Fontaine, the man who pumped 13 goals in single World Cup

Fontaine's amazing finishing power was enhanced by his ability to remain cool, calm and collected in the heat of the moment.

Just Fontaine being carried by team-mates after scoring four goals against West Germany in 1958 World Cup.   -  AFP

Just Fontaine, who was born on August 18, 1933 in Marrakesh (Morocco), holds the record as top goal-scorer at a World Cup. Included at  the last minute by coach Paul Nicolas in France's World Championship side for the 1958 finals in Sweden, he scored 13 goals in six games, beating the record of any player before or since. All the goals were scored in the regular course of the game, the penalty being scored by his great friend Raymond Kopa. In the very first game against Paraguay, Fontaine  scored a hat-trick. This was followed by two goals in the match against Yugoslavia and two against Northern Ireland. In the matches against Scotland and Brazil he had to make do with a mere one goal per match. Then he surpassed this extraordinary performance in the third place play-off by thwarting German 'keeper, Kwiatkowski, no fewer than four times. France finally won 6-3 against the former title holder.

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Fontaine's career had already begun in Morocco. A.S. Marrakesh and U.S. Casablanca, where he was North African top marksman, were the first ports of call of this Frenchman before he signed on with Nice (Cup victory in 1954 and championship title in 1956). He was then discovered by Albert Batteux for the top team Stade Reims, with whom he won the two-fold title. In the 26 matches which Fontaine played that season he scored 34 times. The following year in the European Cup he chalked up 10 goals. Stade Reims he lost the final against Real Madrid with whom his friend Kopa had in the meantime signed on.

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In 1958 he came third in the Best European Player of the Year stakes, behind Kopa and the German, Helmut Rahn. His uncanny scoring instinct, his ability to predict a promising situation, allied with his remarkable intuition for the game in general, made him a force to be reckoned with. His amazing finishing power was enhanced by his ability to remain cool, calm and collected in the heat of the moment. He maintains that the team work of colleagues of the calibre of Wiesnieski, Kopa, Piantoni and Vincent was a contributory factor to his success at the peak of his career. Despite the relative brevity of his career in the national team, Fontaine scored 30 goals in 20 matches. He made his debut on October 7, 1956 with a 1-2 defeat by Hungary in Paris, bidding farewell in the very same place on December 11, 1960 with a 3-0 win over Bulgaria.

 

Only two months later, two leg fractures compelled him to give up the game at the early age of twenty-seven. Fontaine later turned to coaching. In 1967, he led the French national team for a brief period and in 1973 he guided Paris St. Germain back into the first division. He was also a very sought after man in Morocco.

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