The 10 top scoring nations in FIFA World Cup history

The 2022 World Cup is now in the past, but it will certainly be remembered for a long time to come. The big guns were on show as always, with South American giants Argentina coming out on top against fellow footballing superpower France.

A mean defence has been key to many World Cup successes over the years, but such an approach is perhaps not as important as a lethal front line, particularly in the modern game. We have just witnessed the 22nd edition of the famous tournament, and there have been over 2,000 goals scored to date. But which nations have scored the most goals?

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The 10 top scoring nations in FIFA World Cup history

  1. Hungary – 87 goals

Somewhat of a World Cup bridesmaid is Hungary, who have finished second in the famous competition on two occasions, never lifting the prestigious trophy. But they have certainly scored plenty of goals.

The legendary Ferenc Puskas was once in their ranks, but it was his equally legendary compatriot Sándor Kocsis who made headlines at the 1954 World Cup, scoring 11 goals to secure the Golden Boot. In that tournament, and indeed the 1938 event, Hungary scored more goals than any other nation.

  1. Uruguay – 89

Two ahead of Hungary on 89 goals are two-time winners Uruguay, who always seem to have a lethal goalscorer among their ranks. Striker Diego Forlan was the most recent such goalscorer, netting five goals at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the joint-most scored that year.

Oscar Miguez remains the country’s all-time top scorer in the competition with eight goals, with former Liverpool and Barcelona man Luis Suarez one goal behind him on seven.

  1. Netherlands – 96

Definitely always the bridesmaid, never the bride, the Netherlands have been World Cup runners-up on three occasions, the most for any nation not to lift the trophy. They had a chance to put that unwanted title to bed in Qatar, but the likes of Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay couldn’t quite bring it home.

Nevertheless, the Netherlands have scored plenty of goals throughout the competition’s history, and sit eighth in the all-time scoring list with 96 goals. They’ve boasted several world-class attackers over the years, including Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie, Johnny Rep, Rudd van Nistelrooy and Arjen Robben among many others.

  1. England – 104

England have lifted the World Cup trophy just once before, but they certainly score plenty of goals when it comes to the major tournament. Current captain Harry Kane scored six goals in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, adding two more in Qatar.

Kane is England’s leading scorer for most active players, but former striker Gary Lineker has scored the most goals in the competition for the Three Lions, finding the back of the net 10 times.

  1. Spain – 108

Spain are again regulars at scoring goals in major tournaments, with the European outfit improving their tally with nine goals in the most recent World Cup, despite having a largely miserable competition overall.

The likes of Fernando Torres, Raul and Fernando Morientes have all represented the country on the scoring front over the years, but it is iconic striker David Villa that leads the way in their World Cup goals list with nine.

  1. Italy – 128

Italy have finished as the highest scorers at the World Cup on just one occasion, scoring 12 goals in the 1934 tournament. It was enough to secure the title that year, with the Italians going on to win three further World Cup trophies in 1938, 1982 and 2006.

Heroic forwards Christian Vieri, Roberto Baggio and Paolo Rossi have all scored nine goals in the competition. The current Italy squad is in desperate need of such goalscoring talent, having failed to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 editions.

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  1. France – 136

France have also been blessed with phenomenal talent over the years, talent which has helped them lift the trophy on two occasions, the first coming in 1998 on home soil and the second coming in the most recent edition of the World Cup 2018.

And they have scored plenty of goals along the way, courtesy of legendary figures Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini. But it is former striker Just Fontaine who stands as their record World Cup goalscorer, with the French hero incredibly netting all 13 of his goals in the 1958 tournament. He is, however, being chased by the incredible Kylian Mbappe, who already has 12.

  1. Argentina – 152

Argentina got their 2022 World Cup off to the worst possible start, losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition. But it mattered not, with the South Americans going on to lift the trophy in Qatar.

Argentina topped the scoring charts in their two previous successes, with icons like Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta among their all-time leading scorers in this tournament. Both have, however, now been taken over by the one and only Lionel Messi.

  1. Germany – 232

Sitting second in the all-time scoring list is Germany, who were of course known as West Germany once upon a time. Their combined total in the World Cup sits at 232 goals, with the country finishing as the top scoring team at the tournament on four occasions. That includes three times in the last four competitions, with Belgium breaking their run in 2018.

The Germans have been helped in this regard by the fact that Miroslav Klose sits top of the all-time scoring charts with 16 goals, with Gerd Muller just two behind him on the leaderboard. Jurgen Klinsmann and Helmut Rahn also netted double figures for their country on the biggest stage of them all.

  1. Brazil – 237

With five World Cup titles, Brazil are kings at this level, and perhaps unsurprisingly also sit top of the goals scored charts. The likes of Ronaldo, Pele and Jairzinho are responsible for such exploits, with Brazil finishing as the top scorers in four different World Cup tournaments. The nation have more goals in the competition than Italy and Spain combined.

The South Americans included star forwards Neymar and Vinicius Jr in their 26-man roster for the 2022 World Cup, along with Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, Tottenham Hotspur’s Richarlison and Barcelona’s Raphinha. But not even they could fully find their feet in the competition as Brazil headed home from Qatar early.

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Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch has a passion for both sports and writing.