Till date, 48 hattricks have been scored in 18 world cups. There were no hat-tricks in 2006 world cup in Germany. The 1958 world cup saw eight hat-tricks – a record number.

10. Oleg Salenko (Russia vs Cameroon, Group Stage 1994)

When Russia faced off against Cameroon in 1994 world cup, both were already eliminated. Salenko, the top scorer in the U-21 world cup in 1989 went on a scoring spree, scoring 5 goals in that match. This remains a record, till date. Russia mauled the Indomitable Lions 6-1. Salenko shared the golden boot with Stoichkov with 6 goals, despite playing 4 games less than the Bulgarian. Another record was made in this match, when Roger Milla became the oldest player to score a goal in world cup.


9. Emilio Butragueno (Spain vs Denmark, Pre-Quarter final 1986)

The Danish Dynamite had become crowd favourites with explosive football, destroying Uruguay 6-1 in a group game. On a sunny day in Queretaro, they raced to a lead; the Spanish were looking at another knock-out heart break. The Real Madrid striker Butragueno had other ideas. Taking advantage of Danish defensive frailties he ran riot, scoring four goals & single handedly knocking the Danes out.


8. Gerd Muller(West Germany vs Peru, Group League 1970)

You can’t have a list like this without Der Bomber in it. Muller was a scoring machine; he scored goals as a profession. He was in the peak of his powers in 1970, scoring two hat-tricks in two back-to-back group games; one of them came against Peru. He was not the type of guy who scored screamers, but his turning & out of the world poacher instincts made him special.

The first goal is a classic Muller goal, he chests the cross from right wing & spins around the defender with ease to score. Muller would go on to score 10 goals in this tournament, missing out on the final after a classic match against Italy in the semis. He won the golden boot.


7. Igor Belanov (USSR vs Belgium, pre-Quarter final, 1986)

The Ballon d’Or winner in 1986 is one of three players to end up on a losing side despite scoring a hat-trick. The Soviet team was made up of seven of Dynamo Kiev’s Cup Winners’ Cup winning players. Their crisp passing & technical brilliance made them one the favourites to reach the last four. Belanov & Alexandr Zavarov combined for the first two goals. Zavarov’s substitution late in the game would hit the Russian team, who lost out amidst poor refereeing calls. Belanov completed his hattrick, but the score was 4-2 in extra time by then.


6. Just Fontaine (France vs West Germany, match for 3rd place 1958)

Fontaine’s record of scoring 13 goals in a single world cup may never be broken. Forming a lethal combination with Raymond Copa, Fontaine led France to the semifinal in 1958. They were knocked out by Brazil. Fontaine, however, had saved the best for the last. In the match for third place, he banged in four goals as France steamrolled the Germans.


5. Pele (Brazil vs France, semi-final 1958)

You don’t have 17 year-olds scoring hat tricks in world cup every day. But then again, Pele wasn’t a kid you would come across everyday, either. After gathering rave reviews in group games the Black Pearl etched his name in football folklore in this match. Brazil taking on France was a clash of flair & skill, and the dream of fans who live for Joga Bonito.

Vava & Fontaine exchanged goals in first 10 minutes. Didi made it 2-1 for Brazil. Then began Pele’s magic show. A fine second half hattrick earned a 5-2 win for the legendary team. But Pele was not done; he did a sombrero for first of his two goals in the final. When the match was over Swedish player Sigge Parling later admitted he “felt like applauding” despite letting in 5 goals.


4. Leonidas & Ernest Wilmowski (Brazil vs Poland, First-Round 1938)

The most successful nation in football hadn’t set the stage on fire in it’s first two world cups. They started off the campaign against a strong Polish team. This was the first game which was televised all across France. The fans wouldn’t be disappointed. On a mud soaked pitch in Strasbourg, Brazil took the lead through Leonidas da Silva. Nicknamed “Black Diamond”, Leonidas was arguably the first Brazilian superstar. First half ended, 3-1 to Brazil.

The Polish, Wilmowski, played like a man from another planet in 2nd half. Two goals from him made it 3-3 by 59th minute. He would complete his hat trick to make it 4-4 in regulation time. Not to be undone, Leonidas turned the game in extra-time, grabbing two more goals to make it 6-4. Wilmowski did his best, but could add only one more goal as the match ended 6-5 to Brazil. This was the first time two players scored hat tricks in a single game.


