World Cup superlatives.jpg

World Cup superlatives

Germany’s Gerd Muller still holds the all-time top scoring record with 14 goals, although Brazil’s Ronaldo requires only two strikes this year to equal the great man. England’s top marksman is Gary Lineker with six in 1986, while Portugal’s Eusébio headed the charts in 1966 with nine strikes.

England will hope to avoid going to penalties – they have lost out in two nail-biting finishes so far. Germany, on the other hand, have shown nerves of steel, winning all three such encounters. Russia’s Oleg Salenko has scored the most goals in a single game with five against Cameroon in 1994, while Pele is still the youngest at 17 and 244 days to score a hat trick (Sweden 1958).

Brazil have made the most appearances during the final phase with 17, but have also collected the most red cards, alongside neighbours Argentina (nine each). Germany’s Lothar Matthaus has made the most appearances with 25 ahead of Italy’s Paolo Maldini (23) and Diego Maradona (21).

Lastly, it is worth recording that The Kinks “Sunny Afternoon” was at number one when England won the trophy in 1966, while Germany’s 1974 success was accompanied by Charles Aznavour’s “She”. Brazil’s most recent 2-0 victory over Germany in Japan took place to the rhythms of “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley v JXL – what new records will this year’s 18th edition of the mega event hold?