Top Scorers World Cup Qualifiers 2022: The Global Breakdown

Before the only story that anyone ever really remembers is written at the World Cup finals, there’s the meandering, melodramatic tale of qualifying composed over a multi-year period. Players become heroes for firing their nations into the 32-team fold, but the prolificacy of qualifying’s highest scorers doesn’t always foreshadow greatness at the tournament itself.

Over the road to the 2018 World Cup, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski finished joint-top scorer in the world with 16 goals. Lewandowski’s country celebrated him for a first World Cup appearance since 2006, but then quickly berated him after failing to score in Russia while Poland finished fourth in the group stage.

That’s not to say there aren’t counter examples — Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Edinson Cavani all also shined in qualifying before finishing among the top scorers in Russia, while the presence of someone like Marcus Berg near the top of the list was a good indicator that Sweden, which advanced to the quarterfinals, would play better than expected without Zlatan Ibrahimović.

When looking at the top scorers World Cup qualifiers 2022 list, we see some similar trends. On the one hand you have proven names that’ll be expected to deliver at the finals — Lewandowski, Harry Kane, Memphis Depay — and some representatives from teams that might shock people (Canada and Serbia).

Top Scorers World Cup Qualifiers 2022

#11. Nguyễn Tiến Linh, Vietnam (8 goals)
#11. David Rugamas, El Salvador (8 goals)
#11. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia (8 goals)
#11. Eran Zahavi, Israel (8 goals)
#11. Robert Lewandowski, Poland (8 goals)
#11. Jonathan David, Canada (8 goals)

#9. Sardar Azmoun, Iran (9 goals)
#9. Omar Al Somah, Syria (9 goals)

#6. Marcelo Moreno, Bolivia (10 goals)
#6. Takumi Minamino, Japan (10 goals)
#6. Yuya Osako, Japan (10 goals)

#2. Harry Kane, England (12 goals)
#2. Memphis Depay, Netherlands (12 goals)
#2. Cyle Larin, Canada (12 goals)
#2. Wu Lei, China (12 goals)

#1. Ali Mabkhout, UAE (14 goals)

Ali Mabkhout scored 11 goals in the second round of qualifying, including a hat trick against Indonesia back on Oct. 10, 2019. His three goals in the third round have kept the UAE on course of the fourth-round playoff. The 31-year-old has spent his entire career with Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi, where he’s twice been the UAE Pro League top scorer. His international record is pretty ridiculous: 79 goals in 101 appearances.

Canada having two in the top scorers speaks both to the nation’s start in the first round of Concacaf qualifying — it never hurts to beat the Cayman Islands 11-0 — but also the team’s great form in the third round (“The Octo”). No squad in the world is going to enjoy playing Larin, David and Alphonso Davies in Qatar.

UEFA 2022 World Cup Qualifying Top Scorers

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Harry Kane, England (12 goals)

Memphis Depay, Netherlands (12 goals)

Robert Lewandowski, Poland (8 goals)
Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia (8 goals)
Eran Zahavi, Israel (8 goals)

Teemu Pukki, Finland (6 goals)
Antoine Griezmann, France (6 goals)
Mu’nas Dabbur, Israel (6 goals)
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (6 goals)

CONMEBOL 2022 World Cup Qualifying Top Scorers

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Marcelo Moreno, Bolivia (10 goals)

Lautaro Martínez, Argentina (7 goals)
Luis Suarez, Uruguay (7 goals)
Neymar, Brazil (7 goals)

Lionel Messi, Argentina (6 goals)
Michael Estrada, Ecuador (6 goals)

Alexis Sanchez, Chile (5 goals)
Christian Cueva, Peru (5 goals)

CONCACAF 2022 World Cup Qualifying Top Scorers

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Cyle Larin, Canada (12 goals)

Jonathan David, Canada (8 goals)
David Rugamas, El Salvador (8 goals)

Cecilio Waterman, Panama (7 goals)

Nigel Hasselbaink, Suriname (6 goals)

Lucas Cavallini, Canada (5 goals)
Alphonso Davies, Canada (5 goals)
Lyle Taylor, Montserrat (5 goals)

CAF 2022 World Cup Qualifying Top Scorers

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Islam Slimani, Algeria (7 goals)

Riyad Mahrez, Algeria (5 goals)
Ayoub El Kaabi, Morocco (5 goals)
Fashion Sakala, Zambia (5 goals)
Ibrahima Kone, Mali (5 goals)
Victorien Adebayor, Niger (5 goals)

AFC 2022 World Cup Qualifying Top Scorers

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Ali Mabkhout, UAE (14 goals)

Wu Lei, China (12 goals)

Takumi Minamino, Japan (10 goals)
Yuya Osako, Japan (10 goals)

Sardar Azmoun, Iran (9 goals)
Omar Al Somah, Syria (9 goals)

Nguyễn Tiến Linh, Vietnam (8 goals)

OFC 2022 World Cup Qualifying Top Scorers

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Qualifying begins March 17.

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