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The Most Important Records in the History of the FIFA World Cup

Since the inaugural tournament in 1930, the FIFA World Cup has thrown up countless stories, unbelievable drama and crucially, it has been responsible for a number of incredible statistical records. Many of these records have been remained intact for several decades whereas others have been set at recent tournaments such as Russia 2018. 

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, we’ve taken a look at some of the most notable and important records from across the previous 21 editions. 

Most Goals by an Individual Player 

Miroslav Klose (16)

Ahead of each tournament, there is always a clamour amongst football fans to identify potential breakout players. Supporters are always keen to predict the tournament top goalscorer too, although working out which players will secure the Golden Boot can be far from a straightforward task. With countless World Cup betting offers available, wagering on the top goalscorer market remains one of the most popular ways for punters to ramp up their excitement ahead of the opening group game. Nevertheless, there have been a number of surprise Golden Boot winners over the last few decades, including Colombia’s James Rodriguez in 2014. 

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the tournament is that Miroslav Klose secured the Golden Boot on just a single occasion (2006). The German striker notched 16 times at the tournament across his 24 appearances and his outstanding achievement looks unlikely to be matched anytime soon. 

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Most Clean Sheets by an Individual Goalkeeper

Peter Shilton / Fabien Barthez (10)

Having focused on the top goal-scorers at the tournament, it only seems fair to praise the goalkeepers too. There have been a number of legendary stoppers who have featured at this iconic event including Gordon Banks, Gianluigi Buffon and Iker Casillas, however, England’s Peter Shilton and Fabian Barthez currently hold the record for most clean sheets at the tournament. The latter was instrumental in Les Bleus’ World Cup 1998 success on home soil. 

Most Successful Team 

Brazil (5 wins)

Although they haven’t been victorious since 2002, Brazil remain the most successful team at the World Cup. The Selecao are also the last side to clinch consecutive victories at this event, winning both the 1958 and 1962 edition. Although they haven’t been able to match Brazil’s impressive total, Argentina, Germany and France have also been successful on multiple occasions. 

Most Goals in a Single Match 

Austria 7-5 Switzerland (1954)

The 1954 World Cup threw up a number of memorable matches including Hungary 8-3 West Germany and Hungary 9-0 South Korea (not quite so memorable for South Korea). However, it was also responsible for the tournaments’ highest-scoring match to date – Austria 7-5 Switzerland. This match, played in Lausanne, featured a hat-trick from Theodore Wagner and was packed full of drama and goalmouth action. 

Fastest Goal 

Hakan Sukur – Turkey (2002)

If you’re sitting down to watch a match at the FIFA World Cup, you can be forgiven for missing the opening few minutes as the two teams meander their way through the opening exchanges. However, if this was the case in 2022, you would have missed Hakan Sukur’s strike after just 10 seconds! This feat was even more impressive given that fact that the opposition (South Korea) had kicked off the match. 

Highest Number of Cards 

Javier Mascherano (7)

Although the iconic duo of Cafu and Lothar Matthaus come close, nobody has yet managed to surpass Javier Mascherano’s total of seven yellow cards at the tournament. The Argentine midfielder was famed for his combative style and averaged a booking every 257 minutes at the tournament. 

Highest Number of Cards in a Single Match

16 – Portugal vs Netherlands (2006) and Cameroon vs Germany (2002)

There have been a number of feisty matches throughout the history of the tournament, however, the officials were extremely busy during these two ties. Dubbed the ‘Battle of Nuremburg’, this highly-contest round of 16 match holds the record for producing four red cards and 16 yellows. This was a new record with Russian referee Valentin Ivanov probably requiring a brand new notebook for his next assignment. Although it wasn’t quite as memorable, Cameroon vs Brazil in 2002 did break the record for most yellow cards (previously set at 12), although many fans are still in disbelief that former captain and current Cameroon manager Rigobert Song wasn’t dismissed during the 90 minutes. 

Highest Number of Group Stage Eliminations 

South Korea and Scotland (8)

With the games arriving thick and fast, it’s always important to make a fast start at the tournament. As a result, teams such as England and Germany will have to ensure that their pre-tournament preparations are pitch perfect. Nevertheless, both South Korea and Scotland will fans will asking whether their teams are undergoing rigorous enough preparations. Both teams have made eight group stage exits at this event and with the former drawn alongside Portugal and Uruguay in Group H in Qatar, it may end up being a similar story this time around. 

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