Top scoreless strikers in world cup history include well-known figures in European football such as Zlatan Ibrahimović and Marco Van Basten.
Scoring a goal on the global stage at the world cup is a dream for every player. Such is a must for the prolific strikers.
However, some did not succeed, despite their reputation as predators in the six-yard box and piles of accolades as top scorers in various competitions.
Surprisingly, several well-known forwards today were scoreless in The 2018 World Cup in Russia. The likes of Robert Lewandowski, FIFA World’s Best Player for the past two years, Gabriel Jesus from Arsenal, and German national team’s front man, Timo Werner, are some of them. They are on a mission to open their account in the upcoming World Cup 2022. Will they make it or have to be added to this grim list? Check out the six scoreless top strikers below
The List of Top Scoreless Strikers in World Cup History
6. Ciro Immobile (Italy)
The Italian forward has been one of the most unfortunate strikers today. He has missed two world cups consecutively and is already 32 years old. The Lazio man who was awarded European Golden Shoe in 2020 and the leading goal scorer award in Serie A for three seasons only featured in World Cup 2014 for two games. Sadly, he failed to contribute to either through goals or assists. Gli Azzurri eventually headed to the exit too early. He may hope to play in the 2026 World Cup, but he will be 36 years old, making him unlikely to make the final squad.
5. Ivan Zamorano (Chile)
Zamorano was a lethal front man in his hey day at Real Madrid and Inter Milan in the 1990s. He won El Pichichi – the leading goal scorer award in 1995 while helping Los Blancos win the La Liga title. He was also the top scorer in the Olympic games in 2000 and led Chile to a bronze medal. However, Zamorano went scoreless in the 1998 World Cup, appearing in all four games but only registering one assist. Instead, his Strike partner at Chile, Marcelo Salas, netted four times in the tournament.
4. Gianluca Vialli (Italy)
Vialli was the key man in Sampdoria’s golden era alongside the current Italian national team boss, Roberto Mancini, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At that time, Il Samp won the European second-tier competition, Cup Winners Cup 1990, Italian Serie A 1991, when he was also Il Cappocannoniere – the top scorer, and Champions Cup runner-up in 1992. Vialli was a member of the Gli Azzurri squads for the 1986 and 1990 World Cups. Despite making seven appearances in the final round, he failed to score a single goal, including a penalty against the USA in 1990. Vialli did contribute two assists, ironically for Salvatore Schilachi, the lesser-known frontman who was supposed to be his backup but turned out to be a world cup hero in the end. Schilachi was not only awarded The Golden Ball but also won the Golden Boot in the competition.
3. Mario Gomez (Germany)
Before the arrival of Lewandowski, Mario Gomez was the number one forward at Bayern Munich. He was the top priority forward for Germany in EURO 2012, where he was the top scorer. Gomez was also named the Bundesliga’s top scorer in 2011 and Coppa Italia’s top scorer in 2015. He won the latter while playing for Fiorentina. Further, he won the Turkish Super Lig 2016 at Besiktas. However, Gomez was never Die Mannschaft’s first choice in the World Cup finals. He featured six times in the 2010 and 2018 editions, all as a substitute, and made only one assist. In Brasil 2014, Gomez missed the final round due to suffering an injury.
2. Marco Van Basten (Netherlands)
Van Basten was a legendary Dutch striker from the 1980s till the early 1990s. He was the star and the leading goal scorer in a tournament where De Oranje lifted their first and only international title to this day, EURO 1988. In his club career, Van Basten won top scorer awards in the Dutch Eredivisie (four times), Italian Serie A (twice), and UEFA Champions Cup 1989. Unfortunately, he struggled to regain his fitness for World Cup 1990. People believe that this could have led to his poor form in the competition, registering neither goals nor assists in four matches. His country was eventually eliminated in the round of 16.
1. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden)
The AC Milan veteran striker is still all time leading goal scorer on Sweden national team. Ibrahimović is a guarantee for goals anywhere he plays, from Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester United, LA Galaxy, and his current side, Rossoneri. He was awarded the top scorer award multiple times in Serie A, French Ligue 1, MLS, and other minor domestic competitions. The Malmo-born forward scored twice in three EUROs, 2004, 2008, and 2012. Nevertheless, he barely replicated his form at his clubs in the world cup finals. Ibrahimović played in five games during the 2002 and 2006 world cup campaigns but did not score. Nor did he provide any assists. Not even against the debutant, Trinidad and Tobago. The match was Sweden’s opener in Germany 2006, which he should have bagged the goals. Instead, he wasted several decent chances. Therefore, he joins the list of top scoreless strikers in World Cup history.