Gavi, Messi, Pele and the youngest goalscorers in World Cup history

Youngest WC scorers
Gavi became the youngest scorer in Spain's World Cup history with his strike against Costa Rica, but where does he sit in the all-time rankings?

Tournament upon tournament, the World Cup is always crying out for football's next young starlet to steal the show like a prime Shawn Michaels and wow the global audience with their abilities.

And the ones who can crack the hardest nut - scoring a goal - are often the ones remembered most fondly.

When a youngster announces themselves on the world stage in such a fashion, they most often live or die by such a famous goal. But whatever happens, it's a moment they'll never forget and one we'll always be able to look back on as fans, hooked on the sheer nostalgia.

It begs the question; who actually are the youngest scorers in World Cup history? GOAL has got you covered...

  1. Julian Green (USA) - 2014

    #8 Julian Green (USA) - 2014

    Age: 19 years, 25 days

    Scored against: Belgium

    Green's goal in Brazil made him the youngest American to score in World Cup history and came against a team who many tipped as the tournament favourites. Before that, though, he had represented Germany at youth level.

    Germany would win the lot in Brazil, but Green could well have not been there at all had he pledged his allegiance to Die Mannschaft. Swings and roundabouts. Green last played for the USMNT in 2018.

  2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 2006

    #7 Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 2006

    Age: 18 years, 357 days

    Scored against: Serbia and Montenegro

    Putting the finishing touches on a 6-0 rout of Serbia and Montenegro, Messi announced himself at his first World Cup with a goal from the substitute's bench.

    Considering his senior international debut saw him sent off from the bench, this was a much more promising effort. He's done alright since then.

  3. Dmitry Sychev (Russia) - 2002

    #6 Dmitry Sychev (Russia) - 2002

    Age: 18 years, 231 days

    Scored against: Belgium

    It couldn't stop Russia from crashing out of the group stage in Japan and South Korea, but Sychev's goal against Belgium cannot be taken away from him.

    He was once dubbed the 'Russian Michael Owen' - for his pace, not his incredible and prolific beginnings in the game.

  4. #5 Nicolae Kovacs (Romania) - 1930

    Age: 18 years, 197 days

    Scored against: Peru

    Kovacs turned out for Romania at the following 1934 and 1938 tournaments, but this would be the only goal he scored at a World Cup.

    If you're only going to bag once in three tournaments, at least make it a memorable one, right?

  5. Michael Owen (England) - 1998

    #4 Michael Owen (England) - 1998

    Age: 18 years, 190 days

    Scored against: Romania

    Michael Owen, the early years. That was something special.

    Bursting onto the scene and becoming Liverpool's youngest scorer a year earlier, the teenage forward announced himself at the World Cup in France off the back of a Golden Boot-winning Premier League season.

  6. Gavi (Spain) - 2022
    Getty Images

    #3 Gavi (Spain) - 2022

    Age: 18 years, 110 days

    Scored against: Costa Rica

    The 2022 Golden Boy winner got his maiden World Cup campaign off to a perfect start, playing an instrumental role in Spain's 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica and helping himself to a goal in stunning fashion, volleying in off the post.

    Remember the name.

  7. #2 Manuel Rosas (Mexico) - 1930

    Age: 18 years, 93 days

    Scored against: Argentina

    It's rather astounding to think that a goal scored almost a century ago is still standing as a record strike.

    Rosas, a defender, actually scored twice in a 6-3 defeat and also holds the record of being the first person to score an own goal in World Cup history.

  8. Pele (Brazil) - 1958

    #1 Pele (Brazil) - 1958

    Age: 17 years, 239 days

    Scored against: Wales

    The tournament that made Pele. A teenager who showed up and took on the world, leading Brazil to glory with a style of play that was lightyears ahead of its time. The player who eventually eclipses this record is going to be some talent.