Scoring at the Fifa World Cup is seen as the pinnacle of a players career. Top World Cup goal scorers can use their goals on the world stage to force a lucrative new contract. If a club cannot meet the player’s demands, a transfer request can ensure a move to a big-spending club like Real Madrid or Man City.
The World Cup tournament in Qatar 2022 is the next big opportunity for the hotshots playing upfront. Strikers from France, Brazil, Spain, England and every nation taking part will be aiming to claim the Golden Boot award in the upcoming tournament.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top scorers from recent World Cup tournaments.
WORLD CUP 2018
HARRY KANE – 6
Harry Kane became just the second English player to win the World Cup Golden Boot. Gary Lineker was the only previous English winner back in 1986.
Despite this personal accolade and helping England reach the Semi-Final, there will always be an element of “What If” with Kane and that England team.
With England 1-0 up against Croatia, Kane had a great opportunity to make it 2 but it was not to be.
Romelu Lukaku, Denis Cheryshev, Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo – 4
All five players scored 4 times, with Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann ultimately having a dream end to the World Cup as they beat Croatia in the final.
Three of Ronaldo’s goals came in a thrilling group stage match with Spain. Romelu Lukaku helped his Belgium side to a 3rd place finish, their highest ever place in the World Cup.
Despite all the attacking talent on show, it was French defender Benjamin Pavard who scored the goal of the tournament with a stunning strike against Argentina.
WORLD CUP 2014
JAMES RODRIQUEZ – 6
Rodriquez has never quite reached the level of performance that he managed in Brazil. Despite his side being knocked out in the Quarter Finals, he won the Golden Boot and was named in the team of the tournament.
He also won the Puskas Award and the goal of the tournament with this strike against Uruguay.
THOMAS MULLER – 5
Muller’s 5 goals helped Germany to win their first World Cup since 2002. He scored the first in their 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the Semi-Final.
Lionel Messi, Neymar, Robin van Persie – 4
Messi, Neymar, and Van Persie would have all been disappointed that they didn’t go on to win the World Cup, but all impressed at different points of the competition.
Van Persie’s incredible header against Spain in the Group Stages was nominated for the Puskas Award.
WORLD CUP 2010
Thomas Müller, Wesley Sneijder, David Villa and Diego Forlán all finished the 2010 World Cup with 5 goals each.
Müller won the tournament’s Golden Boot has he the most assists with three. Sneijder, Villa Diego Forlán all had one assist each.
Villa played an integral part in Spain winning the competition, scoring 3 times in the Group Stages and helping his side recover from defeat in their first game.
WORLD CUP 2006
Miroslav Klose won the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup, taking advantage of the tournament being played in familiar surroundings in Germany.
Several players, including the Brazilian Ronaldo, scored 3 each. This would also be Ronaldo’s last World Cup. His goal against Ghana in Brazil’s last-16 match also proved to be his last goal at International level.
Also scoring 3 times was Zinedine Zidane, despite scoring in the final, he is remembered for being sent off in his last ever professional match.
WORLD CUP 2002
This was a memorable tournament for so many different reasons. Ronaldo scored the most goals with 8 and helped Brazil to reach their third straight final which they won after 2-0 win over Germany.
Fellow Brazilian Rivaldo managed an impressive 5 goals, alongside Miroslav Klose who was showing a sign of things to come.
It was a free-kick from Ronaldinho in the Quarter Final against England that, unless you are David Seaman, is one of the most fondly remembered goals from the tournament which took place in Japan and South Korea.
Ronaldinho’s speculative free-kick puts Brazil 2-1 up against England in the 2002 World Cup Quarter Final.
TOP WORLD CUP SCORERS OVERALL
Miroslav Klose – 16
Klose scored in four World Cups and was a key member of the German squad that won the competition in 2014. He also helped them reach the final in 2002.
Ronaldo – 15
Ronaldo finished his career having scored in 3 different World Cups and as the second-highest for Brazil, behind only Pelé.
Gerd Müller – 14
Müller helped his West German side win the competition in 1974 and scored 14 goals across three tournaments.
Just Fontaine – 13
Fontaine only played in one World Cup for France, having had to retire at the age of 28 due to injury. He managed an incredible 13 goals in 1958, still a record for most goals in a single tournament.
Pelé – 12
Considered by some to be the greatest ever, Pelé scored 12 goals across 4 World Cups and won the competition 3 times with Brazil.
LOOKING FORWARD TO QATAR
Jadon Sancho – England
Sancho’s first appearance at a World Cup is greatly anticipated and it will be interesting to see how he gets on and will almost certainly be key to England’s chances of improving on their Semi-Final in 2018.
Mason Greenwood – England
Greenwood burst onto the scene for Man United during the 2019/2020 season, scoring an impressive 18 goals. The big question now is whether he can continue to improve and develop.
Like Sancho, he might have an important part to play for England.
Christian Pulisic – USA
The winger, who is still only 21, has already scored an impressive 14 goals for the USA and he is an important part of their side.
The USA did not even qualify for the 2018 tournament and will be hoping that the Chelsea player can help them reach this time and thrive if they get there.
Neymar – Brazil
Neymar will be 28 by the time the competition starts, and he will see this as potentially the last World Cup tournament with him at his peak.
He had a long spell out with an injury in 2018 which affected his performance in Russia.
Only having half a domestic season before it starts could prove to be a blessing for Neymar and many others.
Leroy Sane – Germany
Sane missed out on a place in the squad in 2018, a decision that baffled a lot of people within German football. He will almost certainly be with the squad in Qatar and will be hoping to add an extra dimension to a side that struggled in Russia and did not even make it beyond the Group Stages.
Timo Werner – Germany
Unlike Sane, Timo Werner played in Russia, but he had a disappointing tournament. Having just signed for Chelsea, he will have had plenty of experience playing at the highest by the time the next tournament starts. This could prove to be important for him and this Germany side.
Yacine Adli – France
Adli has yet to be capped by the French senior team but has scored at all levels below that. He started his career off at PSG before moving to Bordeaux.
Despite his team having a disappointing season, the player impressed at times. Didier Deschamps will be watching him keenly during the new season.
Will Ronaldo Play?
Ronaldo has won everything there is to win, apart from the World Cup. Despite his age, Portugal will almost certainly want him to be part of the squad.
Winning the competition and playing an important role would arguably end the Ronaldo/Messi debate forever.
WHEN DOES QUALIFYING START?
Most of the qualifying sections, including UEFA’s, are due to start in March 2021 and are due to finish in March 2022.
The Asian section has already started and is due to finish around the same time as those other sections. Qatar have qualified automatically as hosts.
When does the 2022 World Cup take place?
The competition starts on 21st November 2022 and finishes on 18th December.
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