Miroslav Klose, the German striker, is the highest scorer in the history of FIFA World Cup with 16 goals. He made his brilliant performances on his debut in the 2002 FIFA World Cup with five goals. It was followed by five goals in 2006, four goals in 2010 and two goals in 2014. He was awarded the Golden Boot in the 2006 World Cup.
Ronaldo, the Brazilian striker, is the second highest scorer in the FIFA World Cup's soccer history with 15 goals. His contributions were four goals in the 1998 World Cup, eight goals in the 2002 World Cup and again three goals in the 2006 World Cup. He won both Golden Ball and Golden Boot in 1998 and 2002 World Cups respectively. Besides, he is one of the three footballers, who won the FIFA World Cup Player of the Year. The others are Zinedine Zidane of France and Lionel Messi of Argentina. Currently, Ronaldo is a retired footballer.
Gerd Muller, the prolific German retired striker, is the third highest FIFA scorer with 14 goals. He scored 10 goals in the 1970 World Cup and again four goals in the 1974 World Cup respectively. He won the Golden Boot in the 1970 World Cup. Pele, the soccer legend of Brazil named Muller the world's greatest living footballer in the FIFA 100 list.
Just Fontaine, the French retired striker, is the fourth highest FIFA scorer with 13 goals. He scored the highest number of goals, a feat ever attained by a single player in a single 1958 World Cup. He scored his 13 goals in just six matches. For his remarkable goals, he obtained the Golden Boot honour in that World Cup. In 2014, Pele included Fontaine as one of the greatest living footballers in his 125 FIFA list.
Pele, the retired Brazilian forward, is the fifth highest FIFA scorer with 12 goals. He scored six goals in the 1958 World Cup, one goal apiece in 1962 and 1966 World Cups and four goals in the 1970 World Cup. In that World Cup, he was also honoured with the Golden Ball award. He is widely known as the best footballer of all time. In 1999, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) voted him the World Footballer of the Century. He helped the US in making soccer more popular. In 1975, he signed a $3.5 million contract with New York's Cosmos Club, and in 1977, Cosmos became champions in the North American Soccer League (NASL). Pele was behind it. In 2010, he was named the Honorary President of New York Cosmos.
Hat-tricks: In FIFA terms, hat-trick means the three consecutive goals by a single player in a single match. There can be double hat-tricks. Hat-trick can be scored by both winning and losing sides, too. It is rare, but all World Cups witnessed hat-tricks except 2006 World Cup.
In the 1930 World Cup, the first of its kind, the first hat-trick was scored by Bet Patenaude of the USA against Paraguay.
Four footballers scored double hat-tricks. They are Sandor Kocsis of Hungary against South Korea and against the then West Germany, both in the 1954 World Cup, Just Fontaine of France against Paraguay and West Germany in 1958 World Cup, Gerd Muller of West Germany against Bulgaria and Peru in the 1970 World Cup and Gabriel Batistuta of Argentina against Greece in the 1994 World Cup and against Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup. Each of Batistuta's third goal was from a penalty kick.
Oleg Salenko of Russia is the only footballer who scored five goals in a single match against Cameroon in the 1994 World Cup.
Earnest Wilimowski is the only footballer who scored four goals for the losing side Poland with Brazil winning by 5-6 in the 1938 World Cup.
Josef Hugi of Switzerland and Igor Belanov of Soviet Union are the only two footballers who scored hat-tricks for the losing sides with Austria winning by 5-7 in the 1954 World Cup and Belgium winning by 3-4 in the extra time in the 1986 World Cup.
At the age of 17, Pele, the world's youngest footballer, scored a hat-trick against France in the 1958 World Cup.
The writer writes from Aurora, IL, USA.
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