Georgina Turner
Monday September 6th, 2010

As well as upping weekend revenue for DIY stores everywhere, the international break produced two hat-tricks -- one each for Jermain Defoe (England) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands). Variety, technique, a dollop of selfishness, they all go into the mix to score a treble at this level, and competitive international hat tricks are getting harder to come by -- the last three World Cups have produced about a quarter of the total produced by the first three. Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain bagged one this summer with the same cool exterior as his predecessor Gabriel Batistuta, but an international hat trick of tournament-changing magnitude, of tear-jerking quality or just of eyebrow-raising novelty is a rare thing indeed. Here's a list of memorable ones:

In 1980, Rossi had been banned for three years following his involvement in the Totonero betting scandal, and only figured at this World Cup because his appeal successfully reduced the suspension. Going into a game that Brazil only needed to draw to reach the semifinals, he had yet to score. "Today, the Italians feel the prodigal son has really got to sing for his supper," remarked BBC commentator John Motson.

Rossi hit all the right notes. He headed in the opener after just five minutes, and after Socrates had equalized, he pounced on Antonio Cerezo's suicidal cross-field pass and lashed in a second from the edge of the area to retake the lead. When Falcao drove home an equalizer in the 68th minute, the Braziian celebrated as if the final whistle had already blown. But six minutes later, Rossi swung his right boot onto a Marco Tardelli shot and swept the ball beyond Waldir Peres for his third.

The Italians clung on to the lead despite increasingly frantic pressure from Brazil, and lifted the trophy six days later. Rossi finished top scorer and was voted player of the tournament.

Has there ever been a finer international debut? Müller scored with his first touch to take the game to extra time and added two further goals to carry a brittle West German side to the final. Though Rainer Bonhof was instrumental in the Germans' return from the brink (2-0 down with an hour played), Müller is the name better remembered in what the Guardian's David Lacey described as "a revival which, even by German standards, bordered on the incredible."

Yugoslavia had looked supremely comfortable in the first half and might have been further ahead; West Germany had reduced the national commentators to repeatedly uttering "Aye-aye-aye!". But the Germans were better after the break, pulling a goal back via Heinz Flohe's left foot (and a hefty deflection). In the 81st minute, two minutes after being introduced, Müller leapt unchallenged onto a Bonhof corner and headed it decisively into the net. The Yugoslavia back line gawped like fish.

As penalties loomed, Müller smashed an Erich Beer cutback into the top of the net to put the Germans ahead, and completed his hat-trick in the final minute, stroking home with his right foot after Bonhof's shot came back off the post. Not a bad start -- though Müller only made 12 appearances for West Germany.

The "perfect" or "Englishman's" hat-trick -- not to be confused with your common or garden hat trick, anybody can score those -- consists of a right-foot strike, one with the left foot, and a header. They require skill, mobility and just a dash of magic and they're hen's teeth rare. In 1984 Michel Platini, an exquisite confection nestled in a veritable patisserie of a French midfield, bagged two in consecutive games.

The first, against Belgium, is less celebrated, perhaps because the second goal was a penalty or maybe by dint of the fact that the Belgians were so porous that day: France won 5-0. The second came in 18 second-half minutes that rescued a 0-1 score line and put France into the semifinals.

With almost an hour played, Platini appeared at the far post to turn Jean-Marc Ferreri's cross in with his left. He added the second three minutes later with a diving header that bounced over the line just beyond Zoran Simovic. In the 77th minute, he dinked a right-footed free-kick perfectly up and over the wall, and into the corner of the net.

The Portuguese players looked as shellshocked as the crowd when North Korea stormed into a 3-0 lead within 25 minutes of this match. It was an incredible score line but Eusebio's four-goal response wasn't far off for wonderment.

Within three minutes of Seung-Kook Yang adding North Korea's third, Eusebio stabbed the ball high into the net after being played through by Jaime da Silva Graca. Just before halftime he converted a penalty after Jose Seneca Torres had been tumbled at the end of a slaloming run. For the third, Antonio Simoes played the ball straight through the defense and into Eusebio's stride, and he planted it into the far top corner with a first time swoosh of his boot.

