Greatest Scorers in World Cup History

Greatest Scorers in World Cup History

Only seven players have scored 11 goals or more in the history of the World Cup. Two from Brazil, Pele and Ronaldo; one, Sandor Kocsis, is from Hungary; another is from France, Just Fontaine. West Germany or Germany with Jurgen Kilnsmann, Gerd Muller and Miroslav Klose.

Klose is the leading scorer among active players as well who will be playing in the 2014 tournament. David Villa of Spain with 8 goals comes next, with Diego Forlan who has six World Cup goals coming after him.

Jürgen Klinsmann, West Germany/Germany – 11 Goals

Jürgen Klinsmann

Now the head coach of the United States national team and the 2006 head coach of the German side that reached the semifinal, Klinsmann appeared 17 times in three World Cups (1990-1998), scoring 11 times. He scored three times in 1990, including that famous 2-1 win over the Netherlands; he had five goals in the 1994 World Cup, and added three in 1998. He was part of the 1990 side that finished with the title.

Sándor Kocsis, Hungary – 11 Goals

Sandor Kocsis

Just one World Cup, but 11 goals in five matches for Kocsis, one of the finest players of the Mighty Magyars. Hungary finished with a shocking loss in that final to West Germany 3-2. Kocsis scored four goals in the group stage win over the same West Germany side (8-3) and added five more against Brazil and Uruguay in the quarter and semifinals.

Pele, Brazil – 12 Goals


Edson Arantes do Nascimento might not be the greatest footballer of all-time, but he is certainly the best when it comes to World Cup performances. He has 12 goals in 14 matches, winning the tournament three times although he didn’t appear in the 1962 final due to injury. He exploded onto the scene as a teenager in 1958, scoring six goals, including a hat trick in the semifinal against France and a brace against Sweden in the final. In 1970 he scored four more goals, including the opener in the win over Italy in the final. He won the Golden Ball (best player) in the 1970 tournament.

Just Fontaine, France – 13 Goals

Just Fontaine

Just Fontaine appeared in just one World Cup, 1958, but that was enough for him to set a record for most goals in a World Cup with 13 goals in five matches. He began with a hat trick against Paraguay, a brace against Yugoslavia and another against Scotland in the group stage. He added two in the quarterfinals against Northern Ireland, one in the 5-2 loss to Brazil in the semifinals and four more in the 6-3 explosion over West Germany in the third-place match.

Gerd Müller, West Germany – 14 Goals

Gerd Muller

Few players have the scoring record of Gerd Muller, not just in the World Cup. He has 68 goals in 62 caps for the national side and 398 goals for Bayern Munich in 453 appearances. He took part of only two World Cups: 1970 and 1974, but made quite the impression. He won the golden boot in Mexico with 10 goals in six matches as West Germany reached the semifinal and added four more in 1974, including the winner in the final.

Miroslav Klose, Germany – 15 Goals

Miroslav Klose

He had 14 goals in three World cups: 2002, 2006 and 2010, making it happen in 19 matches. He is in the squad for a fourth World Cup, and has an excellent chance of finding himself in first place by the end of Germany’s run this time. He was the top scorer of the 2006 World Cup with five goals, including against Argentina in the quarterfinals. He scored five in the 2002 tournament, including a hat trick in the 8-0 win over Saudi Arabia. He added four more in 2010, with the opener against England in the round of 16 and twice against Argentina in the quarterfinals. Against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup, he scored coming off the bench to become joint top scorer.

Ronaldo, Brazil – 15 Goals


Maybe the best striker in history, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima appeared in three different World Cups, scoring his 15 goals in 19 appearances. He didn’t play in 1994, but scored four goals for Brazil on their way to the final, including twice against Chile in the round of 16 and another against the Dutch in the semifinal. His biggest moment came in 2002 despite the injuries prior to that, leading Brazil to their fifth trophy with 8 goals, winning the Golden Boot and shoe. He scored twice in the final against Germany in the 2-0 win. In 2006 he broke the record, scoring three times in the tournament: Twice against Japan and once against Ghana in the round of 16.

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