When football spectators talk about the greatest goal scorer in the prestigious FIFA World Cup, the likes of Miroslav Klose, Ronaldo, Gerd Müller, Just Fontaine, Lionel Messi, Pelé, etc. are often mentioned. These players not only scored goals for fun in the quadrennial competition, but they also helped their national teams to win in all or break new ground in the contest. But it is worth noting that Fontaine stood out from these terrific scorers, as he is the record holder in a single FIFA World Cup. The French forward, who sadly left the world at the age of 89 recently, once scored 13 goals in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden.
13 Goals in Six FIFA World Cup Games
The Marrakech-born Fontaine was born on 18th August 1933 and made his international debut two decades later, where he went on to capture 21 appearances for his country. Despite limited caps during the span of seven years with France, Fontaine managed an incredible 30 goals, in which almost half of those tallies came from the sixth FIFA World Cup in Sweden, the only edition he had participated in.
The joint-ninth top scorer for Les Bleus was 24 years of age when he represented the French national team in the 1958 FIFA World Cup. Prior to this tournament, Les Bleus’ best result in the competition was a quarterfinal exit twenty years earlier, and they were drawn to the same group with Yugoslavia, Paraguay and Scotland. The amazing Fontaine scored six goals within the space of eight days against these three opponents, allowing his country to qualify for the knockout round only for the third time with two victories and a draw.
Just when everyone thought Fontaine could not extend his good run of form in the next stage of the competition, he scored a brace against Northern Ireland in the last 8, before another goal against the eventual champion, the Pelé-led Brazil in the semifinal. The semifinal loss fueled Fontaine’s determination in the third-place play-off, where he erupted with four goals against West Germany.
Pelé’s Selecao Stopped Fontaine’s Les Bleus
Fontaine’s record breaking moment could have been a lot sweeter, had his country been able to surpass Brazil and win the eventual finale of the tournament against host nation Sweden. Nevertheless, his 13 goals in six matches in the competition did help France to achieve their then best ever result in the competition, and placed him third in the 1958 Ballon d’Or race.
Early Retirement at the Age of 28, Managed Les Bleus for Two Games
The goal machine could have participated in more club games and major international competitions, if it was not a recurring injury that forced him into early retirement before his thirties. The player played his last game for country and club in 1960 and 1962 respectively, in which he contributed a total of 288 goals in 305 appearances for France, USM Casablanca, Nice and Reims. During his 13-year club career, Fontaine captured team honours such as four French Division 1, two Coupe de France, two Trophée des Champions titles and a European Cup runner-up finish in the 1958/1959 Season. After his retirement, Fontaine made his way to a coaching career about five years later, managing his own country for two friendly matches, followed by stints with Luchon, Paris Saint-Germain, Toulouse and Morocco.
Died at the Age of 89 at Toulouse
Fontaine spent his life after retirement entirely at Toulouse, France, and passed away due to old age. He will continue to be remembered as one of the most prolific goal scorers in the game of football, with his 13 goals in a single FIFA World Cup almost impossible to be outshone.