What Is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

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In soccer, “hat trick” refers to a single player making three goals in a single match. This is also sometimes called a “treble.”

Some debate surrounds the issue of who scored the first hat trick in a World Cup. The credit initially went to an Argentinian player named Guillermo Stabile for a hat trick he executed during a match against Mexico on July 19 in the 1930 World Cup. However, in 2006, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) further investigated the July 17 match between the USA and Paraguay in the same year. They found that one goal which had previously been credited to Tom Florie of the USA team had in fact been made by teammate Bert Patenaude. This brought Patenaude’s goal count up to three, making him the first player to score a hat trick in a World Cup game. For 80 years Patenaude retained the record for most goals scored by a USA player in the World Cup.

Other notable hat tricks in soccer history include 2002’s World Cup match between Germany and Saudi Arabia. German player Miroslav Klose, in the World Cup for the first time, scored three goals. He is one of only two players to score a World Cup hat trick using only headers (striking the ball with the head). The youngest player to score a hat trick in a World Cup was Brazilian player Pelé, in the 1958 match between Brazil and France. Pelé was only 17 years old at the time.