Oldest players to score at a World Cup
Who are the oldest FIFA World Cup scorers? We look back at the 10 male players to score a goal at the oldest age, along with other age-related goalscoring records.
1. Roger Milla
(42 years, 39 days)
Cameroon vs Russia – 28 June 1994
Roger Milla became the oldest player to score a World Cup goal in June 1994, when his Cameroon side faced Russia in the United States. Unfortunately for Milla and Cameroon, they lost the match 6-1, but the striker extended his own record by scoring the consolation goal.
Milla’s two goals for Cameroon against Colombia at Italia 90 meant he was already the oldest player in World Cup history, at 38 years and 34 days, but he thought he would add four years to that. record just to make it safe.
Milla’s age when he scored as a substitute in 1994 against Russia was 42 years and 39 days. Just to underline his age, he is more than a year older than another Cameroonian legend, Samuel Eto’o, will be when the 2022 World Cup is played in Qatar.
The Cameroon striker has never played another World Cup match and is the third oldest player to play in the competition behind Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary and Colombia’s Faryd Mondragón, but ahead of Northeast legend Irish Pat Jennings and Englishman Peter Shilton.
Milla’s age-related record was eclipsed that day, with Russia’s Oleg Salenko scoring five goals in their 6-1 win and setting a new World Cup record as the only player to score so far. to five goals in a single match throughout the history of the competition.
2. Gunnar Gren
(37 years, 236 days)
Sweden v West Germany – June 24, 1958
Sweden’s Gunnar Gren scored in the 1958 World Cup semi-final against West Germany. After the Germans took the lead and Sweden equalized in the first half, Gren’s first and only World Cup goal was the one that put Sweden ahead, before team-mate Kurt Hamrin sealed the 3-1 victory at the end of the match.
Gren’s goal took Sweden through to the 1958 final against Brazil, but they then lost 5-2 thanks to a masterclass from Pelé.
A special mention should however be made here for the Russian Sergei Ignashevich. The Russian scored a goal against Spain at the 2018 World Cup aged 38, 352 days – more than a year older than Gren when he scored his last World Cup goal. Luckily for the Russian, we don’t include own goals in this list.
3. Cuauhtemoc Blanco
(37 years, 151 days)
Mexico vs France – 17 June 2010
Mexico playmaker Cuauhtémoc Blanco scored his third and final FIFA World Cup goal in Mexico’s 2-0 win over France at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Aged 37 years and 151 days to score, Blanco became the third-oldest World Cup goalscorer (excluding own goals) and the oldest Mexican to score in tournament history.
That 79th-minute Blanco penalty helped knock France out of the 2010 World Cup group stage, following their opener draw against Uruguay and a loss to hosts Portugal. South Africa, in the last game of the groups.
With goals at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups, Blanco is one of only three Mexican players to have scored in three separate World Cups, alongside Chicharito and Rafael Márquez.
4. Philippe Baloy
(37 years, 120 days)
Panama vs England – 24 June 2018
Felipe Baloy may have only made one appearance and 21 minutes on the pitch in World Cup history, but he managed to score in that game and become the fourth oldest player to score a World Cup goal.
Considering Panama won’t feature in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and Baloy turns 42 in February next year, he’s unlikely to add a day to those numbers either.
Much like Roger Milla before him, Baloy’s goal came as a consolation in a heavy 6-1 defeat. The Panamanian defender entered the game as England led 6-0, then netted a free-kick header just nine minutes after coming on, meaning that while Baloy was on the pitch, Panama won 1-0. This is the real victory.
5. Obdulio Varela
(36 years, 279 days)
Uruguay v England – 26 June 1954
It is possible that Obdulio Varela is not a name that you know too well. It should be, however.
Varela was captain of the Uruguay team that won the 1950 World Cup and is considered in South America to be one of the best national team captains of all time, the midfielder still adored by the Uruguayan soccer fans.
In June 1954, Varela scored his second and final World Cup goal in a 4-2 win over England in Switzerland. That was the good news. The bad news is that he got injured during the goal celebration and never played a World Cup game again, which was bad luck for Uruguay given that he didn’t play. ever lost a World Cup game he played in (W6 D1 L0).
Also on the list of the 10 oldest World Cup goalscorers:
No. 6: Martín Palermo (36 years, 227 days)
Argentina vs Greece – 22 June 2010
No. 7: Georges Bregy (36 years, 152 days)
Switzerland vs USA – 18 June 1994
No. 8: Tom Finney (36 years, 64 days)
England v USSR – 8 June 1958
No. 9: Miroslav Klose (36 years, 29 days)
Germany vs Brazil – 8 July 2014
No. 10: John Aldridge (35 years, 279 days)
Republic of Ireland vs Mexico – 24 June 1994
Oldest player to score a World Cup hat-trick
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is the oldest player to score a hat-trick at a World Cup. The current Premier League star was 33 years and 130 days old when he scored his hat-trick in the 3-3 group stage draw with Spain – his third goal from a delicious free-kick past the Spanish keeper – and current Manchester United team-mate – David de Gea with just two minutes left. It was his 51st hat-trick for club and country, while it was also the 51st hat-trick scored in World Cup history.
Rob Rensenbrink held the record for 30 years after his hat-trick for the Netherlands against Iran at the 1978 World Cup, aged 30 years and 335 days.
Lionel Messi (35) and Ronaldo himself (now 37) could be potentials to extend that record at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although neither man has ever scored outside of the stages groups at a World Cup.
Oldest player to score in a World Cup final
Nils Liedholm was 35 years and 264 days old when he scored in the 1958 World Cup final for Sweden against Brazil. The Swedish striker opened the scoring after just four minutes, but that lead only lasted five minutes before Vavá equalized for Brazil in the ninth minute – it was to be the only time Sweden were leading in the final.
The 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy in Berlin saw Zinedine Zidane (34 years, 16 days) and Marco Materzazzi (32 years, 324 days) score – the second and third oldest players to score in a World Cup final. The game is best known for the clash between the two later on, however – Zidane being sent off in his last appearance for France after headbutting Materazzi in the chest.
Special mention to another 32-year-old, Mario Mandžukić who scored for both teams in the 2018 final between France and Croatia at 32 years and 55 days. After scoring an own goal for France in the 18th minute, the Croatian striker scored from the right side in the 69th minute.
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