2018 FIFA World Cup™
29 days to go: Scoring sensations
14 May 2018
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is drawing ever nearer – with just 29 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.
29 players from 19 countries have had the honour of being the leading or joint-leading goalscorer at the 20 previous editions of the FIFA World Cup™. Argentina’s Guillermo Stabile was the first of them, courtesy of the eight goals he scored at the inaugural world finals at Uruguay 1930, while Colombia’s James Rodriguez was the latest to join that list, thanks to his six-goal haul at Brazil 2014.
France’s Just Fontaine still holds the record for the most goals scored at a single World Cup: 13 at Sweden 1958. Gerd Muller ran him close in grabbing ten goals to help West Germany finish third at Mexico 1970, while the scoring honours were very evenly shared at Chile 1962, with six players sharing top spot with four goals apiece.
At every World Cup between Argentina 1978 and France 1998, the leading goalscorers each struck six goals. Mario Kempes started the trend, with Paolo Rossi continuing it at Spain 1982, followed by Gary Lineker at Mexico 1986, Salvatore Schillaci at Italy 1990, Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov at USA 1994, and Davor Suker in France. Brazil striker Ronaldo then raised the bar once more with eight goals at Korea/Japan 2002.
Ronaldo’s overall tally of 15 World Cup goals beat the record set by Muller in 1974 and stood until 2014, when Germany’s Miroslav Klose struck the 16th goal of a career that spanned four consecutive world finals. Just for good measure, Klose also bowed out with a World Cup winners’ medal in Brazil.