How Often Do Players Score Two or More Goals at the World Cup?

two nil score wooden blocks on football pitchFor 2022 Qata shelled out around $200 billion in various areas. This includes transport links, hotels, stadiums and more. A variety of celebrities are also heading to the country to help promote the event.

Despite Qatar not having the strongest reputation in many areas it turned out to be a fantastic World Cup producing a record 172 goals. It received a heap of backlash over several issues but in football terms it was a resounding success.

The final itself was thrilling resulting in a 2-2 draw after full time between France and Argentina that went to 3-3 after extra-time with Argentina only able to edge it 4-2 on penalties.  In that game Lionel Messi scored twice (once in normal time and once in extra-time) and Kylian Mbappé scored the first World Cup hat-trick since Geoff Hurst in 1966.  He did this with two goals in normal time and one in extra time.  Three of those goals between them were penalties but goals are goals and ultimately that is what we care about here, players that score twice or more in  World Cup games.

Even with the 2026 World Cup expanding to 48 teams and involving 80 matches there will still be many top-tier nations battling it out on the pitch. With this being the case, the number of goals scored across the tournament should be high. But how often do players score two or more goals when partaking in the World Cup? Is it common for the person who scores the first goal to score the second? Let’s take a closer look at the frequency of a player scoring two or more goals.

A Few Basic Facts and Figures

world cup branded coke bottles 1998 to 2018

When it comes to the World Cup, the 22 editions of such have brought about more than 2,200 goals. This does not include penalties scored during shoot-outs.

The very first goal to occur was in the 1930 FIFA World Cup. This saw Frenchman Lucien Laurent make history in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. France also went on to win the game 4-1 over Mexico. Since that time, more than 1,250 players have kicked the ball into the net. Of that total, 97 footballers have scored five or more times.

Going back to that inaugural tournament in 1930, there was a top goalscorer as well. He came in the shape of Guillermo Stábile of Argentina. Since that time, only 22 players have gone above and beyond that figure. The first person to outdo Stábile’s record was Sándor Kocsis of Hungary in 1954, who scored 11. Then, at the very next tournament, Just Fontaine of France hit the number 13. He achieved that after having played only six matches.

There is also an overall record in place, which compiles goals scored across World Cups. Gerd Muller of West Germany acquired this in 1974 when he acquired his 14th goal in the final that year. His 14-goal record across several World Cups remained in place for over three decades.

It was only broken by Ronaldo Nazário who scored 15 for Brazil between 1998 and 2006. That record was then outdone between 2002 and 2014 by Germany’s Miroslav Klose and his total of 16.

Of all the World Cups to have taken place, only six players have achieved an average of two goals or more per game played. They are:

  • Sándor Kocsis (Hungary)
  • Just Fontaine (France)
  • Guillermo Stábile (Argentina)
  • Oleg Salenko (Russia)
  • Josef Hügi (Switzerland)
  • Ernst Wilimowski (Poland)

The last of the players in that list, Wilimowski, scored four goals in his single World Cup game played in 1938.

The 98 footballers who are the top Goalscorers have represented 28 countries. There are 14 of these from Brazil and another 14 from Germany/West Germany. Altogether, 65 of the 98 came from Europe, 29 from South America and only four from other nations. They are Cameroon, Ghana, Australia and the United States of America.

Top Players With 10 Goals or More at World Cups

PlayerTeamGoals ScoredTournaments
Miroslav KloseGermany162002, 2006, 2010, 2014
Ronaldo NazárioBrazil15(1994), 1998, 2002, 2006
Gerd MüllerWest Germany141970, 1974
Just FontaineFrance131958
Lionel MessiArgentina132006, (2010), 2014, 2018, 2022
PeléBrazil121958, 1962, 1966, 1970
Kylian MbappéFrance122018, 2022
Sándor KocsisHungary111954
Jürgen KlinsmannWest Germany/Germany111990, 1994, 1998
Helmut RahnWest Germany101954, 1958
Gary LinekerEngland101986, 1990
Gabriel BatistutaArgentina101994, 1998, 2002
Teófilo CubillasPeru101970, 1978, (1982)
Thomas MüllerGermany102010, 2014, (2018), (2022)
Grzegorz LatoPoland101974, 1978, 1982

Years in brackets represent tournaments the players played in or were in the squad but did not score

We have spoken of several players to have achieved goal success at World Cups already. But to put things into better context, you can see the table above. This displays the top players to have scored at least five goals in World Cup tournaments. Some of them have achieved these goals across many tournaments, and others in a single one.

