The material was prepared with the support of Parimatch Ukraine. Parimatch Ukraine is the first licensed online betting company born in Ukraine and the largest investor in the development of Ukrainian sports.
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Goals are what make the vast majority of football fans go to stadiums or turn on their televisions. The audience wants to see good combinations, ending with bright shots of the goal, or at least the emotions of the winners and losers. That is why attacking players are always in the spotlight to a much greater extent than their teammates who play in goal or in the defensive line. It is attacking footballers who are most often awarded prestigious individual awards, for which they fight furiously with each other…
In addition, the players of the offensive line have another serious incentive – all kinds of performance records, which are always prestigious to rewrite, because it is an opportunity to go down in history for a long time.
At the moment, the best scorer in the history of FIFA World Cups is the German Miroslav Klose, who scored 16 goals in 24 matches, having played in four consecutive World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014). Finally, the ex-forward of the German national team set his record on July 8, 2014, scoring one of the goals against the Brazilian team trampled by the Europeans (7:1) in the semi-finals of the World Cup at home for the Seleção. Thanks to this, Klose became the sole owner of the scoring record in the history of the World Cup, as he previously shared this achievement with the Brazilian Ronaldo, who scored 15 goals in 19 games at the World Cup.
At the 2018 World Cup, no one managed to duplicate Klose’s achievements. Will the attacking players of the national teams who will start at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar be able to do it? Let’s see, but for now let’s identify six active football players who have come closest to “Klose’s peak” and in theory can conquer it…
4-6. Neymar – 6 goals
Age: 30 years
Matches at the World Cup: 10
Neymar played his first match for the Brazilian national team in August 2010, after the Seleção returned from the World Cup in South Africa, where they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by the Netherlands (1:2). After that, the forward managed to take part in only two World Cups – 2014 and 2018. In these tournaments, Neymar looked quite good, scoring 6 goals in 10 matches. Of course, more was expected from him, and this can partly explain the lack of success of the Brazilians in the last two World Cups – in 2014, the Seleção took fourth place, and in 2018 they again stumbled in the quarter-finals at the Europeans, but this time in Belgium (1:2).
At the tournament in Qatar, Neymar is waiting for almost a miracle in Brazil again. It must be admitted that the forward is really in good form at the moment. For “Paris Saint-Germain” in the current season, he scored 15 goals in 20 matches, to which it is worth adding 12 assists. Therefore, Neymar, for whom the World Cup 2022 will probably be the last in his career, is really capable of helping Brazil reach the later stages of the tournament. However, in order to break Klose’s record, the Brazilian forward needs to score as many as 11 goals, and in the history of world championships, only two players managed to score more than ten goals in one championship, and it was a long time ago (at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland 11 Sándor Kočys scored the goals against the opponents of the Hungarian national team, and the Frenchman Just Fontaine scored 14 goals at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden)…
4-6. Lionel Messi – 6 goals
Age: 35 years old
Matches at the World Cup: 19
The main genius of modern football, Lionel Messi, who celebrated his 35th birthday in June, has not yet managed to win the World Cup together with the Argentine national team. This title of the forward “Paris Saint-Germain” is missing in the collection of trophies, which includes all other prestigious awards and cups of modern times. Therefore, the tournament in Qatar is the last chance for the Argentine national team to give a gift to its veteran and thank him for his wonderful 17 years in the “white and blue” shirt.
So far, Messi has scored only 6 goals in the final stages of the World Cup, although Leo has already participated in four World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018). The Argentinians mostly ended their performances in the quarter-finals, or in the round of 16, like four years ago, but at the tournament in Brazil in 2014 they were incredibly close to the trophy, losing the final only in extra time to Germany with a score of 0:1.
Unfortunately, Messi has yet to shine with performance at the World Championships. In 2006 he scored only one goal, in 2010 he left the tournament in South Africa completely without goals, in which he played five matches, in 2014 he had four goals on his account, and in 2018 – only one again…
4-6. Harry Kane – 6 goals
Age: 29 years old
Matches at the World Cup: 6
The key forward and main star of “Tottenham” Harry Kane, who is currently the captain of the England national team, made his debut in the national team only in March 2015, so the tournament in Qatar will be only the second World Cup for him in his career, although Harry is already 29 years old. The last World Cup was incredibly successful for Kane from the point of view of personal indicators – the English forward won the scoring race, scoring 6 goals in 6 matches. However, the England national team did not win any medals at the 2018 World Cup, finishing in fourth place.
