The Washington Post

French forward set World Cup goal record


Just Fontaine, the French soccer player who scored a record 13 goals at the 1958 World Cup, died March 1 at 89.

Mr. Fontaine’s former club Reims and the French soccer federation confirmed the death but did not provide further details.

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

Entering the World Cup tournament, the Moroccan-born Mr. 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 in practice.

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

In addition to his feats with the national team, Mr. Fontaine won the French league title four times, the French Cup and reached the final of the 1959 European Cup during his club career with USM Casablanca, OGC Nice and Reims.

The highest scorer at a World Cup tournament is now acknowledg­ed with the Golden Boot award. Mr. 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,” he 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.”

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

Mr. Fontaine, who scored in every match, gave France an early lead with the first goal Brazil allowed in the tournament. But at 1-1, France defender Robert Jonquet broke his leg and played on, trying to contend with Pelé, but the French defense was considerab­ly weakened.

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

Brazil striker Marta has scored 17 goals at the Women’s World Cup, playing in five tournament­s.

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

Mr. 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.

Just Louis Fontaine was born on Aug. 18, 1933, in Marrakesh — in what was then the French Protectora­te of Morocco — to a French father and a Spanish mother. He grew up in Casablanca.

After he retired, Mr. Fontaine briefly coached France’s national team and then coached Luchon, Paris Saint- Germain, Toulouse and the Moroccan national team.

 ?? AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES ?? Just Fontaine played for OGC Nice in 1954. Four years later, he scored a record 13 goals for France in the World Cup.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES Just Fontaine played for OGC Nice in 1954. Four years later, he scored a record 13 goals for France in the World Cup.

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