SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 15:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Spain at Fisht Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The First Hat-tricks in the Last 7 World Cup Finals

For a goalscorer, it simply does not get much better than scoring a hat-trick. For a footballer, it does not get much better than scoring at the World Cup. So to score a hat-trick at the World Cup finals, puts you in a very elite, special category.


Brazilian legend Pele, at just 17-years old, scored a famous hat-trick in the semi-final against France in 1958. German superstar Gerd Muller once scored two hat-tricks in back-to-back games in the 1970 finals, against Bulgaria and Peru. And no Englishman will ever forget Geoff Hurst's famous hat-trick in the World Cup final of 1966.


So with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a sublime hat-trick at Russia 2018 on just the second day, who has scored the first hat-tricks at the last seven World Cups?

7. Thomas Muller: Germany vs Portgual (Brazil 2014)

The world champions we're unstoppable throughout their 2014 World Cup triumph, large parts of this was down to the goal-scoring prowess of Thomas Muller.


As a result, the German could well be on his way to surpassing his compatriot Miroslav Klose with the most World Cup goals - Muller already on 10 goals, whilst Klose's record is at 16.


However, this hat-trick wasn't the most glorious one you will ever see. It started with a penalty, then an error from Pepe was easily slotted away by Muller for his second, and the German finished of his three-goal haul with a simple tap-in.


A honourable mention goes out to Xherdan Shaqiri, who also scored a hat-trick this World Cup, which included a goal of the tournament contender.

6. Gonzalo Higuain: Argentina vs South Korea (South Africa 2010)

A young Gonzalo Higuain inspired his country to a demolition over South Korea in the group stages of the 2010 World Cup, and the-then Real Madrid man, scored Argentina's fourth FIFA World Cup hat-trick ever.


Similar to Thomas Muller's, it wasn't the most spectacular hat-trick you'll see. First was a header from yards out, second a tap-in off the post from a Lionel Messi shot, and the third, well... he simply couldn't of missed, as he headed home his third goal.


Higuain therfore joined Gabriel Batistuta and Guillermo Stabile in the elite list of Argentine's to score a hat-trick at the finals. Not even Diego Maradona or Messi con boast that. 

5. Miroslav Klose: Germany vs Saudi Arabia (Japan & South Korea 2002)

As there was no hat-trick in the 2006 finals in Germnay, we move to 2002.


And it came from Miroslav Klose, the greatest goal-scorer in the history of the world's biggest sporting event who has an unrivalled 16 goals. 


The German legend, bagged three of those goals against Saudi Arabia in 2002, as he helped his nation reached the final, were they lost to Brazil.


Those three goals were actually his first on the world stage, and they we're all three marvellous headers, which were all capped off with his famous front-flip.


This was a typical Klose hat-trick, and it was the start of what would be a record-breaking run.


An honourable mention goes to Pauleta of Portugal who also scored a hat-trick at this World Cup. His three clinically taken goals came against Poland.

4. Gabriel Batistuta: Argentina vs Jamaica (France 1998)

Before the days of Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi, there was a goalscoring machine called Gabriel Batistuta who use to drag his nation through games.


The Fiorentina legend scored an astonishing 54 goals in 77 games during his Argentina career, including three in one game against Jamaica at France '98.


He was 29, and at the peak of his powers, the Argentine netted this hat-trick in just 10 minutes, with his first coming in the 73rd minute, and his third in the 83rd, only Laszlo Kiss of Hungary scored one faster, when he netted a hat-trick in seven minutes against El Salvador in 1982.


What made this hat-trick more impressive than most, was that it was Batistuta's second at the World Cup finals (his first against Greece in 1994). Only Gerd Muller, Just Fontaine and Sandor Kocsis can boast of scoring two World Cup hat-tricks.

3. Gabriel Batistuta: Russia vs Greece (USA 1994)

Yeah, about that first hat-trick...


Batistuta also scored the first hat-trick of the World Cup in 1994, four years before he scored his the second in France.


The first goal this time round was a sensational run, capped off by a clever finish, the second a thunderous shot from outside the box, and the Argentine completed his hat-trick with a powerful penalty.


This was the Argentine's first of two World Cup final hat-tricks, and both we're brilliantly taken. Batistuta became true legend of the game from his goal-scoring ability, and it didn't get much better than this.


An honourable mention goes to Oleg Salenko, who scored five goals in one game at this World Cup, as Russia beat Cameroon 6-1. The Russian still holds the record for the most goals in a single game.

2. Tomas Skuhravy: Czechoslovakia vs Costa Rica (Italy 1990)

The giant Czechoslovakian utilised his 6ft 4" frame, to smash in three headed goals against Costa Rica, and completed a wonderful, typical 'number nine' hat-trick back in 1990 in Italy.


Each header was thumped in, as the Czech forward rose above everyone, and gave the 'keeper no chance.


Skuhravy finished as the second top scorer at Italia '90 with his five goals, only Salvatore Schillaci of Italy scored more with six.


An honourable mention goes out to Michel of Spain, who also scored a hat-trick this World Cup, as he bagged three against South Korea.

1. Preben Elkjaer: Denmark vs Uruguay (Mexico 1986)

The 1986 World Cup in Mexico witnessed an almighty four hat-tricks at the tournament, only Switzerland 1954 has had more with eight.


But it was Preben Elkjaer of Denmark who scored the first hat-trick at this World Cup, as he bagged three against two time winners Uruguay.


The first was a smart finish under the 'keeper, as he smashed the ball past the Uruguayan. The second was exceptionally fortunate, as the ball bounced around and fumbled to the Dane for him to tap home, whilst the third and final goal was cleverly taken, as he ran around the keeper to score Denmark's sixth goal and his third.


Gary Linekar, Igor Belanov and Emilio Butragueno netted the other three hat-tricks at Mexico '86.