Each edition of the World Cup has also seen a top goalscorer marked out. It is the case that this has always been different, though. Never has a player been the top goalscorer in the World Cup twice. The table of more recent top scoring players for each tournament is as follows:

EventPlayerTeamGoals Scored
Qatar 2022Kylian MbappéFrance8
Russia 2018Harry KaneEngland6
Brazil 2014James RodríguezColombia6
South Africa 2010Thomas Müller
David Villa
Wesley Sneijder
Diego Forlán
Germany 2006Miroslav KloseGermany5
South Korea/Japan 2002RonaldoBrazil8
France 1998Davor ŠukerCroatia6
United States 1994Hristo Stoichkov
Oleg Salenko
Italy 1990Salvatore SchillaciItaly6
Mexico 1986Gary LinekerEngland6
Spain 1982Paolo RossiItaly6

What About 2+ Goals in a Single Game?

football goal ball made of country flagsThe facts, figures and tables so far have looked at World Cup tournaments altogether. Is it common for footballers to score more than one goal in a single match, though? We know that Ernst Wilimowski scored four in his only game of the 1938 World Cup. Has this type of scenario occurred again since that time? If so, is it a frequent occurrence, or is it something that has happened only once or twice?

If you go back to the very first FIFA World Cup in 1930, you can see it occurred then. In the game between France and Mexico that Laurent scored first in, another player scored twice. Andre Maschinot claimed the third and fourth goals of that match for France.

The feat of Wilimowski in ’38 has already been mentioned. It wasn’t until the 1958 game between France and West Germany that the record for goals in a single match was outdone. Just Fontaine scored four for France, picking up the first, third, fifth and sixth goals. That, of course, led him to his 13-goal total across six games.

It’s quite astonishing when you think about it. After all, today’s footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo are held in high esteem. Yet they are not involved in lists of the top goalscorers at World Cups. Actually, it refreshes your memory that football is a game of eras. Fontaine and Kocsis never scored in any other World cup than the ones they made history in. Yet in those tournaments, they scored 13 and 11 goals in total, respectively.

Closer Look Top Five Players To Have Scored The Most

Just Fontaine

Holding the record of 13 goals in only six matches is very impressive. France was readying itself to face off against West Germany on June 28, 1958. Fontaine was already coveting nine goals from previous games.

He matched the previous record of 11 goals by the 36-minute mark. Then, in the 78th minute, he upped that to 12. Then, at minute 89, he added another on top to make things even better. Only one player has reached double digits since Fontaine’s impressive legacy.

Sándor Kocsis

Four years before Fontaine secured his legacy, Kocsis was setting his own up. He became the very first player in a World Cup to reach a double-digit goal mark. Before that, he had managed to secure a hat trick against South Korea. A group-stage game against West Germany also saw him become the first player to score several hat tricks.

Fontaine has, of course, done it since then, and so has the main coming next. Kocsis has an average of 2.2 goals per game in World Cups. This puts him second for best average behind Wilimowski.

Gerd Müller

In the 1962 World Cup, nobody scored more than four goals. By 1970, that total across the tournament had more than doubled. West Germany may not have won the trophy, but Gerd Müller left quite the impression. He scored in the 94th and 110th minutes of a knockout stage match against Italy. Even though Italy advanced to the final in the end, Müller had chalked up various accolades.

He remains as the last player to score two hat tricks in a single World Cup. Only Gabriel Batistuta has managed such a feat across several World Cups since.


There were no World Cup events in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II. Yet in 1950, the event returned, taking place in Brazil. This country finished third in 1938, and it wasn’t able to secure the win in ’50, either. It did manage to establish Brazil as one of the elites in football, though. The official counts for attendance at the Maracanã for the final are still disputed.

Yet this was not the only figure in question. A goal scored by Brazil at the 57th minute went to Jair at first. Yet in the end, it was Ademir who acquired it, giving him his ninth of the tournament. At the time, Guillermo Stábile held a record eight goals from the 1930 tournament. Instead, Brazil outdid that record, despite Uruguay lifting the trophy.


Many people are aware that Cristiano Ronaldo has scored seven World Cup goals for Portugal. Should he do well in Qatar this year, he could become the country’s best scorer. This requires him to score at least three to take the record. It’s not likely that he’ll get nine in the tournament, though. Eusébio holds that record for Portugal, picking the goals up in 1966.

His ninth goal in the tournament came thanks to a penalty. Actually, four of his goals in the tournament were penalty shots, which is a joint record. Rob Rensenbrink of the Netherlands and Batistuta of Argentina also own such. Those two did it in at least 12 games, though. Eusébio did it in only six. The four penalties came in a three-match span.

To Conclude

world cup trophy and ballAs you can see, it isn’t altogether that often that players score more than one goal in World Cup matches. It has happened in the past and there is the potential for it to happen again in the future.

It is more common for players to break records of goals scored across several tournaments. Again, there is the potential for new records relating to this to form in the future. The World Cup 2026 is only round the corner and will feature a record number of teams (48) and games (80), so time will tell on any new records.

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