Our countdown has reached just three days, and celebrate we’ve picked out five of the most memorable occasions when players scored three goals in a single World Cup match.
There have been 48 hat-tricks in World Cup finals history, with the 1954 tournament featuring eight trebles alone! Here are five from the archives:
Paolo Rossi – Italy 3 Brazil 2, 1982
Italy’s defence came up against Brazil’s attack in a classic encounter in Barcelona, where Paolo Rossi’s hat-trick eliminated the pre-tournament favourites.
Brazil had won all four of their matches up to this point, but they were no match for Italy’s organisation and the predatory instincts of Rossi, who headed home Antonio Cabrini’s cross to put his side 1-0 up inside just five minutes, before profiting from slack defending to score Italy’s second, cancelling out a Socrates strike.
Falcao levelled matters midway through the second half, only for Rossi to turn home Marco Tardelli’s effort 15 minutes from time to spark wild celebrations.
Pele – Brazil 5 France 2, 1958
Having scored his first ever World Cup goal in a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wales in the quarter-finals, the 17-year-old Pele became the youngest player to score a World Cup finals hat-trick when he bagged a second half treble in Brazil’s semi-final win over France in Solna.
The Brazilians were ahead 2-1 at the break before their teenage superstar took over, with this strike just one of a hat-trick which propelled Brazil to the final, where Pele scored twice in another 5-2 win over Sweden.
Sir Geoff Hurst – England 4 West Germany 2, 1966
The hat-trick which made West Ham’s Geoff Hurst a name synonymous with England’s World Cup efforts is also, to date, the only treble scored in a World Cup final.
Hurst was by no means a first-choice to partner Liverpool’s Roger Hunt when England kicked off the 1966 tournament, but by the end of it he had achieved surely every schoolboy’s dream.
West Germany’s Helmut Haller gave his side the lead in the final at Wembley, only for Hurst to head England level moments later. The roles were then reversed in the closing stages as Martin Peters put England in front with 12 minutes to go, before Wolfgang Weber scored an 89th minute equaliser.
Hurst then took over in extra-time, famously scoring a goal which may or may not have crossed the line, before racing away to complete his hat-trick in the final moments.
They thought it was all over, and it was then.
Gerd Muller – West Germany 3 Peru 1, 1970
There was nothing particularly special about Gerd Muller’s hat-trick for West Germany against Peru, except for the fact that it was sealed with a brilliant header and was his second treble in four days.
At the very same Estadio Nou Camp in Leon in which he’d notched three against Bulgaria earlier that same week, the deadly West German finisher struck a first half treble against the Peruvians to take his tally to seven in three games at Mexico 1970.
He’d end the tournament with 10 strikes and the Golden Boot.
Gary Lineker – England 3 Poland 0, 1986
In many ways this match in Monterrey was the making of Gary Lineker, who was a penalty box poacher long before he was a television presenting crisp salesman.
England had failed to score a goal in their previous two games in Mexico in 1986, but three first half finishes from their centre forward – goals which took him halfway to the Golden Boot – took them through at the Poles’ expense, with Diego Maradona’s Argentina eventually lying in wait for them.
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