[PORTRAIT] Miroslav Klose's header for Germany's second goal in a 4-0 win over Australia marked his 11th World Cup strike, putting him within reach of the all-time scoring record of 15, held by Brazil's Ronaldo. The Polish-born Klose began his World Cup scoring run in 2002, when he struck five times with his head.
Klose and his frontline partner Lukas Podolski were among the one million Poles who immigrated to Germany between 1980 and 1991. Klose, 32, immigrated at age 8 and Podolski, 25, at age 6.
Klose was playing amateur ball within a year of debuting for Germany in 2001. At age 24, he starred on Germany’s 2002 World Cup runner-up team.
He matched his 2002 five-goal performance, this time also striking with his foot, at the 2006 World Cup when Germany finished third on home soil.
Germany coach Joachim Loew kept faith in Klose despite the striker coming off a dismal season with Bayern Munich, which dropped him from the starting lineup as he managed only three goals in the 2009-10 season. Klose justified his coach’s confidence by scoring his 49th goal in his 97th national team appearance in the win over Australia.
He is the only player in South Africa among the World Cup’s all-time top 50 scorers, which bottom out at six goals.
With four more goals in South Africa, Klose would tie Ronaldo and overtake the German Gerd Mueller, who scored all his 14 goals in just two World Cups.
“For me, breaking the record of Gerd Mueller isn’t really possible because he did it in two World Cups,” Klose told Kicker Magazine before the tournament.
In club play, Klose has scored 120 goals in 287 German fiurst division games for Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich, where he’s played since 2007.
ALL-TIME WORLD CUP LEADING SCORERS
15 Ronaldo (Brazil) 1998, 2002, 2006
14 Gerd Mueller (West Germany) 1970, 1974
13 Just Fontaine (France) 1958
12 Pele (Brazil) 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970
11 Juergen Klinsmann (Germany) 1990, 1994, 1998
11 Miroslav Klose (Germany) 2002, 2006, 2010
11 Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) 1954.