The greatest tournament in the greatest sport generates the greatest records. The FIFA World Cup, which dates back to 1930, has no shortage of incredible records. With the 2022 tournament around the corner, we’ve compiled the greatest World Cup records of all time.
Want to know who has scored the most goals in the World Cup, overall, in a single match or a single tournament? Read on.
Want to know who has the most clean sheets or longest scoreless streak in a World Cup? Read on.
Want to know who got the fastest red card or the guy who actually got three yellow cards? Read on.
Want to know everything about the World Cup final? Click here.
We’ve divided the World Cup records into three categories: greatest World Cup records, individual records, team records and coaching records. Read on.
Greatest World Cup Records
Most Goals By Individual
16 — Miroslav Klose, Germany (2002-2014)
Klose achieved the feat over four World Cups.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 8, 2019
Most Goals By An Individual In Single World Cup
13 — Just Fontaine, France (1958)
Fontaine, who was born in Marrakech, scored 30 goals in 21 appearances for Les Bleus.
Most Goals By A Team In Single World Cup
27 — Hungary (1954)
The Mighty Magyars lost 3-2 to West Germany in the final after beating the same team 8-3 in the group stage. They also won 9-0 over South Korea, which set a record for most goals conceded (16) in a single tournament. Hungary also set the mark for highest goal difference (+17).
Most Clean Sheets By Goalkeeper
10 — Peter Shilton, England (1982-1990), Fabien Barthez, France (1998-2006)
Barthez won a World Cup while Shilton allowed the Hand of God goal to Diego Maradona.
Most Goals Scored In Single Match
5 — Oleg Salenko, Russia (1994)
The Russians won 6-1 over Cameroon in a meaningless group-stage match in California.
Most Goals Conceded In Single Match
10 — Luis Guevara Mora, El Salvador (1982)
Hungary opened its World Cup with a 10-1 win over an El Salvador team that qualified over the U.S. That year, El Salvador took 20 players to the tournament, two fewer than allowed as a cost-cutting measure.
Most Total Goals In Single Match
12 — Austria 7-5 Switzerland (1954)
Austria trailed 3-0 before coming back to win. The 1954 tournament still holds the record for most goals per match (5.38).
Fastest Hat Trick
8 minutes — László Kiss, Hungary (1982)
Kiss scored in the 69th, 72nd and 76th minutes against El Salvador.
Most Penalties Missed
2 — Asamoah Gyan, Ghana (2006-2010)
Gyan missed one against the Czech Republic in 2006 and another in the quarterfinals against Uruguay in 2010.
Fastest Goal From Kickoff
10.8 seconds — Hakan Şükür, Turkey (2002)
The goal came against South Korea in the third-place match despite South Korea kicking off.
Fastest Red Card
56 seconds — José Batista, Uruguay (1986)
Batista made a rash challenge on Scotland’s Gordon Strachan but La Celeste held on for a 0-0 draw to reach the knockout rounds.
Fastest Yellow Card
13 seconds — Jesús Gallardo, Mexico (2018)
Gallardo jumped into a Swedish player almost immediately to be booked.
7 — Javier Mascherano, Argentina (2006-2018)
After Mascherano's mark with seven yellows, France's Zinedine Zidane, Brazil's Cafu and Mexico's Rafael Márquez are tied with six. Zidane and Cafu faced off in the 1998 final and the 2006 quarterfinals, Zidane winning both times.
Most Red Cards
2 — Zinedine Zidane, France (1998, 2006); Rigobert Song, Cameroon (1994-98)
Who can forget Zidane's exit in the 2006 World Cup final?
Most Yellow Cards In Match (Single Player)
3 — Josip Šimunić, Croatia (2006)
English referee Graham Poll will go down in infamy as the only idiot to give out three yellow cards to a single player, only sending Šimunić off after his third yellow in the 93rd minute.
Most Cards In Match
16 — Portugal vs. Netherlands (2006), Cameroon vs. Germany (2002)
Known as the Battle of Nuremberg, Portugal received a record nine cards in 2006, a mark matched by the Netherlands against Spain in the 2010 final.
Most Championships (Team)
5 — Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Italy and Germany are second with four apiece.
Most Championships (Individual)
3 — Pelé (1958, 1962, 1970)
Pelé only played in the first two matches of the 1962 tournament but won a medal retroactively in 2007. Only five non-Brazilians have won two World Cups.
Most Common Matchup
7 — Brazil vs. Sweden, Germany vs. Yugoslavia/Serbia, Argentina vs. Germany
Brazil and Sweden haven’t met in the World Cup since 1994.
