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World Cup Highest Goal Scorer, Just Fontaine Is Dead

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World Cup Highest Goal Scorer, Fontaine Is Dead

Just Fontaine, the French football great who scored a record 13 goals at the 1958 World Cup, has died aged 89.

Fontaine’s former club Reims announced his death on Wednesday.

Fontaine took six games to achieve his feat at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, when he was a last-minute inclusion in the France squad.

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Entering the tournament, Moroccan-born Fontaine was a little-known forward outside of the French league. Yet he tormented opponents with his speed and finishing touch – and even with someone else’s boots. He had to borrow a pair of cleats after damaging his own boots in practice.

Fontaine scored four goals in the third-place game against West Germany, but could have had five if he had taken the penalty kick.

The highest scorer at the World Cup is now acknowledged with the Golden Boot. Fontaine set the record when FIFA did not present a specific award for the tournament’s top scorer.

“Beating my record? I don’t think it can ever be done,” Fontaine told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. “The person who wants to beat me has a massive task, doesn’t he? He has to score two goals per game over seven games.”

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Playing in the days when no substitutions were allowed, France lost 5-2 in the semi-finals against a Brazil team featuring 17-year-old Pele.

Fontaine, who scored in every match, gave France an early lead with the first goal Brazil conceded in the tournament. But at 1-1, France defender Robert Jonquet broke his leg. Amazingly, he played on, trying to contend with the genius of Pele, but the French defence was considerably weakened.

The record for most goals scored in a World Cup career is 16 by Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who played in four tournaments. Fontaine, who broke the record of 11 goals Hungary striker Sndor Kocsis scored at the 1954 tournament, only played at one World Cup.

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Fontaine’s meteoric rise as a scorer saw him net 200 goals in 213 games. He scored 30 goals in 21 games for France.

Fontaine’s career was dramatically cut short when he was only 28. The Frenchman – renowned for his lightning pace and ruthless finishing – suffered a horrendous leg fracture after a mistimed tackle in March 1960.

Hammed Tajudeen is a graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication

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