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These records have stood the test of time and look difficult to surpass in the near future.
Football has given innumerable moments for us to cherish over the years. Players have turned into legends and teams – clubs and national, have captivated the fans with their skills and euphoria on the pitch.
There are plenty of records, which were created and rewritten time and again as new players carry on the legacy of their illustrious predecessors and the game in tandem. But some records have stood the test of time. Let’s look at the longest unbroken records in football.
10. Most number of international caps in women’s football
USWNT legend Kristine Lilly holds the record for the highest number of international caps in women’s football. The World Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medallist represented the US women’s national team a staggering 354 times scoring 130 goals in the process (third-highest in USWNT history). It is also a record for the most number of international caps in the sport (both men and women).
She became the first female professional footballer to make 300 appearances in 2006. She played the last game of her career in 2010, coming on as a substitute for the five-time world champions.
9. Most professional appearances in football (1997-present)
England goalkeeper Peter Shilton holds the record for the most number of appearances in professional football. In the 1996-97 season, Shilton featured in his final and 1,387th professional game. He also holds the record for the most number of appearances for England with 125 caps.
Shilton’s career stretched over three decades with multiple clubs. He played more than 100 league games for five different clubs. His record has stood for 24 years. Shilton’s record is unlikely to be broken anytime soon.
8. Longest unbeaten run in international football (1996-present)
Brazil holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in international football, with 35 consecutive wins. Their run stretched from 1993 to 1996, culminating with a Copa America title in 1993 and the World Cup in 1994.
Their record of 35 games isx the record most number of consecutive wins in international football. Since 1996, no team has surpassed their record. But Italy, who are on a 33-game unbeaten run, are close to surpassing that record.
7. Most number of international caps in men’s football (1984-present)
Malaysian legend Soh Chin Ann holds the record for the most number of international caps for men. The centre-back made 222 appearances for Malaysia and scored 13 goals. Ann made his 200th appearance in 1983. He became the first men’s player to make 200 appearances in international football.
He played his final game in 1984. However, his record of 222 games has stood since then. Considering the decreasing number of international games in men’s football, it is doubtful whether anyone can match his longevity for their national team.
6. Most number of World Cup medals (1970-present)
Lifting the world cup with your national team is a dream that every footballer harbours. It is the pinnacle of their careers. While winning one World Cup is a lifetime goal for players, imagine a player with three world cup medals to his fame.
It is none other than Pele who holds this record. ‘O Rei‘ won his third world cup medal in 1970. He became the first and only player to win three World Cups, winning the 1958, 1962 and 1970 tournaments. His record of three World Cup medals has stood for more than half a century.
5. Most number of European Cup/Champions League title wins for a player (1966-present)
If the FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle in a player’s career, the Champions League is the pinnacle in club football. Previously held as the European Cup, Real Madrid’s Francisco ‘Paco’ Gento holds the record for the most number of continental titles.
Gento was part of Real Madrid in the late 1950s and the 60s. He won the European Cup six times with Los Blancos and won his last in 1965-66, putting up a record that has stood till date. The player who is closest to emulate his feat on the continental stage is Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won five Champions League titles including four with the Madrid giants.
Gento still holds the record for the most number of continental titles with a single club with six and this remains as one of the unbroken records in football.
4. Longest unbeaten run at home in league football (1965-present)
Some clubs have made a bastion of their home stadiums. But no club in any league has come close to emulating Real Madrid’s record of the longest unbeaten run at home.
Real Madrid went an astonishing 121 games unbeaten at home between 1957-65. No other team since then has had a streak of over 100 unbeaten home games in the league. The next biggest streak in European football is Red Star Belgrade’s streak of 96 games.
3. The fastest hat-trick in the history of football (1964-present)
Tommy Ross holds the record for fastest hat-trick in football. Ross featured for Ross County in the early 1960s after joining them as a 15-year-old. In 1964, he scored a hat-trick in just 90 seconds.
The record remained disputed with the official record that was given to Irish player Jimmy O’Connor, who scored a hat-trick in 134 seconds in 1967. But it was officially recognised in 2004. Therefore, Ross’ record has stood proudly for close to half a century and could be in the record books for many more years to come. This is one of the greatest records in football and unbroken till date.
2. Most goals in a single World Cup tournament (1958-present)
France’s Just Fontaine holds the record for the most number of goals in a single World Cup tournament. His 13 goal-feat in the 1958 World Cup is yet to be surpassed.
The World Cup matches Fontaine’s prolific tally for France. He scored 30 goals in just 21 games for Les Bleus. But his record of most goals in a single World Cup will undoubtedly stay for many years to come.
1. Highest attendance in a football match (1950-present)
The 1950 World Cup final between Brazil and Uruguay holds the record for the highest attendance in a football game. The iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro hosted 199,854 people in its stands to watch their home nation win their first-ever World Cup.
But the event turned sour as the Uruguayans ran away as the winners. Ghiggia’s winner with 11 minutes remaining left the sea of spectators and Brazilian supporters stunned with disbelief. It led to such a momentous occasion finish in a spoilt and anti-climactic manner.
It is one of the longest unbroken records in football and looks unlikely to ever be surpassed with stadiums now only allowed limited audiences due to fans’ safety reasons.