer.” Whatever the case may be, the football world still remembers his wondrous achievement today.