Some World Cup benchmarks are there to stay forever, yet there are those bagging to be conquered at the highest level.
A load of World Cup records is up for grabs in Qatar this winter, with some achieved already in the group stages.
Here’s our list of the World Cup markers that will intrigue football fans in love with statistics.
Most World Cup goals scored
Germany manager Hansi Flick wouldn’t mind having an out-and-out striker capable of performing at the most prominent football stage after Die Mannschaft succumbed to back-to-back group-stage eliminations for the first time in the nation’s history.
Back in the days when Miroslav Klose led the line for the three-time world champions, reaching the World Cup semi-finals was the bare minimum the people expected from Germany.
The talismanic frontman was one of the main reasons, having clocked up 16 goals spread across four different tournaments to soak up the limelight as the most prolific goalscorer in the competition’s history.
However, if France ace Kylian Mbappe maintains his free-scoring form in Qatar, Klose’s record could be in jeopardy as early as 2026, with the Paris Saint-Germain man already boasting nine World Cup goals.
Most goals in a single World Cup
At 23, Mbappe is already on the cusp of joining a distinguished group of 13 players to have tallied 10+ goals in the finals, which is quite frankly going to happen sooner or later.
And if you’re interested in watching the prodigious forward trying to hit a 10-goal landmark against England, you can use these soccer streams to ensure you can watch the game live online.
But only one man has ever smashed that milestone in a single tournament, and that man was Mbappe’s countryman Just Fontaine, doing so in 1958.
Fontaine, nicknamed ‘Le Canonnier’ in his homeland, had one single shot at football prominence as he scored a whopping 13 goals in his only tournament appearance, a feat no one has repeated since.
Most different World Cup tournaments scored in
Despite parting with Manchester United in the most controversial circumstances early in the ongoing tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to the plate for Portugal again.
During his team’s enthralling 3-2 win over Ghana in their Qatar curtain-raiser, the 37-year-old superstar slotted home a penalty to become the first player to score at five different World Cups.
It’s also worth noting that four years ago in Russia, Ronaldo became the oldest player to bag a hat-trick in the finals, doing so at 33 years and 130 days to prove age is just the number in his case.
Most goals in a single World Cup game
Younger generations have probably never heard of him. Yet Oleg Salenko made World Cup history back in 1994 with arguably one of the most jaw-dropping individual performances in a single match.
The Russian notched up five goals in Russia’s 6-1 thumping of Cameroon during the group stages, which to date remains the outright record for the most goals netted in one World Cup game.
After racking up a first-half hat-trick, Salenko followed it up with a double in the second to help inspire the Russians to a futile victory over the African nation.
Even though his team failed to make it out of the group stages, his record has stood the test of time and, in all likelihood, will remain an unachievable benchmark.
Fastest World Cup goal
It was back in 2002 when Japan and South Korea co-hosted the tournament, with the latter dazzling world football with outrageous performances against more heavily fancied teams.
While the Taegeuk Warriors defied all the odds to reach the semi-finals, only to bow out to Germany, it was actually in the chaotic third-place play-off against Turkey where the magic happened.
Legendary Crescent-Stars marksman Hakan Sukur needed only 11 seconds to put his name on the scoring board before chipping in with two assists to inspire the Turks to a 3-2 win.
Fastest World Cup hat-trick
Ronaldo may be the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history, which is flattering, but it requires something special to pack a treble in just seven minutes and 42 seconds.
That is precisely what Laszlo Kiss did for Hungary against El Salvador in 1982.
However, not even his landmark achievement during the Magyars’ 10-1 humbling of the CONCACAF minnows was enough to get them out of the group stages.
Which player has won the most World Cup titles?
Brazil thrashed South Korea 4-1 in their 2023 round-of-16 tie on Monday and dedicated that success to one of the most iconic figures in football history, the great Pele.
Currently fighting the most significant battle of his life, one of the greatest to grace the game deserves tribute after forming part of the Selecao squads to win three World Cup titles between 1958 and 1970.
Which team has won the most World Cup matches?
With five Jules Rimet trophies in their cabinet, Brazil are not only the most successful team in World Cup history but also the most convincing one, having won a staggering 76 matches in the competition.
That’s eight more victories than second-placed Germany, with the gap likely to be extended by the time the Qatar showpiece reaches its climax this month.
Which team has the most draws in World Cup history?
Regardless of what their fans are inclined to think, England’s proneness to flopping at major international tournaments remains a hurdle Gareth Southgate’s men are desperate to overcome in Qatar.
Since lifting the crown as tournament hosts in 1966, the Three Lions have never qualified for the grand final again despite the reverberant ‘it’s coming home’ promise.
As bizarre as it looks, they have played out 22 draws in the finals, accounting for 30% of their overall World Cup outings, 12 of which finished scoreless.
Which team has lost the most matches in World Cup history?
Well, this unwanted record belongs to the permanent World Cup fixture Mexico, who, despite missing out on the finals on only four occasions, would want they’ve done it more often.
Holders of this dubious record have suffered as many as 28 defeats across their 60 World Cup encounters, most recently losing to Argentina in the 2023 group stages.
Interestingly, despite their household status in world football, La Albiceleste are second in this category with 24 reverses to their name.