Youngest World Cup scorers ever revealed including an England legend, an 18-year-old Lionel Messi and Pele
SCORING in the World Cup is no mean feat.
That is even more true if you are still a teenager – unless you are Pele, Lionel Messi or Michael Owen.
The trio are amongst the youngest ever World Cup goalscorers with Pele the only player to have scored in the competition before his 18th birthday.
The Brazilian boasts several World Cup records including the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick but there is a chance for a new youngster to write his name into the history books with a goal in Qatar.
Barcelona and Spain star Gavi has that opportunity since he is only 18-years-old – the same age Owen was when he scored his famous goals against Romania and Argentina in 1998.
Here, SunSport takes a look at the ten youngest goalscorers in World Cup history.
1. Pele – 17 yrs, 239 days – 1958
Perhaps the greatest player of all time, Pele announced himself to the world with six goals in his debut World Cup.
The first came against Wales in the quarter-final before a hat-trick against France in the semis and two in the final against hosts Sweden as Brazil won the World Cup for the first time.
2. Manuel Rosas – 18 yrs, 93 days – 1930
The Mexican defender held the youngest scorer record for 18 years with his double against Argentina.
Rosas got off the mark with a penalty – the first spot-kick ever scored in the competition – but despite adding a second later in the match Mexico succumbed to a 6-3 defeat.
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3. Michael Owen – 18 yrs, 190 days – 1998
The fresh-faced then Liverpool star burst onto the scene with blistering pace and a keen eye for goal, notching his first in the World Cup against Romania.
But it was his second against Argentina that really generated excitement as he took on two defenders before firing into the top corner.
To date he is the youngest European scorer in the competition and the only Englishman to score in the World Cup before the age of 22 – something Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka could change in Qatar.
4. Nicolae Kovács – 18 yrs, 197 days – 1930
The Romania star was the 11th goalscorer in the World Cup after netting in the third match in 1930.
Kovacs scored just six goals for Romania but his strike against Peru wrote him into World Cup folklore despite being scored in front of just 2,549 people.
5. Dmitry Sychev – 18 yrs, 231 days – 2002
Sychev replicated Owen’s brilliance at the previous World Cup with a goal against Belgium and was subsequently dubbed the “Russian Michael Owen”.
His performances in East Asia earned him a move to Marseille but he did not match the achievements of Owen, spending 12 years at Lokomotiv Moscow where he scored 74 goals in 224 games.
6. Lionel Messi – 18 yrs, 357 days – 2006
Messi’s World Cup debut against Serbia was one to remember.
Brought on with 15 minutes remaining, Messi first produced a wonderful assist for Hernan Crespo before firing in Argentina’s sixth of the game.
Now 35, Messi could become one of the oldest ever World Cup scorers if he nets in Qatar.
7. Julian Green – 19 yrs, 25 days – 2014
The American’s well-taken volley against Belgium was his first for his country but could not prevent the USA bowing out of the 2014 World Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Like others on this list, Green failed to kick on and has won just 16 caps – the last of which came in 2018.
8. Divock Origi – 19 yrs, 65 days – 2014
The Liverpool cult hero showed his knack for scoring important goals with an 88th-minute winner against Russia in Group H.
That is one of only three goals Origi has scored for the Red Devils but there is a chance he will be able to add to that tally if Roberto Martinez picks him for the World Cup.
9. Martin Hoffman – 19 yrs, 88 days – 1974
Hoffman played in all six of East Germany’s matches in 1974 – the only World Cup the country participated in.
The striker scored in the 1-1 draw with Chile and would go on to help East Germany win gold in the 1976 Olympics.
10. Constantin Stanciu – 19yrs, 92 days – 1930
Stanciu scored in the same game as team-mate Kovacs as Romania beat Peru 3-1 in their debut World Cup game.
He is the tenth scorer in the competition but he and Kovacs were later thrashed by eventual winners Uruguay and knocked out of the competition.
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