What Is a Hat Trick in Football and Its Significance as a Dream Achievement!

What is a hat trick? The term hat trick is widely used across sport, especially in football. It doesn’t matter what level of sport you are watching or playing you’ll hear the word being used. 

It marks when a player scores three goals in a game. The term hat trick started in cricket in the 19th century. The phrase hat trick is still widely celebrated across football across the world by players, fans and managers. You’ll hear the excited cricket commentators talk about a hat trick ball if a bowler has a chance to take three wickets in a row. 

The hat trick still has significance within sport years after the phrase was initially introduced and is continued to be used across the world. Whether you are training or playing the hat trick is still ‘called’ and players still see this as an achievement. 

Fans also love the statistics that come with hat tricks like the Manchester City 6-3 win over Manchester United that saw both Erling Haaland and Phil Foden get hat tricks, or Fabrizio Ravanelli scoring a hat trick on his Premier League debut for Middlesbrough. There are over 30 Premier League players who’ve completed a perfect hat trick. Hat tricks provide a great spectacle for fans and also a treasure trove of interesting facts and figures!

The Basics

Let’s have a look at some of the facts around hat tricks, including how some of the records and the most notable facts anf figures around hat tricks. Since records have began people have recorded some amazing figures about hat tricks, including the fastest, the most scored and some of the most memorable. Incredibly, scoring a hat trick doesn’t always ensure that you’ll finish on the winning score. Most recently Kylian Mbappe scored an incredible hat trick in the World Cup Final in Qatar but still ended up on the losing French side, as Argentina won on Penalties. 

  • The phrase was first used in cricket in 1858. It was a nod to H.H. Stephenson’s three wickets in a row
  • Football hat tricks: It’s all about three goals in a game – This doesn’t include own goals!
  • Different types of hat tricks: Classic, perfect, super, and flawless
  • Notable Records: Erwin Helmchen has the most career hat tricks. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi hold current records with the most hat tricks in modern history
  • Unique Achievements: Since records began we’ve Goalkeepers who have scored hat tricks. The youngest recorded scorer of a hat trick was 14, this was Ntinos Pontikas.
  • We’ve had hat tricks in the World Cup, most recently another final hat trick in 2022, and in the final. 
    •   Geoff Hurst (1966) England vs. West Germany.
    •   Carli Lloyd (2015) USA vs. Japan.
    •   Kylian Mbappe (2022) France vs. Argentina

Where do the term hat trick come from?

But why is scoring three goals in football called a “hat trick”? Where did the term hat trick come? Who was the first person who used the phrase? 

It’s a term people who watch football around the world like to use when a player scores three times. It sparks debate about the greatest hat tricks and fans can recall where they were when they watch their favourite.  But where did the term start, and why is it so big in football?

Hat tricks are held in high esteem as they are hard to complete and the term has been used since 1858. The term “hat trick” comes from cricket, not football. H.H. Stephenson was playing cricket and took three wickets one after the other. 

People collected money in a hat for him and the term hat trick has been used ever since. 

There are different types of hat trick

Over the years people have give started to categorise the different types of hat tricks. Although you’ll normally just hear or read about a ‘hat trick’ you might also hear about the ‘classic’ or the ‘perfect’. These are types of hat trick that have been created or types of hat trick that have been tagged over the years. For many fans and commentators being able to debate the various types of hat tricks is one of the great debates within football – who has scored the best hat trick ever?

These are some of the types of hat tricks that have been categorised over the years:

  • Classic: Three goals in a game
  • Perfect: Goals with right foot, left foot, and head
  • Super: Four goals in a game
  • Flawless: Three goals in one half, no one else scoring in between

Players don’t go out to look for a specific type of hat trick, these have just been categories that have been developed over the years. When you are watching footage of hat tricks or a game in the future you may look for the perfect hat trick! 

The perfect is probably the hat trick that football commentators make the most reference to, with the left foot, right foot and the headed goal showing the complete combination of goals and skills. 

With the increased use of data within football it is now easier to study and measure hat tricks from around the world. Combined with historical data we now know more and more about hat tricks! Within the English Premier League we know that there are on average 12.2 hat tricks per season. 

The scoring of the three goals is still known as a hat trick and the term is widely used, regardless of the level of football being played or watched.

From grassroots to the World Cup you’ll hear players refer to scoring three goals as a hat trick!  It doesn’t matter how or when; it’s still a great achievement. The player who has scored the hat trick often gets the match ball as a prize, with the other players signing the ball. If funds are tight this tends to happen less, especially at grass roots and amateur football! 

You’ll also see a disgruntled player if they get substituted if they have scored two goals as the chance to get their hat trick has been taken away from them. Most players will never score a hat trick in their careers – so it’s not unusual to see players who never take penalties grab that opportunity if it arises to complete their hat trick. 

This doesn’t always work and there are lots of times when players have missed penalties when trying to complete their hat trick and it has led to their team missing out on their win!

Players like Alan Shearer, Geoff Hurst, Kylian Mbappe. Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi all have a place in hat trick history. They’ve scored hat tricks that have changed games and they have also dominated the scoring charts. In the 23/24 Bundesliga season Harry Kane had become the first player to get 4 hat tricks in his debut season, all achieved by March!

There are also players like Sadio Mane who scored three times in just 2 minutes and 35 seconds with one of the fastest hat tricks.

Every time players step on to a pitch around the world, whether it’s an organised game, kick around, beach football or playing football in the park the likelihood is that the moment a player scores three goals they will shout ‘hat trick’. 

The term hat trick is held in high regard by players around the world, no matter the surface, the ball, the size of the ball or pitch, the players, whether being paid or playing for fun, everyone wants to get a hat trick and for the those players who get one – they will remember it and tell their friends.


What does “hat trick” mean in football?
In football, a “hat trick” means scoring three goals in one game. The phrase is also used in other sports including cricket. 

Why do they call it a hat trick?
The term started in cricket in the 19th century. It was for H.H. Stephenson after taking three wickets one after the other. The phrase is widely used in cricket today. Football adopted it to celebrate three goals.

What is 4 goals in football called?
Four goals in football is a “super hat trick.”

What is an example of a hat trick in football?
A hat trick could be any player scoring three times in a match. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo often do this. 


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