There’s a certain sadness to the idea of breaking the record in Brazil, but that’s unlikely to phase Miroslav Klose. Currently tied with Selecao great Ronaldo on top of the World Cup’s all-time goal scoring list, Germany’s 36-year-old forward can claim sole possession of one of the tournament’s prized records with a goal in tomorrow’s semifinal in Belo Horizonte. In front of a stadium full of Brazil faithful, Klose could score his 16th career World Cup goal, and do so on Selecao soil.
This all assumes Klose even plays. He’s only featured in 135 minutes during Germany’s five games, but he did score in a substitute’s role against Ghana, his late equalizer moving him even with Ronaldo with 15 World Cup goals.
With Thiago Silva out for Brazil, the current Lazio forward could stand a better chance or finding his record-setting tally, but with Mario Götze, Andre Schürrle, and Lukas Podolski all options to join Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil in attack, there’s no guarantee Klose will play, let alone start.
Should he score, Klose will continue a legacy that started with a hat trick against Saudi Arabia in 2002, when he scored six times while helping Germany to the final. At home in 2006, Klose added five more goals as Germany reached the semifinals. During another semifinal run four years later, the former Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich star scored four more times, leaving him one short of the record coming into this summer’s tournament.
All of which makes for a storied World Cup career, but put yourself in a Brazilian’s shoes. Or, put yourself in Ronaldo’s. Playing in Belo Horizonte, against the Selecao, Klose has a chance to unseat one of the best goal scorers in history. Imagine the deflated reaction at the Estádio Mineirão, particularly if that goal proves decisive.
In terms of the 2014 tournament, it’s minor but enthralling subplot. Within the history of the tournament, however, it could become a moment to remember. If Klose scores in Brazil, against Brazil, to unseat a Brazilian as the competition’s all-time leading scorer, it will add a defining wrinkle to one of the more illustrious records in the soccer world.