In the history of the World Cup, there have been exactly 50 hat-trick scored so far, a record that neutral fans at least hope might be extended when the action in Qatar gets underway this year.
Geoff Hurst of England remains the only man to have managed it in a World Cup final even if the controversy over his second goal at Wembley rages to this day.
First, last, oldest, youngest and fastest
The first player to score a World Cup hat-trick was Bert Patenaude of the USA in a match against Paraguay in the very first World Cup in 1930. The most recent was Harry Kane of England who netted three against Panama in Russia in 2018.
Eleven days earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had also scored three in the draw with Spain, making him the oldest man to score a World Cup hat-trick. The youngest player to achieve the landmark was the legendary Pelé back in 1958 against France, when the Brazilian was just 17 years old.
The fastest hat-trick was scored by László Kiss of Hungary in 1982, who only came in the match against El Salvador in the 1982 World Cup as a second half substitute. He scored his goals in a seven-minute period as his team racked up the biggest score in the history of the finals.
More than three goals
Oleg Salenko of Russia is the only man to have scored five goals in a single match during the World Cup finals. He achieved this feat in the 6 – 1 thrashing of Cameroon in 1994.
Six players have found the net four times in one game – Ernest Wilimowski of Poland, Ademir of Brazil, Sándor Kocsis of Hungary, Just Fontaine of France, Eusebio of Portugal, and Emilio Butragueno of Spain.
Four players have scored two hat-tricks in World Cup finals, but only one of them has managed it in more than one tournament.
Sándor Kocsis, Hungary 1954
In 1954, Hungary were widely believed to be the best team in the world. The reigning Olympic champions, who had shattered England’s claims to invincibility by beating them 6 – 3 at Wembley and then thrashing them 7 -1 in the reverse fixture in Budapest, were the overwhelming pre-tournament favourites in Switzerland that year.
And that status appeared fully justified when they trounced South Korea 9 – 0 and then thumped West Germany 8 – 3 in the group phase, with Sándor Kocsis scoring a hat-trick in each game.
He scored twice more as they beat Brazil in the last eight, and again as they overcame Uruguay in the semi-finals.
But despite taking an early two-goal lead, his side were undone by the West Germans in the final which became known as the Miracle of Bern.
Just Fontaine, France 1958
Just Fontaine of France holds the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup finals, finding the net for France 13 times in six matches in 1958 to help his country reach the semi-finals that year.
He scored first hat-trick in their opening group game with Paraguay before settling for just the two against Yugoslavia and one against Scotland.
Two goals were netted against Northern Ireland in the quarter-finals and then one in what was ultimately a losing cause against Brazil. He finished off by finding the net four times in the third-place play off against West Germany.
Sadly for Fontaine, he never played in another World Cup. He picked up a knee injury before the 1962 tournament which brought his career to a premature end.
Gerd Müller, West Germany 1970
Gerd Müller – Der Bomber – as he was nicknamed was the ultimate penalty box predator, was deadly at close range for both West Germany and Bayern Munich. He announced himself at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, scoring hat-tricks against Bulgaria and Peru.
He would go to win the Golden Boot that year, although his greatest World Cup moment was to come four years later when he scored the winner in the final against the Netherlands in Munich.
Gabriel Batista, Argentine 1994 and 1998
Argentine Gabriel Batista has the distinction of being the only man to have scored hat-tricks in different World Cups. His first came in 1994 against Greece and then four years later, he managed it again as Jamaica were thrashed 5 – 0.
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