Opening double makes Enner Valencia World Cup’s most efficient striker

Enner Valencia became Ecuador’s record goalscorer at the World Cup with his double against Qatar in the opening game of the 2022 tournament. The captain’s first-half brace increased his tally to five goals, level with World Cup icons Geoff Hurst, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, and Zico.

In terms of his contemporaries, Valencia is tied with Edinson Cavani and Romelu Lukaku, and now sits just a single goal behind Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Harry Kane. Legends of the game, such as Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp also match Valencia’s goal record.

Perhaps more impressively, Valencia has accumulated this total in just four World Cup games so far. Whilst this is a small sample size, his average of 1.25 goals per game comfortably gives him the best goal-per-game ratio of any player in Qatar. With a goal per game for England, Harry Kane is the only player anywhere close to Valencia’s proficiency in front of goal. For context, Thomas Müller has the third best ratio, averaging 0.63 goals per game, essentially half as efficient as Valencia.

Valencia scored all three of his countries goals at the 2014 World Cup, but couldn’t guide his team to the second round. If Ecuador can navigate a tricky set of fixtures against Senegal and the Netherlands, they will advance to the knockout stage for the first time since 2006. In what may be his last finals appearance, the 33-year-old Fenerbahçe forward will be looking to help his team progress, offering him further opportunities to climb the goal-scoring charts.

Matt Hearn | GWFN

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