Germany striker Miroslav Klose became the World Cup's all-time record scorer with his 16th goal during their semi-final against Brazil on Tuesday, eclipsing former Brazil striker Ronaldo in the record books with his 23rd minute strike.
The 36-year-old, playing in his fourth World Cup, had already equalled Ronaldo on 15 goals with his dramatic strike in Germany's 2-2 draw against Ghana in the group stage before moving ahead on Tuesday in the match in Belo Horizonte.
Of the German squad, Klose is easily the most experienced. He is the oldest, at 36, and has the most caps — 132. He is Germany’s all-time top goal scorer with 69 goals for his country.
In an age where the striker is more expendable than ever, Klose was still one of the first names on the German team sheet, and is their only forward option in Brazil. Klose has been instrumental in Germany’s recent successes in the World Cup, although he still lacks the winner’s medal that would put him in the upper echelons of the game.
Here’s a look at other football legends and their glorious score sheets at the World Cup stage.
Ronaldo – 15 goals
The previous record holder, Brazilian mega star Ronaldo was a voracious goal scorer. He was the crown jewel of one of the most star studded football line ups in history. His explosive pace and tremendous finishing ability will mean that even without the record he'll remain one of the greats of World Cup football.
Gerd Muller – 14 goals
Another German goal scoring legend he comes second after Brazil legend Ronaldo. Der Bomber, as he was known, sits below fellow countryman Klose on 14, a tally that saw him top the tables for World Cup goal scorers for a 32-year period before Ronaldo broke it in 2006. Muller’s career record is staggering, but it comes as no surprise given his quality. It took someone as special as Lionel Messi to beat his record of scoring 85 goals in one calendar year.
Just Fontaine – 13 goals
Frenchman Fontaine’s record of 13 goals in World Cups is a unique one, given they all came in one edition; Sweden 1958. Fontaine’s club career was epitomized by his goal scoring prowess. Despite never breaking away from the French leagues, Fontaine was renowned as one of the most lethal strikers in Europe, and will continue to grace World Cup records for a very long time.
Pele – 12 goals
Little needs to be said of Pele, other than his 12 World Cup goals helped inspire what is hailed as the greatest Brazil side of all time to three tournament victories. Edison Arantes do Nascimento was a genius on the ball, a marvel for his side, and someone who, to many, remains the greatest soccer player to have ever lived. His skill was typical of a Brazilian, but his ingenuity and subtlety was a joy to behold and something that we may never see again.
Jurgen Klinsmann – 11 goals
Klinsmann was notorious for more than his goals, as his famous diving celebration has etched itself on modern football. Klinsmann remains the third highest capped player by Germany with 108, and his 47 goals were instrumental in a period when West Germany was a dominant force. Amongst his honors lie a World Cup and a European Championship. Klinsmann was a proven goal scorer who went on to manage the national team in the 2006 finals on home soil.
Gary Lineker – 10 goals
Gary Lineker is one of football's gentlemen. In all his professional career, he didn't receive a yellow card. A silent man off the field, on it he was deadly. He started his career in Leicester scoring nearly 100 goals in less than 200 appearances. In 1985, a year before the Mexico World Cup, he moved to Everton and personally he had a fantastic season. Player Of The Year and topscorer that season with 40 goals in total. Everton, despite Lineker's goals, ended up runners-up in both the league and the FA cup after their rivals Liverpool.In 1990 England reached the semifinal, Lineker scored four goals on their way there, making him only the eight player in the World Cup history to score 10 goals or more. He bowed out in the 1992 European Championship in Sweden where he and England had a disappointing tournament.
Star to watch
Thomas Muller - 10 goals
If there is any current player who looks set to overhaul Klose's record it is his compatriot Thomas Muller. The 24 year old goal machine has 10 goals in 2 World Cup tournaments. He has at least two more tournaments left in him where he can easily overtake Klose .
(Sneha Gohri is an 18-year-old student. She is interning with the hindustantimes.com World Cup team after earning her spot with a write-up)