Harry Kane can forget about Just Fontaine.
Sixty years on, Fontaine’s record of 13 goals in a single World Cup still looks unbeatable.
But at least England striker Kane has a golden chance to move high up on the list of all-time scorers, with potentially three games left to add to his tournament-leading tally of six in Russia.
A goal against Sweden in the quarterfinals on Saturday would move Kane level with Grzegorz Lato, the Poland striker who bagged seven in as many games in 1974.
After ’74, no player scored more than six until Brazil great Ronaldo top-scored with eight in seven when leading Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002.
No player has managed more than six since then.
While Kane could possibly equal Gerd Muller’s tally of 10 for West Germany in ’70, Fontaine’s mark looks untouchable for another four years.
It was perhaps briefly under threat, after Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in his first two games in Russia. When Ronaldo scored his fourth of the tournament, just four minutes into the second group game against Morocco, a huge personal haul seemed possible with Iran up next.
But the five-time World Player-of-the-Year and Europe’s all-time international leading scorer with 85, failed to score again and the European champion went out in the round of 16 .
Ronaldo is in illustrious company. For other great strikers including Argentina’s rampaging Mario Kempes; Italy’s poacher supreme Paolo Rossi, and England’s jet-heeled Gary Lineker have fallen well short.
Fontaine scored his 13 in just six games for semifinalist France at the ’58 World Cup in Sweden. Even in grainy videos of old, his blistering pace is apparent something he shared with the Ronaldos, more than with Kane.
While a graceful 17-year-old Pele stole the headlines for World Cup winner Brazil in ’58, Fontaine emerged as a ruthless finisher. Overall, that year, Fontaine scored an astonishing 18 goals in 12 games for France.
Aside from Muller, only one other player has got close to 13 at a World Cup — Sandor Kocsis in ’54.
Kocsis scored 11 in five games, an even more astonishing feat considering the more illustrious Puskas was the star of Hungary’s Mighty Magyars.
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