Former France striker and World Cup great Just Fontaine dies aged 89
Former France football great Just Fontaine, who scored a record 13 goals in a single edition of the World Cup, died aged 89.
Just Fontaine, France’s World Cup record breaker, dies at 89 (AP Photo)
By India Today Sports Desk: Just Fontaine, the legendary France striker who scored 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup, died on Wednesday at the age of 89. Fontaine, 89, scored 30 goals from 21 caps for France between 1953-1960.
He helped Les Bleus reach the semi-finals of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Fontaine, a prolific striker with 259 goals from 283 matches in his club career, was a key member of the great Stade de Reims team that reached the European Cup final in 1959. Reims, which won three French top-flight titles with Fontaine, lost 2-0 to Real Madrid, but ‘Justo’ finished the competition with ten goals.
Only three players have scored more World Cup goals than Fontaine, despite the fact that the Reims player appeared in only one tournament and played only six matches. Lionel Messi equaled his tally during Argentina’s recent World Cup triumph, but it took him five World Cups to get there. That 1958 World Cup in Sweden is best remembered as the coming of age of a 17-year-old Pele, who inspired Brazil to victory after scoring a hat-trick against France in the semi-finals.
“A thought for Just Fontaine,” French champions Paris St Germain wrote on Twitter. As a coach, Fontaine helped PSG gain promotion to the first division in 1974.
Fontaine was born in Marrakech in August 1933 to a French father and a Spanish mother during the French Protectorate in Morocco. He attended school in Casablanca and began his football career there.
“It was only at the airport before leaving for Sweden that Paul Nicolas (part of the national team staff) and Albert Batteux (the France coach), who didn’t really want me, told me I would be playing as center-forward,” Fontaine told AFP in 2013.