German striker Miroslav Klose arrived in Brazil knowing one chance, never mind one game, could be enough to write him into the World Cup record books on two counts.
One more goal will see the Lazio striker surpass the German World Cup scoring record, currently shared with Gerd Muller on 14 goals, and put him level on 15 with Brazilian hero Ronaldo.
Klose already has the all-time German international scoring mark, 69 in 132 matches ahead of Germany’s much anticipated opening tie in this year’s tournament against Portugal. That average of a goal every two games (0.522 goals per tie to be exact) compares to his tally of 14 in 19 matches (over three tournaments starting in 2002) with a strike rate of 0.74 goals per match. An impressive performance in any generation.
However, there are those who would say that Muller – ‘Der Bomber’ – deserves to keep his place at the head of the German World Cup scoring charts for his incredible performances over the 1970 and ‘74 tournaments.
In Mexico, Muller netted 10 goals as the Germans reached the semi-finals. Four years on, and on home soil, Muller netted just the four – although given that one of those was the winner in the Final against Holland, most forgive him that paltry return.
Even so, that poachers instinct meant Muller ended his World Cup career with a goal-a-game return.
Of course, the German duo of Muller and Klose currently one off the pace, behind Ronaldo who between 1998 and 2006 – the latter ironically played out in Germany – netted 15 goals in 19 games.
Mathematicians amongst you will have already worked out his goal average is marginally better than Klose …
Great as Ronaldo, Muller and Klose are, even their marksmanship pales against that of Just Fontaine.
In 1958, Fontaine blasted 13 goals for France in just six games, a benchmark that is unlikely to be beaten, ever – unless countryman Karim Benzema continues as he started against Honduras …