Qatar 2022: Okocha, Messi lead World Cup stats

The two iconic stars are some of the players who have lit up the World Cup with their performances.

Okocha and Messi have made their marks at the World Cup

The World Cup is the biggest sporting tournament on earth, with the best footballers on the planet playing for the honour of their country to win the biggest prize in competitive football.

Since the first edition of the World Cup in 1930, several players and teams have made their mark in the competition. From Jose Nasazzi to Luka Modric to Brazil and Germany, the World Cup has always lived up to its billing.

And with the Qatar 2022 World Cup starting in less than three weeks, Pulse Sports Nigeria highlights some of the incredible stats from previous World Cups.

Nigeria may not be going to Qatar, but former Super Eagles captain Austin Jay-Jay Okocha holds the record for most dribbles in a single game.

Okocha completed 15 dribbles in Nigeria's game against Italy at the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Since then, no player has been able to break that record.

Messi is still yet to win the biggest prize in football, but the PSG star has already made his mark in the competition. The Argentina captain has the most man of the match awards in one tournament.

Messi won a massive four-man of the match award at the 2014 World Cup, although Argentina came up short in the final against Germany.

No country has won the World Cup more than Brazil. The South American giants. Brazil will be gunning for their sixth trophy in Qatar, having won it in (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

While Brazil have won the World Cup more than any other country, Germany have the most finishes in the top three with 12.

As expected, Brazil have the highest number of appearances at the World Cup. The Selecao have qualified for every edition.

Argentina and Germany have faced each other in the final more than any other nation. The two countries have met three times in the final, making their clash the most-played final.

The World Cup is the most difficult tournament to win, but Pele managed to win it three times with Brazil. The legend was part of the Brazil squad that won it in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Three players have played in five World Cups. Antonio Carbajal is the first to achieve this feat, representing Mexico between 1950–1966.

Lothar Matthäus then played for Germany between 1982 and 1998. Rafael Marquez is the latest player to join the club after playing for Mexico between 2002 and 2018.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Aguero could also join the club this year.

Maldini did not win the World Cup despite Italy's four titles. However, he has the most minutes in the competition, playing for 2,217 minutes between 1990-2002.

Lothar Matthaus has played the most matches, with 25 games to his name. However, Messi could go level with him if Argentina go all the way this year.

Miroslav Klose has won the most matches as a player, with 17 wins between 2002 and 2014.

Egypt's Essam El-Hadary, at the age of 45 years and 161 days, is the oldest player to play a World Cup game. The retired goalkeeper made his debut in the competition in Egypt's clash against Saudi Arabia in 2018.

Klose remains the all-time World Cup top scorer, scoring 16 goals between 2002 and 2014. The ex- German international scored five on his debut, including a hat-trick against Saudi Arabia.

In 2006, scored another five before scoring another four in 2010. Klose then broke Ronaldo's record in 2014 with another two goals as Germany won it all in Brazil.

Salenko holds this record after scoring five for Russia in a 6-1 win against Cameroon in 1994.

Batistuta remains the only player to score a hat-trick in back-to-back games. The former Fiorentina striker scored a hat-trick for Argentina at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups.

Batistuta scored a hat-trick against Greece in 1994 before repeating the feat against Jamaica in 1998.

László Kiss came on to score a hat-trick for Hungary vs El Salvador in the 1982 edition.

At the age of 17 and 244 days, Pele remains the youngest goalscorer in World Cup history after scoring against France in 1958.

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