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Dirty Tackle

Why do we call three goals a hat trick?

Germany's Thomas Mueller, left, is greeted by Lukas Podolski after being substituted after scoring a hat-trick during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014
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Germany's Thomas Mueller, left, is greeted by Lukas Podolski after being substituted after scoring a hat-trick during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

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Germany's Thomas Muller just became the first player to notch a hat trick in this World Cup, meaning he scored three goals in one match. 

[Related: Portugal's Pepe sent off for clash of heads with Germany's Thomas Muller]

Most sporting fans know the term, often crediting it to the NHL. But the origins actually stretch further back, to a sport few Americans know well: cricket.

In 1858, famous British cricketer H.H. Stephenson scored three wickets on three consecutive deliveries. Fans collected money and bought Stephenson a hat to honor the occasion. 

Another 20 years passed before the phrase appeared in print, first written in an 1878 Sportsman article describing a cricket match. Over the following decades, many other sports started to use the phrase when describing the feat of scoring three goals in one match. By the 1940s, it was regularly appearing in NHL coverage.

[Photos: Inside the dressing rooms at the World Cup]

Muller, the 2010 World Cup Golden Boot and Best Young Player, completed his hat trick in the 78th minute to give Germany the 4-0 lead. His is the 49th hat trick in World Cup history.

The fastest World Cup hat trick ever completed came off the boot of Laszlo Kiss, who netted three within 7 minutes of each other in 1982. Pele holds the record as the youngest to score the trifecta. He was just 17 years old when he completed the feat on June 24, 1958, in the semi-final match against Sweden.

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Germany's Thomas Mueller (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal and Germany's fourth during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Germany's Thomas Mueller (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal and Germany's fourth during …

Only one player has scored a hat trick in two seperate World Cups; three have done it twice within the same year.

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