The 2018 World Cup in Russia is nearly here. In the build-up to the most eagerly anticipated tournament in football, we're looking at a whole host of incredible records, players and moments.

This time we go back to the tournament where there were goals galore: Switzerland 1954, which still hold the record for the  Highest goal average in a FIFA World Cup finals.

Most of the greatest footballers to ever play the game have starred at the World Cup.

Ronaldo (Brazilian and Cristiano), Lionel Messi, Pele, Diego Maradona, Johann Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane – so many talented players who have spoiled fans across the globe over the decades.

None of them though featured in the tournament which featured the Highest goal average in a FIFA World Cup finals.

Do you know which World Cup that was?

It was Switzerland 1954, where 140 goals were scored.

Now while there have been World Cups with more goals scored - France 98 and Brazil 2014 both saw 171 goals - the 1954 edition had only 26 games, compared to 64 in the two more recent tournaments.

That works out at an average of 5.38 goals per game. France 98 and the last World Cup in Brazil’s goal per game average was 2.67.

Italia 90 saw 115 goals at an average of 2.21 and has the record for the Lowest goal average in a FIFA World Cup finals.

But if you want goals, you want to dig out some highlights from 1954.

The tone was set in the opening game as 1950’s runners-up, Brazil, tonked Mexico 5-0.

But that was just the start of it, because the rest of the tournament looked like this:

Group 1

  • Brazil 5-0 Mexico 
  • Yugoslavia 1-0 France 
  • Brazil 1-1 Yugoslavia 
  • France 3-2 Mexico

Group 2

  • West Germany 4-1 Turkey 
  • Hungary 9-0 South Korea 
  • Hungary 8-3 West Germany 
  • Turkey 7-0 South Korea 
  • West Germany 7-2 Turkey

Group 3

  • Uruguay 2-0 Czechoslovakia 
  • Austria 1-0 Scotland 
  • Uruguay 7-0 Scotland 
  • Austria 5-0 Czechoslovakia

Group 4

  • Switzerland 2-1 Italy 
  • England 4-4 Belgium
  • Italy 4-1 Belgium 
  • England 2-0 Switzerland 
  • Switzerland 4-1 Italy


  • West Germany 2-0 Yugoslavia
  • Austria 7-5 Switzerland 
  • Hungary 4-2 Brazil 
  • Uruguay 4-2 England


  • West Germany 6-1 Austria 
  • Hungary 4-2 Uruguay

Third place play-off

  • Austria 3-1 Uruguay


  • West Germany 3-2 Hungary

Yes, West Germany won the 1954 World Cup despite being obliterated 8-3 by Hungary in the group stages before getting revenge in the final, where they came from going 2-0 down inside the first eight minutes to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.

Poor old South Korea went home with a goal difference of -16 (and the record for Most goals conceded by a team in a FIFA World Cup) after playing just two games and being one of three teams which, along with Czechoslovakia and Scotland, failed to score in the tournament meaning the 140 goals were spread between just 13 teams.

And there were plenty more records set, some of which still stand to this day.

Austria’s incredible 7-5 quarter-final win over hosts Switzerland is still the record holder for the Most goals scored in a FIFA World Cup finals match (12) while runners-up, Hungary, still have the record for Most goals scored by a team in a FIFA World Cup with 27 – 17 of which came in 9-0 and 8-3 wins over South Korea and West Germany respectively.

Hungarian striker Sandor Kocsis led his country’s charge for most of the tournament (with Ferenc Puskás, the man considered the world's best player, injured in the group match against Germany), scoring the Most FIFA World Cup hat-tricks by a player with two. 

He ended the tournament with 11 goals which incredibly is not the record for Most goals in a single FIFA World Cup, that honour belongs to France’s Just Fontaine who netted 13 times in the following tournament.

Kocsis' hat-trick record has since equaled by France’s Just Fontaine during Sweden 1958, Gerd Müller for West Germany at Mexico 1970 and Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta who scored one hat-trick at USA 94 and another during France 98.

In total there were eight hat-tricks during the tournament. EIGHT!

Since then other World Cup tournaments have gone on to see more goals; France 98 and Brazil 2014 share the record for the most goals with 171 apiece.

But with more than double the number of games played, neither has matched the topsy-turvy nature of Switzerland 1954 where there was not a single 0-0 in sight.