The fourth was almost a thing of real beauty, Eusebio surging down the left and outfoxing two defenders to make his way into the penalty area before being unceremoniously fouled by a third as he shaped to shoot. Portugal took the lead when he calmly sidefooted the resulting spot-kick to the keeper's right.

Think of van Basten in 1988 and chances are you'll remember the sensational volley that sealed a Dutch win over the Soviet Union in the final before this hat trick springs to mind. But in about as evenly matched an encounter as they come, Van Basten single-handedly punished an England team that had twice struck the post.

His third was a well-taken volley that took the wind out of England's sails with 14 minutes remaining, and the second had arrived after Ruud Gullit slipped the ball behind the defense for Van Basten to control and send towards the far post while England players waved for offside.

But his first is the one worth talking about. The clock was ticking down to half time and the Dutch had yet to trouble Peter Shilton, the England goalkeeper, aside from a Ronald Koeman free kick that nearly took his hands clean off. Gullit shaped the ball into the box with the outside of his boot and Van Basten turned on it -- turning Tony Adams, of all people, inside out in the process -- and put it across Shilton and in.

This is not a hat trick that has ever enjoyed a great deal of attention -- the win proved all but meaningless for Spain, which was dumped out of the competition by Yugoslavia in the round of 16. But each of Michel's three goals oozes quality -- as does South Korea's reply, in fact.

The Real Madrid winger kicked things off with a first time swivel-volley in the 23rd minute that arrowed unwaveringly to the far post and in, but found himself upstaged by Hwang Bo-Kwan, whose free-kick from 30 yards bent around the wall then swerved towards the top corner 20 minutes later. Not to be outdone, Michel bent a free-kick from similar distance over the wall and inside the post with laboratory precision on the hour and added a third from close range with 10 minutes remaining.

Arriving onto the ball on the left of the box, Michel danced from one foot to the other to avoid being pickpocketed by two defenders before firing the ball across Choi In-Young. Two years after this match, Javier Clemente would take charge of the Spanish national team and never once make use of Michel's services.

And now for something completely different ... Ronaldo converted a hat-trick of penalties in this match -- as well as winning all three of them in the first place. That's one way to stop people going on about your expanding waistline.

The referee blew for the first after 16 minutes, when Gabriel Heinze's desperate sliding tackle sent Ronaldo tumbling head over heels. The then-Real Madrid striker dusted himself off and put the penalty to Pablo Cavarello's left -- twice, if you include the strike that had to be retaken for encroachment.

The second came halfway through the second half, when Javier Mascherano tripped Ronaldo, who had tormented the Argentines with Velcro ball skills throughout the game; Cavarello went left, the ball went right, easy as you like. The keeper conceded the third rushing out of his goal and Ronaldo put the ball over his diving frame before kissing Roberto Carlos' head.

A contentious one this: there's still argument as to whether Hurst's second (England's crucial third goal) crossed the line, and there are those who insist his third ought not to have stood, what with the pitch being invaded at the time. But the record books say hat trick and it won a World Cup, so let's not be stingy.

Helmut Haller gave Germany an early advantage, but Hurst replied with a free header on 18 minutes. The controversial goal came about 10 minutes into extra-time, after Martin Peters and Wolfgang Weber had added one a piece. Hurst controlled an Alan Ball cross and thumped it against the underside of the crossbar, but even the slow-motion replays aren't decisive as to whether it crossed the line. It took a university study 30 years later to prove it didn't, which perhaps explains FIFA's dislike for time-consuming goal line technology.

The fourth, however, was definitely in. Hurst later said he'd been trying to boot the ball as far from the field of play as possible to wind down the clock, which seems a waste of bragging rights considering how delightfully the ball rocketed from his left boot to the top corner of the net.

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