At the 2022 World Cup, bookmakers call Kane the favorite in the fight for the Golden Boot, although, as mentioned above, the English forward will have to create a real miracle to surpass Klose’s record after the tournament in Qatar. However, if Harry can score 5-6 goals in 2022, then at the next World Cup he won’t have much left to take the championship laurels from Klose. And unlike Neymar, who said the 2022 World Cup would likely be his last, as well as the 35-year-old Messi, Kane will surely get another chance in 2026 to make it to the World Cup, which will be hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.
2-3. Luis Suarez – 7 goals
Age: 35 years old
Matches at the World Cup: thirteen
One of the best forwards in the history of Uruguayan football, Luis Suarez made his debut for the national team in February 2007 and now boasts three World Cups (2010, 2014 and 2018). Suarez’s World Cup debut was the most successful for the South Americans in 2010. At the tournament in South Africa, Uruguay generally got a very acceptable tournament grid, thanks to which the “sky-blue” reached the semi-final stage, where they lost to the Netherlands (2:3), and then lost to Germany (2:3) in the match for third place.
Luis Suarez himself has been quite stable so far in terms of performance in the final parts of the world championships. In 2010, he scored three goals, and in 2014 and 2018, he scored two goals per tournament. In the summer of this year, the 35-year-old forward left Atletico Madrid and went to his homeland, where he became a champion together with Nacional. This helped Luis to prepare well for the 2022 World Cup, after which the forward will consider options for further employment. However, among the contenders for conquering Klose Suarez’s record, it is rather possible to single out only nominally. Many factors “work” against him – the objective strength of the current Uruguay national team (it is unlikely that the “sky blue” will repeat at least their achievement of 12 years ago), age, lack of phenomenal performance at previous World Cups…
2-3. Cristiano Ronaldo – 7 goals
Age: 37 years old
Matches at the World Cup: 17
As for Lionel Messi, the World Cup in Qatar will be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last chance in an already brilliant career to win the most prestigious tournament on the planet. The Portuguese became great even without a triumph at the World Cup, but he, of course, wants his descendants to later remember him as a football player who won absolutely everything.
Ronaldo, who made his debut for the national team in August 2003, has played in four World Cups so far (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018). The most successful for the Portuguese was the 2006 tournament in Germany, when they reached the semi-finals, where they lost to France (0:1), and then in the “consolation final” they also lost to Germany (1:3). However, before the 2018 World Cup, Cristiano did not show serious results at the world championships. In 2006, 2010 and 2014, he scored exactly one goal each, and only at the last tournament was he able to score 4 goals at once. Moreover, in all cases, Ronaldo excelled exclusively in the group stage of the final tournaments, which casts serious doubt on Cristiano’s ability to pull the Portuguese to the top this time as well. And even at the club level, the 37-year-old veteran is not shining at all these days, having turned into a Manchester United reserve player, and recently saying a lot of insulting things to the Red Devils…
1. Thomas Muller – 10 goals
Age: 33 years old
Matches at the World Cup: 16
Thomas Müller made his debut for the German national team in March 2010, and soon went to his first World Cup in South Africa. At the moment, Muller has played in three World Cups (2010, 2014 and 2018), and is preparing to surprise everyone with his performance in the fourth. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the most successful for Germany and Muller. Then the European national team became the world champion, and Thomas scored 5 goals and became the second in the scoring race. It is interesting that at the 2010 World Cup, Muller also scored 5 goals, but then, together with Villa, Sneijder and Forlan, he shared the laurels of the best scorer of the championship.
But the 2018 World Cup turned out to be a complete failure for both Muller and the German national team. The football player did not score a single productive action in three matches, and the Germans left the tournament after the group stage, sensationally failing to even make it to the playoffs. Therefore, the championship in Qatar looks like a chance for Germany to make amends for the previous failure, and Muller has already shown that scoring 5-6 goals per tournament is not an overwhelming task for him. After all, who else would beat a German’s record if not another German, right?
PS By the way, about Mueller’s scoring abilities. It is interesting that Thomas played 15 matches at the European Championships, which is almost equal to the number of matches he played at the World Championships (16). But, unlike the World Cup, at the European Championships, Muller does not have a single (!!!) goal to his credit… Is he saving everything exclusively for the World Championships?..
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