3. Eusebio (Portugal vs North Korea, Quarter-Final 1966)

North Korea was an enigmatic team in ’66. The English crowd was thrilled with the industry of the little-known Asian players. Having disposed of Italy in group stages, they faced off against Portugal, who had eliminated Brazil. The capacity crowd at Goodinson Park was in for something special. The athletic Koreans raced away to a shock 3-0 lead in 25 minutes. With the crowd spurring the underdogs, it looked as if they would march on to semi finals. And then, Eusebio happened.

He scored his first on 27 minutes. He would go on to score three more goals. His corner resulting in a 5th one as Portugal ran out 5-3 winners. Every time he scored a goal the “Black Panther” would prance back to centre circle with the ball, without celebrating. His total of nine goals in ’66 helped Portugal reach the semis.


2. Geoff Hurst (England vs West Germany, Final 1966)

Did his second goal really cross the line? It’s a debate that still rages on. Irrespective of the controversy, the West Ham striker immortalized himself in English football’s finest day. Hurst was little known before the world cup. He only came into the team because star striker Jimmy Greaves got injured. It was the Germans who silenced the Wembley crowd by taking the lead.

Hurst came to the party when he headed in a Moore free-kick. The teams exchanged goals in the last 12 minutes as the match ended 2-2. The pivotal moment came in the 101st minute, Alan Ball’s cross fell to Hurst whose shot hit the bar & dropped down. Amidst protest from Germans, the goal was allowed to stand. With the Germans pushing for an equalizer, Hurst raced down the left wing to score his hat trick. England won the world cup & Hurst became the first (till date only) player to score in 3 goals in a final.


1. Paolo Rossi (Italy vs Brazil, 2nd Round Group Stage 1982)

Tele Santana’s Brazil team in ’82 was a breath of fresh air. With the cavalier approach to the game, they scored 13 goals in 4 games. After waltzing through the 1st group stage, they came up against Italy & Argentina in  the 2nd group match. As it happened Brazil would have reached the semis with a draw against Italy. Italy, on the other hand, were just hitting form. After a dreadful first round performance, they beat Argentina.

Striker Paolo Rossi, brought back from a ban in Italy, on coach Bearzot’s request, drew blanks in the first 4 games. But under the blazing sun in Barcelona, a classic encounter enfolded. Rossi came to life in the 5th minute, turning in a Cabrini cross. Brazil came back through Socrates, but Italy wrestled the lead again through Rossi.

Against the run of play, Rossi took advantage of sloppy Brazilian play to make it 2-1 on 25th minute. The end-to-end game was hardly over. Italy, known for their defense, matched Brazil blow by blow. Falcao made the scores level. With 22 minutes left, Brazil would have been wiser to play for a draw. But that team was made up of artists, who didn’t bother about trivial win-loss records. As Brazil pushed for a winner, Rossi completed a memorable hat-trick. He turned in Tardelli’s drive to win the game 3-2. A sublime Brazilian team was knocked out, while Italy didn’t look back after that game. Led by Paolo Rossi (who would score 3 more goals to take the golden boot) they effortlessly marched on to their 3rd world cup title.

Other honourable mentions:

Bert Patanuade (USA vs Paraguay, Group Stage 1930): Scorer of the first ever hat trick in a world cup.

Laszlo Kiss (Hungary vs El Salvador, Group Stage 1982) : Scorer of the quickest hat-trick, in 7 minutes.

Gabriel Batistuta: Only man to score hat-tricks in two different world cups. In 1994 (vs Greece) & 1998 (vs Jamaica).

8 Responses to “World Cup’10 – A Tale Of Three Goals: TOP 10 Hat-tricks in WC History..”

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  1. I guess Klose is the only player to have scored all 3 with headers.

  2. Soccerfan says:

    Glad that u hav mentioned Batistuta at-last. He deserves a place in the top-10.

  3. Portu4ever says:

    Eusebio’s hat-trick was special. I like how you mentioned that he didn’t celebrate. All for the team!

  4. Arvind says:

    I think Gary Linekar’s hattrick against Poland in 86 WC deserves a shout. So does Batistuta’s hattrick in 94.

  5. Joe says:

    A bit sad that Boniek’s excellent hat-trick from 82 didn’t make the list. Not only were all the goals spectacular, but they took place against a very good Belgian side in the knock out stage.

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  7. Unbelievable! Italy is eliminated. Anguish in streets of Naples.