Thomas Muller and 10 Notable FIFA World Cup Hat-Tricks

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2014

Thomas Muller and 10 Notable FIFA World Cup Hat-Tricks

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    Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

    Thomas Muller has scored a fine hat-trick in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, helping himself to a treble to see Germany comfortably beat Portugal in Group G.

    His trio of successful strikes was the first of the World Cup finals so far and one which sees him mark his 50th international cap in style.

    Muller adds his name to an exclusive list comprising less than 50 players who have notched hat-tricks at FIFA World Cup finals; here he is alongside nine more of the most notable ones of all time.

Thomas Muller, Germany, 2014

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    The first hat-trick of the 2014 finals in Brazil, Thomas Muller scored a penalty, a left-footed drive and a close-range tap-in to put Portugal to the sword in the sides' opening game.

    He was also involved in the red card for Portugal defender Pepe in the first half, making it a very eventful evening indeed for the German forward.

    His goals see Germany top after the first group game and recording one of the most impressive results of the opening stage.

Bert Patenaude, USA, 1930

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    No images, no footage, not much to go on.

    Bert Patenaude, though, will forever be a part of footballing history, having netted the very first hat-trick at the FIFA World Cup finals.

    He scored all three goals for the United States in a 3-0 victory over Paraguay in the 1930 finals in Uruguay, on July 17.

Ernest Wilimowski, Poland, 1938

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    The 1938 finals in France saw a goal-laden game between Poland and Brazil, with the South American side coming out on top 6-5 after extra time in the end.

    It was a game notable for being the first to see two different players net hat-tricks in the same game, with Leonidas da Silva doing so for Brazil, but Polish forward Ernest Wilimowski gets our nod for hitting four goals in that match—the first player in World Cup history to achieve that feat.

Just Fontaine, France, 1958

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Fast forward to Sweden '58 now and French legend Just Fontaine managed to score not one, but two hat-tricks—in the space of three weeks!

    A treble against Paraguay in the first round was impressive enough, but he also hit four goals against West Germany as France won 6-3 in the third place playoff.

    Fontaine managed a total of 13 goals in that competition.

Geoff Hurst, England, 1966

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    There remains to date just a single player to have netted a hat-trick in the World Cup final itself: England's Geoff Hurst (pictured left of winning captain Bobby Moore), who rattled in three goals against West Germany in the 1966 final.

    England won the match 4-2 after extra time, with two of Hurst's three coming in the added 30 minutes.

    One, of course, was for a long time contested as to whether it crossed the line or not, while the other spawned one of the most famous lines of commentary of all time—Kenneth Wolstenholme's "They think it's all is now!"—as fans ran on the pitch before Hurst's shot hit the net.

Paolo Rossi, Italy, 1982

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Paolo Rossi made himself a national hero for Italy with a hat-trick against Brazil in the '82 finals in Spain, three times putting his side ahead to eventually secure a 3-2 win.

    He sent Italy through to the semi-finals with that result, en route to winning the tournament itself.

    Rossi hit one with his head early on, before two right-footed finishes completed his treble.

Tomas Skuhravy, Czechoslovakia, 1990

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    World Cup Italia '90 was, perhaps surprisingly, the last time a hat-trick was scored beyond the first round of a finals.

    Czechoslovakia's Tomas Skuhravy was the mulleted man to net that landmark treble, putting three past Costa Rica in a 4-1 win in the second round.

    He finished as the second-highest scorer in the competition, with five in total.

Oleg Salenko, Russia, 1994

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    Thomas Kienzle/Associated Press

    Six players have managed to hit a thoroughly impressive four goals in a single World Cup finals match down the years, but only one has managed a fantastic five.

    Oleg Salenko is the man who achieved it, back in 1994 in the USA, helping Russia beat Cameroon 6-1 in the group stage.

    He had a hat-trick in the first half, including a penalty, before adding two more after the break.

Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina, 1998

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    LAURENT REBOURS/Associated Press

    Gabriel Batistuta became the first ever player to notch hat-tricks at successive World Cups when he achieved the feat in France '98, hitting three against Jamaica in a 5-0 win for Argentina.

    Four years earlier, he had scored three against Greece in a 4-0 victory.

    Coincidentally, his hat-tricks were exactly four years apart—both trebles were hit on June 21.

Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina, 2010

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    Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

    After Pauleta scored three for Portugal in World Cup 2002, we had to wait a full eight years for the next finals hat-trick, with nobody managing it in 2006.

    Gonzalo Higuain was the only man to notch three in a game at the 2010 finals too, as the hat-trick rate at the World Cup slowed dramatically after the turn of the century.

    The Argentina striker hit his hat-trick in a 4-1 win over South Korea, making him the last man to have scored a treble at the World Cup finals—until Thomas Muller.