Which players have scored the most goals in a single World Cup?

Which players have scored the most goals in a single World Cup? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It’s one thing to score a significant number of goals within one’s career, or even one season. But it’s a totally different thing to score a lofty amount within one tournament – especially the FIFA World Cup.

For generations, countries from all over the world have put their best foot forward in the quadrennial tournament. And every now and then, there is a player who manages to surpass all odds. 

Gulliermo Stabile, Just Fontaine and Ronaldo are just a few of the many players who set precedents for goal-scoring in FIFA history.

With the World Cup just around the corner, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the most decorated goalscorers in history, specifically, with those who have scored the most within a single iteration of the tournament.

Who has scored the most goals in a single World Cup?

France’s Just Fontaine holds the record for the most goals scored in a single FIFA World Cup. 

How many goals did Fontaine score?

The French football star scored 13 goals in six matches during a single FIFA World Cup. 

Four of these goals he scored against the World Cup defending champions, West Germany.

When did Fontaine solidify this record?

Fontaine achieved this record during the 1958 FIFA World Cup, which took place in Sweden.

He was named one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers of all time at a FIFA Awards Ceremony by Pelé.

What are some other notable goalscoring records in previous World Cups?

Here are the athletes with the most goals scored in a single World Cup competition:

Just Fontaine

Team: France

World Cup: 1958

Goals: 13

Sándor Kocsis 

Team: Hungary

World Cup: 1954

Goals: 11

Gerd Müller

Team: Germany

World Cup: 1970

Goals: 10

Eusébio da Silva Ferreira

Team: Portugal

World Cup: 1966

Goals: 9

Ademir Marques de Menezes

Team: Brazil

World Cup: 1950

Goals: 9

Guillermo Stábile

Team: Argentina

World Cup: 1930

Goals: 8

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima 

Team: Brazil

World Cup: 2002

Goals: 8

Leônidas da Silva

Team: Brazil

World Cup: 1938

Goals: 7

Jair “Jairzinho” Ventura Filho

Team: Brazil

World Cup: 1970

Goals: 7

Grzegorz Lato

Team: Poland

World Cup: 1974

Goals: 7

Were goals easier to score in the past?

Considering no one has even come close to Fontaine’s record since Ronaldo in 2002 with 8 goals, it’s valid to question whether time has anything to do with that.

When asked whether goals were easier to score back in the 1950s, Fontaine rebuffed.

“No, it wasn't easier to score in 1958,” Fontaine said, according to The Guardian.

“The state of the ball, the length of the trip over and the amateurism of the backroom staff made everything much more complicated than today. I had somebody else's boots as well. And the last great World Cup scorer, Ronaldo, played against teams such as China and Costa Rica. Above all else, referees protect strikers much more than they did in my day. So let me repeat it: 13 goals is an enormous total. Beating my record? I don't think it can ever be done.”

So, will the footballers competing in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar even come close? We’ll find out in November. 

When is the 2022 FIFA World Cup and how can I watch it?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is slated to take place in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18. This is the first World Cup to ever be held in the Middle East.

Matches will air on FOX, FS1, Telemundo and Universo. It is available to stream on the Fox Sports App and Peacock Premium.