FIFA World Cup 2022: Interesting World Cup records you need to know before Qatar

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is barely days away from kicking off. Every four years, the best players from 32 qualified nations come together to compete for the pinnacle of international football.

In its 92-year history, the FIFA World Cup has seen a lot of records set and broken. When legends like Diego Maradona, Pele, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo have competed, record books have undergone changes over and over again.

While some records, like Brazil’s five World Cup trophies, are common knowledge, there are some more feats that a true football fan should know. Some stats could truly blow your mind!

On that note, this article will look at a few FIFA World Cup records you need to know if you want to win that Trivia Night contest with your friends:

Team Records

#1 Most second-placed finishes – Germany (4)

Four-time FIFA World Cup champions Germany have finished as runners-up four times as well. They finished second-best in 1966, 1982, 1988, and most recently 2002.

#2 Most first-round exits – South Korea and Scotland (8)

South Korea and Scotland have faced the ignominy of first-round elimination a record eight times. The South Koreans exited from the group stage in 1954, consecutively from 1986 to 1998, 2006, 2014, and finally 2018.

The Scots, meanwhile, fell out in the first round in 1954, 1958, and from 1974 to 1998 barring the 1994 edition where they failed to qualify altogether.

#3 Most FIFA World Cup tournaments played – Brazil (22)

Record champions Brazil have played in every single FIFA World Cup, which means the World Cup in Qatar will be their 22nd consecutive edition of the tournament.

#4 Longest reign as the FIFA World Cup champions – Italy (12 years)

Italy were World Champions for 16 years, albeit aided by war delays back then. They won the title in 1934 and successfully defended it in 1938. However, the next two editions were canceled due to World War II. This meant Italy held the trophy and the champions tag until 1950.

#6 Most goals scored in a single match – Hungary (10)

Hungary defeated a hapless El Salvador 10-1 in 1982. It is also one of the three games with the biggest margin of victory in the FIFA World Cup archives.

Individual Records

#1 Most Man of the Match awards in a single tournament – Lionel Messi (4)

Lionel Messi was adjudged Man of the Match a record four times in the 2014 edition of the FIFA World Cup. He went on to win the Golden Ball as well.

#2 Most goals scored in the history of the FIFA World Cup – Miroslav Klose (16)

Playing in four World Cups from 2002 to 2014, German striker Miroslav Klose scored 16 goals, the most by any player in the history of the tournament.

World Index

World Index


FIFA World Cup Top Goalscorers

🇩🇪Miroslav Klose: 16 (Goals Scored)
🇧🇷Ronaldo: 15
🇩🇪Gerd Müller: 14
🇫🇷Just Fontaine: 13
🇧🇷Pelé: 12
🇭🇺Sándor Kocsis: 11
🇩🇪Jürgen: 11
🇩🇪Helmut Rahn: 10
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿Gary Lineker: 10
🇦🇷Gabriel Batistuta: 10
🇵🇪Teófilo Cubillas: 10
🇩🇪Müller: 10
🇵🇱Grzegorz Lato: 10

#3 Most goals scored in a single tournament – Just Fontaine (13)

French striker Just Fontaine scored an astounding 13 goals in just six matches in the 1958 edition of the World Cup. He retired before the next tournament and did not add to his tally.

#4 Youngest and oldest players at a World Cup – Norman Whiteside (17) / Essam El-Hadary (45)

In 1982, Norman Whiteside became the youngest player to play in a FIFA World Cup, when played for Northern Ireland aged 17 years and 41 days.

#5 Fastest goal from kick-off – Hakan Sukur (11 seconds)

Turkish striker Hakan Sukur scored only 11 seconds after kickoff against South Korea in 2002 in the third place match.

#6 Most goals scored in one match – Oleg Salenko (5)

Russian forward Oleg Salenko put five goals past Cameroon in 1994 to set this record which stands to date. He went on to jointly win the Golden Boot that year, despite Russia making a group stage exit. He remains the only player to have won the Golden Boot despite being eliminated in the first round.

#7 Most cleansheets by a goalkeeper – Peter Shilton and Fabian Barthez (10)

England custodian Peter Shilton kept 10 cleansheets across three World Cups from 1982 to 1990.

French goalkeeper Fabian Barthez managed 10 cleansheets in three editions as well, from 1998 to 2006.

#8 Fastest red card – Jose Batista (56 seconds)

Defender Jose Batista of Uruguay was sent off after just 56 seconds on the clock against Scotland in 1986.

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