Which players have scored the most goals at a single Women’s World cup? We take a look at the most impressive goalscoring performances at previous tournaments.

Michelle Akers – USA, 1991 World Cup (10 goals in six matches)

Scoring 10 goals at a single Women’s World Cup is a record that will probably stand for a while, even though the tournament has expanded to 32 participating countries. The United States’ Michelle Akers accomplished the feat in the first-ever Women’s World Cup in 1991.

Back then, only 12 teams participated in host country China, with Akers’ USA side becoming world champions. Half of her goals in that tournament came in a 7-0 win against Chinese Taipei in the quarter-final. The only other player with five goals in a single WWC game is compatriot Alex Morgan against Thailand in the group stage of the 2011 tournament.

In 1991, USA beat Norway in the final by 2-1, with Akers scoring twice, also an achievement that has been repeated only once: Carli Lloyd, who even netted a hat-trick in the 2015 final against Japan (5-2). With a total of 12 goals in 13 appearances, distributed over 1,003 minutes played, Akers needed the fewest minutes per goal (84) among players with seven or more goals scored in the history of the tournament.

Heidi Mohr – Germany, 1991 World Cup (seven goals in six matches)

Heidi Mohr is one of five women to have scored exactly seven goals at a single World Cup. Just like Akers, she also did so in 1991. However, Mohr is the only player on the list of top scorers who didn’t win a medal with her country at the tournament. She ended fourth with Germany after a 5-2 loss against USA in the semi-finals and a 4-0 defeat against Sweden in the third-place play-off.

Personally though, it was a very successful tournament for her, scoring more than half of Germany’s 13 goals in China, making her the only player ever to score more than half of her team’s goals during a single WWC among teams with 10+ goals. Mohr started the 1991 World Cup with two goals against Nigeria and another two against Chinese Taipei, and is the only woman to ever score two or more goals in both of her first two World Cup appearances.

She continued her run with a goal against Italy in the last group stage game, another in the quarter-finals against Denmark and another against USA in the semis. Mohr is one of the three players to find the net in each of her first five games of a single WWC, alongside compatriot Birgit Prinz in 2003 and England’s Ellen White in 2019.

Mohr vs Nigeria

Sun Wen – China, 1999 World Cup (seven goals in six matches)

The only Asian player among these prolific goalscorers is Wen Sun from China. She is also Asia’s all-time top goal scorer at the Women’s World Cup with 11 goals in 20 appearances. Seven of those came in 1999, when China lost in the final against USA on penalties. She distributed those seven goals over just three games, becoming one of three women to score three braces at a single World Cup, alongside Akers (1991) and Marta (2007).

Wen Sun scored a hat-trick in the second group stage match against Ghana and is still the only Chinese player to do so in a WWC match. She scored a brace in the next game against Australia and another two goals came in the semi-final against Norway, while teammate Ailing Liu also netted twice in the 5-0 win.

Sissi – Brazil, 1999 World Cup (seven goals in six matches)

Among these top goalscorers, Sissi is the only one to experience her most productive World Cup in her thirties. Having just turned 32, she started the tournament in 1999 with a hat-trick against Mexico, becoming the first woman aged 30+ years to do so in a WWC game.

Since then, six players have achieved the same feat. By scoring two goals against Italy and one against Germany, she is the only player ever to score six goals during a single WWC group stage. Thanks to her goal in extra-time in the quarter-final against Nigeria, Sissi became the only Brazilian woman to score in four consecutive World Cup matches. She didn’t find the net again in the tournament, but did win a bronze medal with Brazil.

Sissi vs Germany

Birgit Prinz – Germany, 2003 World Cup (seven goals in six matches)

Prinz is the only non-USA player to feature in three different Women’s World Cup finals. As a 17-year-old, she lost the 1995 final against Norway, but took revenge in the finals of 2003 (vs. Sweden) and 2007 (vs. Brazil). Scoring seven goals in 2003 and five in 2007, she is the only player to score five or more goals at two different WWCs. On the all-time top scorers list, she is in joint-second place with 14 goals (along with USA’s Abby Wambach), only behind Marta (17 goals).

The German’s goals came across four different tournaments, being one of just two Europeans to find the net at four different WWCs, alongside compatriot Bettina Wiegmann. During the 2003 World Cup, Prinz scored in every single game except the final, though Germany still grabbed gold by beating Sweden after extra time (2-1).

Marta – Brazil, 2007 World Cup (seven goals in six matches)

Last but not least, Marta from Brazil. Actually, one of the best ever is a better description for this living legend. The 37-year-old played in six separate World Cup tournaments, a feat that has only ever been done before by her compatriot Formiga (seven) and Japan’s Homare Sawa (six).

Marta’s most successful World Cup was the 2007 edition when she scored seven goals and led her country to the silver medal. She started the tournament with braces against New Zealand and China, before scoring once in the quarter-final against Australia and twice in the semis against the USA.

WWC top scorers table

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