The first edition of the FIFA World Cup took place 92 years ago in Uruguay and, since than, history has been written time and time again, with records being etched into place only to be broken later. Sure, the old saying is that records are meant to be broken, but one needs extreme consistency and durability to manage such features.
However, the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup, due to be held in Qatar between 20 November and 18 December, can bring some new records, with old milestones ready to be broken by exceptional football players or coaches, which have definitely have a huge chance to have their names enshrined in history.
Who are they and what do they need to get there? Let’s take a short look, walk through history and see what the future holds.
Will Messi be the player with the most appearances?
Only 11 players in history have played at least 20 matches at the FIFA World Cup, a feature which will see 12 players in this bracket if Argentina’s Lionel Messi features twice in the competition. Moreover, if Argentina manages to qualify for the final like they did in the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Messi on the pitch, the seven times Ballon d’Or winner will tie German Lothar Matthaus as the player with the largest number of games played in the competition.
Several other players could also feature in the select club with at least 20 games played at the FIFA World Cup, such as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who has played 17 times so far, Germany’s Thomas Muller or Manuel Neuer, who both have 16 matches, Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, with 16 caps, or France’s captain, Hugo Lloris, who played 15 times.
Can Deschamps tie the record for the number of wins as a coach?
Brazil’s Carlos Alberto Parreira is the only coach to have featured six times at the FIFA World Cup, with Serbia’s Bora Milutinovic coaching in five different tournaments. But none have the winning percentage of France’s Didier Deschamps, who have nine wins in only 12 games coached in the competition, in only two appearances, in 2014 and 2018.
Deschamps is ranked seventh in the number of wins at the World Cup, only one win shy of Parreira and Uruguay’s Oscar Tabarez. A record that could be tied, though, needs an immaculate performance for France. If the reigning champions secure wins in all their matches, Deschamps will tie Helmut Schön as the coach with the largest number of wins in the competition, 16. But Deschamps could still afford to fail to win at least two games to become the second in these standings, tying Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won 14 games in three appearances in the competition.
Ronaldo can still write a piece of his own history
Only four players in history have scored at least one goal at four different editions of the FIFA World Cup. Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose have done it before 2018, when Portugal’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo entered the exclusive club with a goal against Spain. Ronaldo has seven goals under his name and will probably not become the top goal scorer of all-time in the competition, but he can still write history at Qatar 2022.
No other player has ever scored in five different editions of the FIFA World Cup, therefore CR7 will have an incentive at what will probably be his last appearance in the competition, at 37 years old. He is due to lead the line for Portugal once again and will have at least three chances, in the group matches against Ghana, Uruguay and the Republic of Korea to clinch that record.
Brazil and Germany fight closely for the record number of matches played
Two teams are already holding the record for the largest number of games played in the competition – Brazil and Germany – each featuring 109 times at the FIFA World Cup, with the South American side also holding the record for the largest number of wins, 73, as opposed to Germany’s 67, and the record for the largest number of goals scored, 229, three more than Germany.
The side which will go further in the tournament will be holding that record alone for the next four years, until the FIFA World Cup returns in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, with no other team playing hitting the 100-game milestone in the competition. Argentina will also leapfrog Italy in the third place, while England hitting the 70-game milestone and France needs only four games to have played 70 times at the World Cup.
Will Mexico become the first team to lose 30 matches?
Despite playing only 57 matches, Mexico the side with the largest number of losses, 27, can become the first side in history to lose 30 games at the FIFA World Cup in this edition. They are also only two goals shy of becoming the third team to concede 100 goals, after Brazil and Germany, while also being the side with the largest number of matches played without winning the trophy.
Only Germany (125) and Brazil (105) conceded more goals than Mexico in the history of the competition, but they have also played more matches. However, Mexico is the fifth side judging by the number of appearances in the competition, 17, after Brazil (22), Germany (20), Italy (18), and Argentina (18).