The 2022 FIFA World Cup is officially underway in Qatar, and fans all around the globe are tuning in to watch the action. The final World Cup with 32 participating teams (the field will increase to 48 for the 2026 tournament), this one is sure to be a nail-biter, with France vying to defend its title.
Any sports tournament is bound to have confusing rules about which teams advance and which are eliminated, and the World Cup is no exception. Eight groups are assigned, with four teams per group. In order to advance to the knockout stage, each team plays a match against the other teams in its group; the top two teams with the most points from each group advance. A victory earns three points, a draw earns two, and a loss equals zero.
If the top two teams are tied in points, then the winner is whichever team has the higher goal differential – the difference between how many goals a team gave up vs. scored.
At the end of the day, no matter how confusing the points system is, the most important element of winning the World Cup is winning games – and you can’t win games without scoring goals. And over the course of the 21 World Cups played since its 1930 inaugural, some teams have scored a whole lot of goals. (Here’s a list of the best men’s national soccer teams of 2022.)
To compile a list of the World Cups with the most goals scored, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report by consumer data site Statista. Information on games and Golden Boot winners came from FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. (These are the all-time top goal scorers at the World Cup.)
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