Ranking Miroslav Klose's Record-Breaking 16 World Cup Goals
Tuesday’s mind-blowing semi-final will forever be remembered as the night when Brazil were humiliated at their home World Cup.
A rampant Germany hit seven goals past football’s most successful nation to record one of the most incredible scorelines the sport has ever seen. The hosts were left completely humbled by their tormenters and the fallout from the result will take years to repair.
However, there was another major headline as Miroslav Klose’s 23rd-minute strike saw Germany’s leading ever scorer overtake Brazilian hero Ronaldo as the World Cup’s most prolific scorer in history, per Metro Sport.
Klose’s goal against Brazil was a emblematic poacher’s finish that has become synonymous with the 36-year-old striker.
Here is a ranking of all 16 goals scored by the German at World Cup matches.
Do you agree with our ranking, or would you order them differently? Post your lists in the comments box below.
16) Second Goal vs. Saudi Arabia (2002)
Having already opened the scoring with a header just five minutes earlier, Klose added his and Germany's second with an almost carbon copy to put the game beyond any doubt.
Die Adler would finish the game with eight goals, Klose's second is easily the least memorable of his record-breaking 16 goals at the finals.
15) Head over Heels vs. Cameroon (2002)
The 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea saw Klose score five goals in total—all of them coming from his head! Talk about using your loaf.
His fifth and final goal of his inaugural World Cup finals came in the third group game against Cameroon. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Germany were already leading a game in which they only needed to draw to finish top of Group E. The lethal poacher converted from "Klose" range to confirm their place in the last 16.
14) a Journey Begins vs. Saudia Arabia (2002)
When Germany faced minnows Saudi Arabia in their opening game of their 2002 campaign, there was little doubt that the European giants would run out victorious. However, Rudi Voller's side sent a signal of their intent with the brutal 8-0 victory, and it was Klose who got the ball rolling after 20 minutes.
Klose rose highest to open his World Cup scoring account with what would become a trademark header. A legend in the making had been born.
13) Birthday Celebrations vs. Costa Rica (2006)
The striker had already capped his 28th birthday with one goal in the curtain-raiser of Germany's home tournament by firing the hosts into a 2-1 lead early on. Klose doubled his delight by extending their lead just after the hour with another typical poacher's effort.
After seeing his initial header saved by goalkeeper Jose Porras, Klose reacted quickest to convert the rebound from six yards to ensure an opening-day victory for the hosts.
12) Icing on the Cake vs. Argentina (2010)
It's crazy to think that a World Cup quarter-final goal doesn't even make the top 10, but this contest was well and truly over long before this goal.
A composed finish, from a Mesut Ozil cross, completed the 4-0 rout and gave Klose his 14th goal in World Cup matches.
He was now just one shy of Ronaldo's record. More importantly, though, Germany were heading to the semi-final. They would lose to future champions Spain.
11) Using His Head Once More vs. Australia (2010)
In his country's first game of the 2010 tournament in South Africa, Klose got his name on the scoresheet for a third consecutive World Cup by heading Germany's second in a routine win over Australia.
Some clever movement from the poacher enabled him to beat the out-rushing Mark Schwarzer and head into an empty net to put Joachim Low's side into a 2-0 lead. It was his 11th in World Cup competition.
10) Hat-Trick Hero vs. Saudi Arabia (2002)
Having already headed in twice in his first=ever finals appearance, Klose confirmed a perfect World Cup debut by completing his hat-trick with Germany's fifth in the rout over Saudi Arabia.
Once again, it was a header that beat a helpless Mohammed Al-Deayea to make it 5-0 in the Sapporo Dome. A dream start to World Cup action for the future record breaker.
9) Defying the Irish Charm vs. Republic of Ireland (2002)
Of Klose’s five goals at his inaugural World Cup, it was his goal against the Republic of Ireland that stands out.
Unsurprisingly, Klose’s fourth World Cup goal came via his head, and even an injury-time equaliser from Robbie Keane couldn’t prevent Germany from acquiring the upper hand in their quest to top Group E.
8) Perfect Start vs. Ecuador (2006)
Back-to-back wins in their opening two fixtures meant a win over Ecuador in their final Group A encounter would see the host nation advance to the knockout stage with the maximum nine points. It didn’t take long for their talisman to set them on their way.
