Miroslav Klose: The record breaker

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Following his record-breaking strike in the 7-1 humiliation of Brazil, we look back on how Germany’s Miroslav Klose reached 16 FIFA World Cup goals.

His rebound after 23 minutes to put his side 2-0 up, took him past Ronaldo and made him the all-time leading scorer in the history of the tournament.

In his last appearance in the competition, he will have the chance to stretch his tally in Sunday’s final and make it even more difficult to match.

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With a runners-up medal from 2002 as well as Euro 2008, he also has two third-place medals from 2006 and 2010. He will be hoping for a fairytale finale and finally get his hands on some long overdue silverware with his national side.

Klose’s international career began in 2001 at the age of 22, when he came on as a substitute against Albania in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. The Kaiserslautern striker made an immediate impression by heading the winner and was on the score sheet again four days later, when he came off the bench again to put his side ahead in a victory over Greece.

He then added hat-tricks in friendlies against Israel and Austria leading up to the 2002 finals, effectively sealing his place in the starting 11 for the beginning of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia were the opponents for Germany’s opening match, and Klose came flying out of the blocks – scoring a hat-trick of headers in an 8-0 romp. He was on target with his head again in the 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland, before he nodded the second in the 2-0 win over Cameroon.

He remained in the side for the remainder of the tournament and the final defeat to Brazil, but Klose had more than made his mark as he had become the first player ever to score five headers in a FIFA World Cup tournament.

Now with Werder Bremen, Klose picked up from where he left off four years later at his country’s home tournament. A couple of close-range efforts helped see off Costa Rica in the opening match of the tournament, before he added another brace in the 3-0 win over Ecuador.

Into the quarter-finals and with his side trailing against Argentina, Klose headed home an 80th-minute equaliser to force extra-time before Germany eventually won on penalties.

Defeat to Italy consigned Jurgen Klinsmann’s men to third place, but the Werder striker’s five strikes were enough to win him the Golden Boot award.

Into his 30s and now a Bayern Munich player, Klose once again scored in the opening match of the 2010 finals, as he headed the second in a 4-0 win over Australia. Despite being sent off in his country’s second match, he returned for the last 16 and was gifted the opening goal in the 4-1 victory over England.

100 caps 

He then celebrated his 100th cap with a brace in the 4-0 thrashing of Argentina in the last eight, as he equalled Gerd Muller’s tally of 14 FIFA World Cup goals on his way to picking up another third-place medal.

By the time Brazil 2014 came around, 36-year-old Klose found himself on the bench and watched his side’s 4-0 opening win over Portugal. His experience came in very useful the following game though. With his side trailing Ghana 2-1, Joachim Low threw him on and he flicked a corner home with his first touch to equalise and level with Ronaldo.

He was handed a start for the quarter-final win over France and remained in the side for the last four clash with the hosts - making him the first player to appear at this stage of the finals four times.

His big moment came with his side leading by a goal to nil. Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos exchanged passes to set him up. His first effort could only be parried by Julio Cesar, before he slid the ball home at the second attempt to become the record-breaker and history-maker.

The fairytale ending is in sight for the Lazio striker – a first World Cup triumph is there for the taking. One thing is for certain though that cannot be changed:

Miroslav Klose – the FIFA World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer.

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