There have been 52 hat-tricks scored in men’s FIFA World Cup finals tournaments. Some have definitely been more memorable than others, but all hat-tricks are special. We give a rundown of the best facts about World Cup hat-tricks, giving you the need-to-know info.
The Salenko Show
Only one player has scored five goals in a single men’s FIFA World Cup match – Russia’s Oleg Salenko. His five-goal haul came in his nation’s 6-1 group stage thrashing of Cameroon in June 1994.
His five goals in this match overshadowed Cameroon striker Roger Milla’s achievement of becoming the oldest player to score at a World Cup, while they took his overall total to six at the USA ’94 World Cup following an earlier goal against Sweden in the group stage. These goals were enough to win him the Golden Boot at the tournament, which he shared with Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoichkov.
Whilst his goals helped Russia to victory, they came too late for them to qualify for the knockout stage – their game against Cameroon was a dead rubber, with Sweden and Brazil already sealing the top two spots to make the last 16.
Salenko never played for Russia again, and his six goals at the 1994 World Cup were his only ones for his international team. What a way to go out, though.
Erich Probst wasn’t hanging about in June 1954. The Austrian scored a hat-trick inside the opening 24 minutes of their group stage match with Czechoslovakia to put them 4-0 up just over a quarter of the way through the match.
After Ernst Stojaspal put them into a third-minute lead, Probst added three further goals in the fourth, 21st and 24th minutes to complete the earliest hat-trick ever seen in a men’s World Cup.
Whilst it was the earliest scored, it wasn’t the most quickfire in terms of minutes between scoring three goals. That honour belongs to Hungarian László Kiss, who scored a hat-trick in the space of seven minutes and 42 seconds at the 1982 World Cup versus El Salvador – the quickest hat-trick in World Cup history.
The Young & The Old
Pelé remains the youngest player to score a hat-trick at a men’s World Cup, with his treble in Brazil’s 1958 semi-final victory over France coming when he was aged just 17 years and 244 days old – the only player to score one under the age of 18.
The only other teenager to score a World Cup hat-trick is German Edmund Conen, who scored three goals against Belgium in May 1934 at the age of 19 years and 198 days old.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is the oldest player to score a hat-trick at a World Cup. The current Premier League star was 33 years and 130 days old when he scored all three of his nation’s goals in the 3-3 group stage draw against Spain – his third goal coming from a delightful free-kick past Spain goalkeeper – and current Manchester United team-mate – David de Gea, with only two minutes remaining. This was his 51st hat-trick for club and country, while it was also the 51st hat-trick scored in the history of the World Cup.
Rob Rensenbrink had held this record for 30 years following his hat-trick for the Netherlands versus Iran at the 1978 World Cup, when aged 30 years and 335 days old.
All for Nothing
Only three players have scored a World Cup hat-trick and ended on the losing side – Ernst Wilimowski for Poland in 1938, Josef Hügi for Switzerland in 1954 and Igor Belanov for the USSR in 1986. Spare a thought for Wilimowski in particular – he scored four goals in the 6-5 defeat for Poland against Brazil. These were his only four goals at the World Cup and none of them put his nation into the lead in that match.
The only other player to score a hat-trick and not end on the winning side was Cristiano Ronaldo when he scored his three against Spain in 2018 – the game ended 3-3, with his 88th minute goal saving a point for the Portuguese.
The Most Hat-Tricks
Just Fontaine is one of only three players to score a hat-trick in two separate matches at the same World Cup finals tournament, alongside Sándor Kocsis (1954) and Gerd Müller (1970), thanks to his trebles against Paraguay and four more goals against Germany in the 1958 tournament.
Legendary German striker Müller scored back-to-back hat-tricks in games against Bulgaria and Peru at Mexico 1970, with just three days between the trebles. Only one other player has scored a hat-trick in two consecutive World Cup appearances, that being Hungary’s Kocsis in 1954 (also over a four-day period).
The only other player to score multiple hat-tricks at World Cup finals is also the only one to have scored a hat-trick at two different editions of the tournament. Gabriel Batistuta scored three goals against Greece at the 1994 World Cup, before another treble followed four years later at the 1998 tournament, this time versus Jamaica. Both of his hat-tricks came on 21 June, both were scored against World Cup debutants, and both saw the final goal to complete the hat-trick coming from the penalty spot.
The Year of the Hat-Trick
Was it easier to score hat-tricks in earlier World Cup tournaments? It seems so – a mixture of rules being kinder to attacking players, plus a bigger disparity between nations could be possible explanations for this.
Of the 52 World Cup hat-tricks, the first half (26) came in the opening eight World Cup tournaments, while the next 26 have spanned across the following 13 World Cup editions, despite those editions featuring more matches.
Just over 15% of all World Cup hat-tricks came in the 1958 tournament – no edition has seen as many as the eight scored that year.
The only World Cup tournament to not see a single hat-trick scored was the 2006 edition in Germany.
Sunday’s the Day
The holy day for hat-tricks. Twenty-two of the World Cup hat-tricks have been scored on Sundays, which is twice as many as the next most prolific day – a Saturday (11).
Every day of the week has witnessed a World Cup hat-trick, but only one has been scored on a Monday in the history of the competition. That treble was scored by Pauleta for Portugal vs. Poland at the 2002 World Cup group stage.
Geoff Hurst remains the only player in the history of the World Cup to score a hat-trick in the final. His iconic treble for England against West Germany in 1966 at Wembley was sealed in the final minute of extra time, helping the Three Lions to a 4-2 victory – England’s only World Cup title. Hurst scored more goals in this match (three) than he did in his other five World Cup appearances combined (two).
