Which World Cup records can Messi, Ronaldo break in Qatar?

With just days to go until the first ball is kicked off in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup is fast approaching as football fans around the world prepare for a mid-season feast of action men’s international.

As well as global glory and sporting immortality at stake, there are also a number of World Cup records that can be broken and milestones within reach over the next 64 games.

Many big names enter the World Cup poised to make history with their national teams, with long-standing milestones likely to be passed in the final if things go as planned for some players and teams.

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Ronaldo’s preparation for the World Cup was overshadowed by his recent interview criticizing his club, Manchester United, but that shouldn’t obscure the fact that he could become the first male player in history to score in five Cups. of the different world.

The Portuguese captain scored at least one goal in each of the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 finals to equal the record jointly held by Brazilian legend Pelé (1958, 1962, 1966, 1970) and German big names Miroslav Klose (2002 , 2006, 2010 , 2014) and Uwe Seeler (1958, 1962, 1966, 1970). Therefore, a single goal in Qatar will see Ronaldo go on his own.

Ronaldo can rest easy knowing he already holds the record for the oldest player to score a hat-trick at a World Cup after scoring three goals against Spain in the 2018 group stage in the age of 33 years and 130 days – of course, there’s always a chance he could extend that particular record into 2022. Portugal will face Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea in Group H.

Lionel Messi has played more World Cup games in total (19) than any other active player, leading his old foe Ronaldo by two games. It remains to be seen how the 2022 tournament will play out, but all Messi needs to do is outlast Ronaldo and avoid injury to emerge from Qatar with that record intact.

Sergio Ramos is second alongside Ronaldo on the list of active players (17 games) but, having not been selected by Spain, is unlikely to be added to their tally before the end of his career .

German duo Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer are close behind with 16 games each, and could theoretically overtake Messi in 2022 if Die Mannschaft make good progress in the knockout stage as a disastrous fate befalls Argentina. The same goes for veteran Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Diego Maradona set the Argentina national team’s record for World Cup appearances with 21 games, meaning Messi is more than likely to surpass his idol during the 2022 tournament.

Should Argentina reach the final with Messi making all seven appearances, he would surpass former Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaus’ all-time record of 25 World Cup appearances.

While Messi has scored six goals in World Cup matches, he has never found the net in a match beyond the group stage. However, his four assists in knockout matches is a World Cup record he has held jointly with Pele since the 1966 tournament (which dates back as far as reliable data stretches).

Ronaldo vs. Messi

The two goliaths of the modern game are set to join an exclusive group of players from history to compete in five different Men’s World Cups. Messi and Ronaldo will join Matthaus and Mexican pair Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez as the only players to appear in five finals in their careers. Mexico veteran Andres Guardado could also enter the pitch in a fifth final if the 36-year-old midfielder plays for Sorting in Qatar 2022.

Several other players have been included in five World Cup squads during their careers but have failed to make appearances at all of them. For example, Gianluigi Buffon was included in five Italian World Cup squads (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) but remained an unused substitute at France ’98.

Likewise, Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has become a fixture in the tournament and was included in his fifth World Cup squad in 2022. However, ‘Memo’ served as a substitute in 2006 and 2010 and did not reach the pitch. .

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All-time top scorers

There are a couple of top strikers who are on the verge of becoming their country’s all-time top scorer at the Qatar World Cup.

Neymar heads into the tournament having scored 75 goals in 121 games for Brazil, which leaves him three goals away from usurping Pele’s record for the Seleçao, which has existed since 1971.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane is just three goals away from breaking Wayne Rooney’s record and becoming England’s all-time leading goalscorer. The Tottenham Hotspur star has scored 51 goals in 75 games for his country, while Rooney retired with 53 goals in 120 appearances.

Additionally, Kane won the 2018 Russian Golden Boot with six goals, putting him second on the English tournament’s goalscoring list behind Gary Lineker (10 goals). A glut of goals in Qatar could see Kane break two incredibly impressive national team records in one fell swoop.

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As well as being grouped among the favorites to lift the trophy in Qatar, Argentina also enter the 2022 World Cup as the undisputed in-form team in world football.

Lionel Scaloni’s side are on a formidable 35-game unbeaten streak dating back to July 2019 – specifically the 2019 Copa America third-place qualifier. Albiceleste won 2-1 to claim bronze on that fateful day and haven’t lost a game since. In fact, they even returned to the Copa America around this time and won it, in 2021.

Moreover, Argentina only need to add three games to their phenomenal run to surpass the record of 37 unbeaten men’s internationals set by Italy between October 2018 and October 2021. Argentina, who beat the European champions 3-0 when they meet at the Intercontinental in June Finalissime at Wembley, could set the record against Mexico in their second Group C game in Qatar.

Speaking of streaks, a cap removal is due for Wales, who will play their first World Cup final game in 68 years, ending the longest tournament absence of any country in the 92 years of FIFA competition history.

Canada are also set to make just their second appearance and their first since 1986, the second longest absence among any nation that has qualified for the 2022 final in Qatar.

Speaking of Wales, USA manager Gregg Berhalter will make World Cup history when his side take on Gareth Bale & Co. in their opening Group B match at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan on Monday.

At the age of 49, Berhalter will become the first man to represent the United States at a World Cup as a player and coach, having previously taken to the field for the USMNT in the 2002 tournaments. and 2006.

Information from ESPN’s Statistics and News Group was used in this report

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