Most Common Final
3 — Germany vs. Argentina
Including the 2014 final won by Die Mannschaft, the Argentines and West Germans split the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals.
Most Nations Coached
5 — Bora Milutinović and Carlos Alberto Parreira
Milutinović coached Mexico in 1986, Costa Rica in 1990, the U.S. in 1994, Nigeria in 1998 and China in 2002. Parreira coached Kuwait in 1982, UAE in 1990, Brazil in 1994 and 2006, Saudi Arabia in 1998 and South Africa in 2010.
199,854 — Brazil vs. Uruguay (1950)
The deciding match of the 1950 World Cup broke the hearts of tens of thousands of Brazilians as Uruguay won 2-1 at the Maracanã.
300 — Romania vs. Peru (1930)
The official attendance was 2,459 but it was far lower than that for the opening match of Group 3.
Individual World Cup Records
Longest Scoreless Streak By Goalkeeper
517 minutes — Walter Zenga, Italy (1990)
Zenga recorded five straight clean sheets in this span.
Most Goals Conceded By Goalkeeper
25 — Antonio Carbajal, Mexico; Mohamed Al-Deayaa, Saudi Arabia
To be fair to Carbajal, he appeared in a record five tournaments.
Most Penalties Saved (Excluding Shootouts)
2 — Jan Tomaszewski, Poland; Brad Friedel, U.S., Iker Casillas, Spain
Tomaszewski (1974) and Friedel (2002) accomplished the feat in a single tournament.
Most Matches Won
17 — Miroslav Klose, Germany (2002-2014)
Klose also appeared in a record 14 knockout-round matches.
Most Tournaments Played
5 — Antonio Carbajal, Mexico (1950-1966), Lothar Matthäus, Germany (1982-1998), Rafael Márquez (2002-2018)
Gianluigi Buffon also went to five World Cups, but did not play in 1998.
Most Matches Played
25 — Lothar Matthäus, Germany (1982-1998)
The iconic German won the first FIFA World Player of the Year in 1991, still the only German to win the award.
Most Matches Played As Captain
17 — Rafael Márquez, Mexico (2002-2018)
Second most is Diego Maradona, who led La Albiceleste to the finals in 1986 and 1990, winning it all in 1986 in Mexico.
Most Tournaments As Captain
5 — Rafael Márquez, Mexico (2002-2018)
He came on as a sub twice in the group stage in 2018 to add to his mark and started against Brazil in the Round of 16.
Most Minutes Played
2,217 — Paolo Maldini, Italy (1990-2002)
The AC Milan legend won five Champions League titles but never won the World Cup.
17 years, 41 days — Norman Whiteside, Northern Ireland (1982)
At the time, Whiteside had made just two of his eventual 206 appearances for Manchester United.
21 days, 109 days — Tony Meola, United States (1990)
The U.S. didn’t exactly have much experience to call upon in its first World Cup since 1950.
45 years, 161 days — Essam El-Hadary, Egypt (2018)
45 years, 161 days — Essam El-Hadary, Egypt (2018)
If you're going to play at 45, you probably have the experience to be a captain as well.
First World Cup Goal
Lucien Laurent, France (1930)
Laurent beat Bart McGhee of the United States by four minutes.
Youngest Goal Scorer
17 years, 7 months, 27 days— Pelé, Brazil (1958)
Pelé’s first of 12 goals came against Wales.
Oldest Goal Scorer
42 years, 1 month, 8 days — Roger Milla, Cameroon (1994)
After electrifying fans with four goals in 1990, Milla added one more in 1994 against Russia. And if the music from the video below doesn’t get you excited for soccer, we don’t know what will.
Team World Cup Records
73 — Brazil
Germany is second with 67 while Italy is third with 45, far fewer despite having also won four tournaments.
27 — Mexico
Argentina (23) and Germany (22) are the only other countries with 20 or more World Cup losses.
21 — Italy, England
Germany has 20.
109 — Brazil, Germany
The World Cup's two most successful teams share the record for most matches played at the World Cup.
Most Wins In Single Tournament
7 — Brazil (2002)
Still the only team to go 7-0 in a single World Cup.
Most Goals Scored
229 — Brazil
Brazil passed Germany (226) during the 2018 tournament even though three of the top six all-time World Cup goal scorers are German.
Fewest Goals Scored (With At Least One Appearance)
0 — Canada, China, Indonesia (as Dutch East Indies in 1938), Trinidad and Tobago, DR Congo (as Zaire in 1974).
Canada will try to get off his list in Qatar 2022.