Just four minutes into the action, Klose had his third goal of the tournament thanks to a tidy right-footed finish into the far corner. Jurgen Klinsmann’s side were en route to another victory.
7) Double Delight vs. Ecuador (2006)
Later in the same game, Klose netted his fourth goal of the home tournament with one of his best-ever international strikes.
Germany were well in the driving seat, but Klose doubled the host’s advantage in the dying embers of an entertaining first-half to seal their position at the top of Group A.
Klose did well to outmuscle the Ecuador centre-back, before smartly rounding the onrushing Cristian Mora and slotting into the empty net. A superb goal from one of international football’s most deadly assassins.
6) Klose Range Effort vs. Argentina (2010)
A quarter-final showdown with Argentina was already in Germany’s favour thanks to Thomas Muller’s early opener, but the South Americans always carry an attacking threat and a one-goal advantage was never truly comfortable for Joachim Low’s side.
However, with just over 20 minutes remaining, Klose scored one of the easiest goals of his international career by accepting a gift from teammate Lukas Podolski's cross.
Podolski’s moment of brilliance saw the Polish-born winger find himself in a fantastic position, but he unselfishly squared it to Klose, who gratefully accepted the gift by walking the ball into the empty net. A fantastic team goal that virtually assured Germany would progress.
5) Football's Coming Home vs. Costa Rica (2006)
In the opening game of World Cup 2006, defender Philipp Lahm had taken just six minutes to provide the hosts with the perfect start. However, a Paulo Wanchope equaliser on 12 minutes threatened to ruin Germany’s big day.
However, five minutes later normality was restored as Klose slid in at the back post to convert Bastian Schweinsteiger’s wayward shot. The birthday boy was up and running for a second successive tournament.
In typical fashion, the combined yardage of his two goals was less than 10. The ultimate poacher had done it again.
4) Equalling the Record vs. Ghana (2014)
An epic second-half turnaround by Ghana had seen Germany let a 1-0 lead lead turn into a 2-1 deficit, and their World Cup aspirations were in serious jeopardy.
However, on 71 minutes their most prolific striker of all-time restored parity with yet another goal from inside the six-yard box.
Over the years, Klose has become renowned for being in the right place at the right time, and that was certainly the case again here. He had got himself on the scoresheet for a fourth consecutive World Cup, joining Brazil legend Ronaldo on 14 goals in the process.
The legend had been confirmed.
3) Crucial Equaliser vs. Argentina (2006)
With Germany trailing South American giants Argentina in Berlin, Klose confirmed his status as a national hero by dragging Die Adler to extra time with yet another spectacular header, which saw the striker’s overall tally hit double figures.
In addition to the significance of the goal, it is arguably the best of his seven headed efforts in terms of technical ability. A truly golden moment from one of the tournament's all-time greats. Germany won the match on penalties to book a quarter-final against eventual winners Italy.
According to Paul Carr of ESPN, this goal saw Klose became the first man in history to hit five goals in consecutive World Cup tournaments. He would go on to claim plenty more records for Germany.
2) Taming the Lions vs. England (2010)
When the Eagles met their oldest foe in a highly anticipated round-of-16 encounter in 2010, many had expected a fierce and tight affair. However, the Germans had different ideas, and it was Klose’s 20th-minute opener that sparked a totally dominant display to leave the Three Lions licking their wounds.
Defender Matthew Upson simply couldn’t deal with Klose’s strength as the attacker latched onto a long upfield punt before sliding in to knock the ball past a stranded David James to bring up a dozen goals in World Cup finals.
The German’s used that goal as a springboard and played England off the park thereafter, registering a stunning 4-1 victory.
1) Record-Breaker vs. Brazil (2014)
Tuesday night's goal not only secured Klose’s place in history, it also provided the turning point that initiated an earth-shattering turn of events.
Thomas Muller’s opener had given Germany the upper hand in this crucial semi-final, but it was Klose’s quick reactions and smart finish that really ended Brazil’s World Cup dream.
An intricate move involving Muller and Kroos resulted in Klose seeing his initial shot saved by Julio Cesar, but the cerebral assassin pounced on the rebound to double his side’s advantage and enter the realm of immortality.
Sixteen World Cup goals! That's more than any other player in history, and it seems fitting that he broke the record against the competition’s most successful team on their own patch and in arguably the most extraordinary World Cup match of all time.
An incredible feat for an equally incredible player, it is the crowning achievement in one of international football's most glittering careers.