Every World Cup tournament have been graced with goals and there have been many actors involved in act of finding the back of the net.
France’s Just Fontaine held the record of highest goal tally in the World Cup with 13 goals for many years before Brazil’s Ronaldo de Lima surpassed the feat at the Germany 2006 World Cup with 14.
However, Miroslav Klose put both scoring legends records to bed after Germany’s triumphant victory at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil scoring two and taking his tally to 16 goals in total.
Klose announced himself when he made his debut at the Korea/Japan tournament in 2002 with a hat trick in Germany’s 8-0 win in their opener against their Middle East opponent, Saudi Arabia.
The six-foot-plus striker scored added to his account against the Republic of Ireland and Cameroon respectively as he ended the competition with five in total for the German Machine enroute to the finals.
At the 2006 soccer fiesta in Germany, the Werder Bremen marksman started from where he left off scoring a brace against Costa Rica in the opening match that ended in a 4-2 scoreline in favour of Germany.
Klose repeated the same scoring form against Ecuador with two goals and added one more in the last group encounter with Argentina.
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At the end of the World Cup on home soil the goal machine had five goals and 10 in total after two tournaments. That same year, Brazil’s Ronaldo had just beaten Just Fontaine’s record of 13 goals with three goals in Germany 2006.
But after the 2006 World Cup, it became clear that the Klose was a potential threat in breaking Ronaldo's record and writing his name in the history books of the most decorated footballing event in the world.
In South Africa 2010, the Bayern Munich striker equaled Ronaldo’s 14 goals after netting four times before Germany were eliminated in the quarter finals.
In emphatic fashion, Klose scored one in the 4-1 thumping against the Aussies, also another in the 4-1 victory against old enemies, England and completed a brace against the Diego Maradona’s led Argentina as Germany walloped the Blue and White stripes, 4-0.
It was certain that the Polish born German footballer needed one more tournament to inscribe his name as the most prolific goal scorer of the FIFA staged competition.
Joachim Löw gave the 36-year-old veteran striker one more chance to conclude the fairy tale story into a happy ending as he was included in the squad for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
In the 71st minute of the match against Ghana, the long awaited history was finally made as the second half substitute had an easy tap-in from a corner kick to even the scores at 2-2 and made it his 15 goals in the World Cup.
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Klose also made history as the first player to score in all four World Cup he played in and it was not over as the Lazio striker found the back of the net in Germany’s 7-1 embarrassment of tournament hosts, Brazil.
The goal poacher scored the second goal after a good interchange pass from Tony Kroos and Thomas Muller, who set a pass for Klose to score on second attempt after Julio Ceasar saved the first.
The reliable goal scorer retired shortly from the national team after Germany emerged winners of the 2014 World Cup scoring 71 times in 137 appearances.
Klose’s consistency in front on goal made him win laurels with the national team including a Silver Shoe at the 2002 World Cup and a Golden Boot in 2006 coupled with German Player of the Year. He also made the FIFA All-Star Team in the 2002 and 2006 World cups respectively.
Known for his mid-air somersaults celebration, Klose was Bundesliga top scorer in the 2005/06 season and top assist provider in 2006/07.
Klose's 16 goals World Cup record is twice the number of that of Lionel Messi and world best Cristiano Ronaldo put together. While Messi has scored five goals at the World Cup, Ronaldo has found the back of the net just thrice at the World Cup.
In summary, these are the records set by the former Werder Bremen player for club and country including;
World Cup all-time record goalscorer
All-time record goalscorer for the German national team
The only player to have four or more medals in consecutive World Cups
The only player to have featured in four or more consecutive World cup semi finals
Scored at least five goals in two World Cups, record shared with on Teofilo Cubillas and Thomas Muller
The only goalscorer who scored most goals from headers in a single edition of the World Cup
One of eight players in the history of the Italian Serie A to score five goals in one match
Aside from making the headlines with his goals, Klose was known for his fair play and honesty as he refused a penalty awarded to him in a league match against Armenia Bielefeld in 2005.
This act of truthfulness earned him a fair play award for his actions and he also demonstrated the same act in 2012 in the match against Napoli where he scored a goal with his hand.
Klose admitted to the referee that it was a hand ball as the goal was ruled out which earned him another fair play award by the German Football Association.
The six-foot-plus striker has begun his coaching career and he is currently among the coaching staff of the present German national team to the Russia 2018 World Cup under the tutelage of Joachim Löw.
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