Ademir was the scorer of four goals in Brazil’s 7-1 victory over Sweden in the final group round of the 1950 World Cup, but the World Cup ‘final’ that year is widely regarded to have been the Brazilian’s 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in the final decider of the tournament.
All World Cup Hat-Tricks
1930 World Cup (Uruguay)
17 July 1930 Bert Patenaude: USA vs. Paraguay – 3 goals
19 July 1930 Guillermo Stabile: Argentina vs. Mexico – 3 goals
27 July 1930 Pedro Cea: Uruguay vs. Yugoslavia – 3 goals
1934 World Cup (Italy)
27 May 1934 Angelo Schiavio: Italy vs. USA – 3 goals
27 May 1934 Edmund Conen: Germany vs. Belgium – 3 goals
03 June 1934 Oldrich Nejedly: Czechoslovakia vs. Germany – 3 goals
1938 World Cup (France)
05 June 1938 Leônidas: Brazil vs. Poland – 3 goals
05 June 1938 Ernst Wilimowski: Poland vs. Brazil – 4 goals
12 June 1938 Gustav Wetterström: Sweden vs. Cuba – 3 goals
12 June 1938 Harry Andersson: Sweden vs. Cuba – 3 goals
1950 World Cup (Brazil)
02 July 1950 Oscar Miguez: Uruguay vs. Bolivia – 3 goals
09 July 1950 Ademir: Brazil vs. Sweden – 4 goals
1954 World Cup (Switzerland)
17 June 1954 Sándor Kocsis: Hungary vs. Korea Republic – 3 goals
19 June 1954 Carlos Borges: Uruguay vs. Scotland – 3 goals
19 June 1954 Erich Probst: Austria vs. Czechoslovakia – 3 goals
20 June 1954 Burhan Sargun: Turkey vs. Korea Republic – 3 goals
20 June 1954 Sándor Kocsis: Hungary vs. Germany – 4 goals
23 June 1954 Max Morlock: Germany vs. Turkey – 3 goals
26 June 1954 Josef Hügi: Switzerland vs. Austria – 3 goals
26 June 1954 Theodor Wagner: Austria vs. Switzerland – 3 goals
1958 World Cup (Sweden)
08 June 1958 Just Fontaine: France vs. Paraguay – 3 goals
24 June 1958 Pelé: Brazil vs. France – 3 goals
28 June 1958 Just Fontaine: France vs. Germany – 4 goals
1962 World Cup (Chile)
03 June 1962 Flórián Albert: Hungary vs. Bulgaria – 3 goals
1966 World Cup (England)
23 July 1966 Eusébio: Portugal vs. DPR Korea – 4 goals
30 July 1966 Geoff Hurst: England vs. Germany – 3 goals
1970 World Cup (Mexico)
07 June 1970 Gerd Müller: Germany vs. Bulgaria – 3 goals
10 June 1970 Gerd Müller: Germany vs. Peru – 3 goals
1974 World Cup (West Germany)
18 June 1974 Dusan Bajevic: Yugoslavia vs. Congo DR – 3 goals
19 June 1974 Andrzej Szarmach: Poland vs. Haiti – 3 goals
1978 World Cup (Argentina)
03 June 1978 Rob Rensenbrink: Netherlands vs. IR Iran – 3 goals
11 June 1978 Téofilo Cubillas: Peru vs. IR Iran – 3 goals
1982 World Cup (Spain)
15 June 1982 Laszlo Kiss: Hungary vs. El Salvador – 3 goals
20 June 1982 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: Germany vs. Chile – 3 goals
28 June 1982 Zbigniew Boniek: Poland vs. Belgium – 3 goals
05 July 1982 Paolo Rossi: Italy vs. Brazil – 3 goals
1986 World Cup (Mexico)
08 June 1986 Preben Elkjær Larsen: Denmark vs. Uruguay – 3 goals
11 June 1986 Gary Lineker: England vs. Poland – 3 goals
15 June 1986 Igor Belanov: USSR vs. Belgium – 3 goals
18 June 1986 Emilio Butragueño: Spain vs. Denmark – 4 goals
1990 World Cup (Italy)
17 June 1990 Michel: Spain vs. Korea Republic – 3 goals
23 June 1990 Tomas Skuhravy: Czechoslovakia vs. Costa Rica – 3 goals
1994 World Cup (United States)
21 June 1994 Gabriel Batistuta: Argentina vs. Greece – 3 goals
28 June 1994 Oleg Salenko: Russia vs. Cameroon – 5 goals
1998 World Cup (France)
21 June 1998 Gabriel Batistuta: Argentina vs. Jamaica – 3 goals
2002 World Cup (Japan & South Korea)
01 June 2002 Miroslav Klose: Germany vs. Saudi Arabia – 3 goals
10 June 2002 Pauleta: Portugal vs. Poland – 3 goals
2006 World Cup (Germany)
No hat-tricks scored
2010 World Cup (South Africa)
17 June 2010 Gonzalo Higuaín: Argentina vs. Korea Republic – 3 goals
2014 World Cup (Brazil)
16 June 2014 Thomas Müller: Germany vs. Portugal – 3 goals
25 June 2014 Xherdan Shaqiri: Switzerland vs. Honduras – 3 goals
2018 World Cup (Russia)
15 June 2018 Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal vs. Spain – 3 goals
24 June 2018 Harry Kane: England vs. Panama – 3 goals
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