FIFA World Cup – a concept first proposed by a French journalist Robert Guerin – has become a unifying spectacle for international football that stages joy, grief, anxiety and every emotion that embellishes the fact that football is more than just a game.
Since the start of the World Cup in 1930, over 2500 goals have been scored across 20 editions of the tournament. Here are the milestone goals in the grandest carnival of the sport over the years.
1 – Lucien Laurent, France – July 13 – 1930
The FIFA World Cup – since its launch in 1930 – brings before the mind’s eye an enchanting panorama of human endeavour in all its irrepressible quest for excellence.
Is football a passion, an obsession, an addiction or a mania.... Well, it will be difficult to fathom what it really is.
When Lucien Laurent, a 5 feet 3 inch forward made a run close to the box and shot a volley off a cross from Ernest Liberato (from his right), the very first moment of joy, jubilation and bedlam in the tournament came up.
Laurent had scored the first-ever goal in a FIFA World Cup. France went to score three more goals in that match against Mexico, winning it 4-1.
“When I scored my goal, which was the first of the tournament and my first for France, we congratulated each other but without jumping all over one another like they do now,” explained Laurent at a gala dinner held by the organisers of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
100 – Angelo Schiavio, Italy – 1934
Angelo Shiavio was one of the most significant players of the Italian National Team as the Azzurris won its first World Cup, beating Czechoslovakia on home soil.
The forward scored the winner in extra-time. At the end of regulation time the score remained 1-1 and Shivaio – getting a cross from Enrique Guaita – drove the ball home to give Italy the edge.
But Shiavio got his name into history books before that match, in Italy’s first game, against the United States of America.
In the 64th minute – shortly after Giovanni Ferrari scored from an Anfilogino Guarisi corner-kick – Schiavio completed his hattrick in style to score the 100th goal of the FIFA World Cup.
At the World Cup, he set multiple records. He scored Italy’s first world cup goal, first hat-trick by an Italian in the World Cup and finished the tournament as the second highest goal scorer with four goals.
500 – Robert Young Collins, Scotland – 1958
In the 1958 FIFA World Cup, Scotland had a rather unimpressive run, as it got eliminated in the group stage with no wins in the tournament. But Bobby Collins, the forward got his name on record books despite losing the game, to Paraguay.
The South Americans – leading 2-1 at half-time – further increased its lead with a goal by Silvio Jose Parodi in the 73rd minute. Playing inside-left, Collins replied with a quick goal within three minutes, reducing the deficit of goals to just one.
It was his seventh international goal and the 500th goal of the FIFA World Cup.
1000 – Rob Rensenbrink, Netherlands – 1978
Rob Rensenbrink – the Dutch forward who initially struggled for chances in the 1974 World Cup – rose to prominence after Johan Cruyff retired from international football.
Playing mostly as a left-winger, Rob ended up as the second-highest goal scorer in the World Cup and was crucial in the team’s run-up to the final, where it lost to Argentina.
One of his five goals in the tournament – and the 1000th goal in the history of the World Cup – came against Scotland, in the Netherlands’ last group stage match against Scotland.
Though the Dutch qualified easily, his goal – like Collins – could not help in winning the match.
1500 – Claudio Caniggia, Argentina
Claudio Caniggia’s individual brilliance saw Argentina secure its second win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, against Nigeria. After the Albiceleste conceded an early goal from Samson Siasia, a brace from Caniggia in seven minutes sealed three points.
The first one of the two – the 1500th goal of the World Cup – began from a free-kick by Gabriel Batistuta, which – after a save by Peter Rufai – was shot back into the net by Caniggia to make it all square in the 22nd minute.
A right-footed curler from the No. 7 followed in the 29th minute to complete a comeback for Diego Maradona’s side as it made its way into the knockouts.
2000 – Marcus Allback, Sweden – 2006
After Joe Cole’s stunning strike gave England the lead against Sweden in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Sweden equalised with a clinical set-piece finish, early in the second half.
The man behind the goal – the 2000th goal in World Cup history – was Marcus Allback.
Tobias Linderoth’s corner kick in the 51st minute was headed into the net by Allback, making it level at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, Germany.
This was not the only comeback goal for the Swedes as Henrik Larsson’s 90th minute goal ensured they went home with a point. Allback played for the National Team 74 times and scored 30 goals.
2500 – Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Tunisia – 2018
Tunisia won just one game in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, against Panama in its last group stage fixture in Russia. The foundations of the victory – a comeback goal – came from Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, the 2500th goal in the FIFA World Cup.
Early in the second half, Tunisia went on a counter attack with Nayim Sliti carrying the ball close to the penalty box of Panama.
He passed it to Wahbi Khazri on his right, and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef – making a run behind the opposition’s defence – received the follow-up cross to drive the ball home.
That was Youssef’s high-point in National team colours. He has not been picked for the National team since 2019 and that goal remains his last international goal.
2548 – Mario Mandzukic, Croatia – 2018
The latest goal in the FIFA World Cup was scored in a lost cause by Mario Mandzukic for Croatia in the World Cup final.
The match initially saw him become a villain for his team, when he headed Antoinne Griezmann’s free kick into his own net, giving France an early lead.
Despite Ivan Perisic equalising, Les Blues capitalised on them with goals from Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe.
The last goal of the match also came from Mandzukic when a back pass from Samuel Umtiti – after being poorly handled by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris – was guided into goal by the Croat.