World Cup Final Records To Impress Your Friends With, Including One That Can Never Be Broken
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This is the match every boy and girl dreams of playing in one day. The match where legends are created. The match that determines the champion of the world. The final of the most magnificent sporting event on the planet will be played for the 21st time on Sunday at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. So what better time than now to look at some of the most incredible World Cup final records?
The World Cup has been played 20 times since 1930. All but one had a designated final — in 1950 a round-robin final group stage determined the winner, though the final match proved to be a de facto final anyway, so we’ll include it in our list of World Cup final records.
The World Cup final has been dominated by teams from Europe and South America; no other confederation has sent a team to the final. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a diversity of World Cup final records.
If you want records beyond just the final, check out our list of the greatest World Cup records of all time.
World Cup Final Records
Most World Cup Final Wins
5 — Brazil
Brazil has been to seven World Cup finals, losing only in 1950 to Uruguay and 1998 to France. Germany and Italy are tied for second with four apiece, followed by Argentina and Uruguay with two each.
Most World Cup Final Appearances
8 — Germany
Germany has gone 4 for 8 in World Cup finals, most recently winning it all in 2014 and losing to Brazil in 2002. Germany didn’t reach its first final until 1954. Brazil is second with seven appearances; Italy has six and Argentina five.
Most World Cup Final Losses
4 — Germany
Germany suffered heartbreak in the final in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002.
Most World Cup Final Appearances Without A Loss
2 — Uruguay
Uruguay won on both its trips to the final in 1930 and 1950. England and Spain are the only other two nations undefeated in World Cup finals with a win apiece.
Most World Cup Final Appearances Without A Win
3 — Netherlands
The Dutch reached the final in 1974, 1978 and 2010 without coming through with the championship. Hungary and Czechoslovakia have both been to two finals without a win while Sweden and perhaps Croatia have been to one.
Most World Cup Final Wins By Confederation
12 — UEFA
This isn’t really a big surprise, is it? CONMEBOL is second with nine.
Most World Cup Final Appearances By Confederation
28 — UEFA
European nations have made up more than half of the final participants with 28 (including 2018). CONMEBOL is second with 14. No other confederation has reached the final.
Highest Scoring World Cup Final
7 — Brazil 5-2 Sweden (1958)
Sweden took the lead in the fourth minute but trailed 4-1 before scoring again in the 80th minute. Pelé and Vavá both scored twice for Brazil. The Seleção also set the mark for most goals in a final for a single team.
Lowest Scoring World Cup Final
0 — Brazil 0-0 Italy (1994)
The only World Cup final to go to penalty kicks scoreless ended when Roberto Baggio skied Italy’s fifth kick to allow Brazil to win the shootout 3-2.
Fastest World Cup Final Goal
2’ — Johan Neeskens, Netherlands (1974)
The Netherlands showed off Total Football with sublime perfection to start the 1974 World Cup, drawing a penalty kick before West Germany even touched the ball. Neeskens’ goal went in 90 seconds after kickoff. Unfortunately for the Dutch, West Germany scored twice in the first half to win 2-1.
Latest World Cup Final Goal
120’ — Geoff Hurst, England (1966)
Hurst scored in the 101st and 120th minutes to lift England to a 4-2 win over West Germany in extra time. His first was controversial but his second clinched the win. The latest World Cup winner came via Spain's Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute of the 2010 final.
Largest Margin Of Victory In World Cup Final
3 — Brazil 1958, Brazil 1970, France 1998
Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in 1958 and Italy 4-1 in 1970, but the Seleção were on the wrong side of a 3-0 loss to France in 1998, the worst shutout loss in World Cup final history.
Most World Cup Final Goals By An Individual (Single Match)
3 — Geoff Hurst, England (1966)
Hurst scored a hat trick against West Germany in 1966, including two in extra time to lead England to its only world championship.
Most World Cup Final Goals By An Individual (Career)
3 — Geoff Hurst, England; Vavá, Brazil; Pelé, Brazil; Zinedine Zidane, France
Hurst, as mentioned above, was the only player to score three goals in one World Cup final. Vavá scored two against Sweden in 1958 and one against Czechoslovakia in 1962. Pelé scored two against Sweden and one against Italy in 1970. Zidane scored two against Brazil in 1998 and one against Italy in 2006. Paul Breitner of West Germany is the only other player to score in multiple World Cup finals.
Youngest World Cup Final Goal Scorer
17 years, 249 days — Pelé, Brazil (1958)
Also the youngest player to ever appear in a final, Pelé scored twice in the 1958 final against Sweden, a 5-2 win for Brazil.
Oldest World Cup Final Goal Scorer
35 years, 263 days — Nils Liedholm, Sweden (1958)
Liedholm scored in the fourth minute to give the host nation the lead, only for Brazil to storm back and win 5-2.
Most World Cup Final Appearances By Individual
3 — Cafu, Brazil
The Brazilian defender appeared in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup finals, winning twice. Pelé is credited with three World Cup victories, but he didn't appear in the 1962 final.
Most World Cup Final Appearances With Different Teams
2 — Luis Monti
The midfielder played for Argentina on the losing side against Uruguay in the 1930 final before switching allegiances and wining the 1934 World Cup with Italy. Given current FIFA rules, it is truly a record that will never be broken.
Oldest Player To Appear In A World Cup Final
40 years, 133 days — Dino Zoff, Italy (1982)
Zoff, a goalkeeper, became the oldest World Cup winner when he helped the Azzurri beat West Germany 3-1.
World Cup Final Extra Time Matches
1934, 1966, 1978, 1994, 2006, 2010, 2014
Of these, only two went to penalty kicks.
World Cup Final Penalty Kick Shootouts
Brazil defeated Italy 3-2 in a shootout after a 0-0 draw at the Rose Bowl in 1994. Italy defeated France 5-3 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw in 2006.
Most Common World Cup Final Matchup
3 — Germany vs. Argentina
The West Germans and Argentines met in back-to-back finals in 1986 and 1990, each winning one. In 2014, Germany defeated Argentina 1-0.
199,854 — 1950, Estádio Maracanã
While the Brazil vs. Uruguay match to conclude the 1950 World Cup was not technically a final, we’re including it because it determined the champion. The next largest attendance at a World Cup final came in 1986 between Argentina and West Germany, when 114,600 fans filed into the Estadio Azteca.
45,000 — 1938, Stade Olympique de Colombes
Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in front of a crowd that set the World Cup final record for smallest crowd.
Most Common World Cup Final Stadium
Estadio Azteca, Mexico
The Estadio Azteca hosted the 1970 final in which Brazil beat Italy 4-1 and the 1986 final in which Argentina beat West Germany 3-2.