Fewest Goals Scored By World Cup Champion
8 — Spain (2010)
For all their attacking wizardry, La Furia Roja won their only World Cup with defense.
Most Goals Conceded
125 — Germany
Brazil is second with 105 goals allowed followed by Mexico (98) and Argentina (93).
Fewest Goals Conceded (With At Least One Appearance)
2 — Angola
Angola had two draws and one loss at the 2006 World Cup, it’s only appearance. From 1930-1974, players from Angola participated as part of Portugal.
Fewest Goals Conceded By World Cup Champion
2 — France (1998), Italy (2006), Spain (2010)
Cliché alert: Defense wins championships.
Most Consecutive Minutes Without Conceding
554 — Switzerland (1994, 2006-2010)
Prior to this streak, the Swiss set the record for most consecutive matches conceding at least one goal at 22.
Most Own Goals Conceded
4 — Mexico
Bulgaria (1966) and Russia (2018) are the only teams to have conceded multiple own goals in the same tournament.
Best Goal Differential
+124 — Brazil
After Germany (101), the next best goal differential is Italy with +51.
Worst Goal Differential
-38 — Mexico
Despite playing in the same group, Mexico overtook South Korea (-36) at the 018 tournament. They are followed by Bulgaria (-31) and the U.S./Cameroon (-25).
Most Penalty Shootouts
5 — Argentina
La Albiceleste are 4-1 in shootouts.
Most Penalty Shootouts Won
4 — Germany, Argentina
Die Mannschaft have never lost a shootout and gave Argentina its only loss (in 2006).
Most Penalty Shootouts Lost
3 — England, Italy
The Azzurri haven’t lost a World Cup shootout since Gianluigi Buffon took over the No. 1 role.
Most Red Cards
11 — Brazil
Most Finals Appearances
8 — Germany (1954, 1966, 1974, 1982, 1986, 1990 as West Germany, 2002, 2014 as Germany)
Brazil is 5-1 in finals compared to Germany’s 4-4 mark, though Brazil also has a second runners-up finish in 1950 when there was no official final match.
Most Top-Four Finishes
13 — Germany (1934, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1982, 1986, 1990 as West Germany, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 as Germany)
Brazil is second with 11 but has never finished outside the top 16 in 20 editions.
Most 5th-8th-Place Finishes
8 — England (1950, 1954, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2006)
A very England statistic.
Most 9th-16th-Place Finishes
14 — Mexico (1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1978, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
Not really a record El Tri fans want to see.
Most Tournaments Unbeaten
7 — Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 2002)
Looks like the Seleção are due for another unbeaten run.
Most Tournaments Eliminated Without Having Lost
3 — England (1982, 1990, 2006)
England always finds a way to flame out of World Cups in the most devastating fashions.
Most Tournaments Eliminated Without Having Won
6 — Mexico, Bulgaria
Mexico hasn’t finished a World Cup without a win since 1978.
Most Consecutive Appearances
22 — Brazil (all of ’em)
Including the 2022 World Cup, Brazil is the only team to have appeared at every tournament.
Longest Gap Between Titles
44 years — Italy (1938-1982)
The Azzurri won two of the first three tournaments but didn’t win again until the 80s.
Longest Gap Between Tournament Appearances
64 years — Wales (1958-2022)
Prior to Wales qualifying in 2022, Egypt and Norway held the record with 56-year gaps.
Most Appearances In Top Three Without Winning
4 — Netherlands (1974, 1978, 2010, 2014)
The Oranje have been in three finals without ever claiming a world title.
Most Appearances Without Advancing Past First Round
8 — Scotland (1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998)
The Scots haven’t been to a World Cup since 1998.
Most Consecutive Failed Qualification Attempts
21 — Luxembourg (1934-2022)
One of these days... Actually, no. Not until FIFA increases the number of teams to more than 100.
Most Times Hosted
2 — Italy, France, Brazil, Mexico, Germany
Mexico will become the first three-time host as part of the united bid with the U.S. and Canada.
Coaching World Cup Records
Most Matches Coached
25 — Helmut Schön, West Germany (1966-1978)
Can you imagine a coach lasting four World Cups in today’s coaching climate?
Most Matches Won
16 — Helmut Schön, West Germany (1966-1978)
West Germany won it all in 1974.
27 years, 267 days — Juan José Tramutola, Argentina (1930)
La Albiceleste finished second that year, the first edition of the World Cup.
71 years, 317 days — Otto Rehhagel, Greece (2010)
Greece won one and lost two and went out in the group stage.