World Cup - 'Welcome to the club': Ronaldo hails Klose

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo congratulated Miroslav Klose after the German equalled his record of 15 World Cup goals on Saturday.

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World Cup - Ronaldo's still better than Klose, despite losing record - Jose
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Klose (AFP) and Ronaldo (Reuters)

WHAT HAPPENED

Germany striker Miroslav Klose tied scored his 15th goal in World Cup competition on Saturday night - a strike which not only salvaged a point to earn a pulsating 2-2 draw with Ghana, but brought him level with Brazilian legend Ronaldo at the top of the all-time World Cup scoring lists.

[KLOSE EQUALS RECORD AS GERMANY AND GHANA DRAW EPIC]

[FORGET BORING CLUB FOOTBALL, IT’S BREAKING THESE RECORDS THAT COUNTS FOR KLOSE]

Ronaldo was among the first to congratulate his fellow striker "Welcome to the club," he tweeted. "I can only imagine your happiness!!! What a great World Cup!!!"

Klose's strike was not the most glamorous effort - he shinned in a ball which was probably already goal-bound following Benedikt Hoewedes's header - but they all count, and the Polish-born striker now has every chance of overhauling Ronaldo's record when Germany play USA next week.

While the goal itself wasn't glamorous, the celebration was more so: the 36-year-old was once famous for performing a somersault celebrations after big goals, but as he has grown older has usually settled for clench fists and smiles instead.

But his landmark goal brought out the somersault once more - and to his immense credit he just about landed safely, despite his advancing years.

"I don't know how long its been since I did a somersault. but at least it worked out," he said after the match. "You come in and want to turn the game around. Twenty (World Cup) matches and 15 goals isn't bad at all."

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Tall and strong in the air, Klose is known for his superb timing and leaping ability. He has been consistently lethal in front of goal in the last three World Cups helped by the fact that Germany reached the final and semi-finals twice.

In 2002 Klose scored five headed goals as underdogs Germany made it to the final, where they lost 2-0 to Brazil with Ronaldo scoring twice to register eight for the tournament.

Four years later with Germany as hosts, Klose won the Golden Boot when he scored another five goals in leading Germany to the semi-finals. In 2010 he scored four more in South Africa.

[COACH'S FURY: We should never have let Ghana get so close to us, says Loew]

OUR VIEW

Klose has been a phenomenon for Germany, even when he hasn't been in domestic form. In 2010, for example, he scored just three Bundesliga goals for Bayern Munich - but managed to bang in four at the World Cup in South Africa. Well, perhaps "bang in" isn't quite the right phrase: tap, skim, shin and scuff in is more like it since, as the graphic below shows, Klose's goals have all come within a few yards of the goal-line.

There's an argument to suggest that such cheaply-won goals degrade the worth of his achievement. Is it wrong that an all-time great such as Ronaldo should be equalled - and may yet be overshadowed - by an unabashed goalhanger? Frankly, it's an appealing argument. But there's a saying in golf that is very apt in this situation: there are no pictures on a scorecard, and that's how it works with records. In the end, all people remember are the numbers.

Take Just Fontaine's astonishing 13 goals at a single World Cup tournament: his strikes included three against minnows Paraguay in a group stage match that ended 7-3, and four in the dead-rubber third-place play-off match, but nobody cares about that any more. The bottom line is that all of Klose's 15 goals needed skimming, scuffing and toe-poking in from close range. Or 'Klose range', as we should probably rename it in his honour.

THE ALL-TIME TOP 10

1. Miroslav Klose (Germany) 15 goals, 20 matches, 3 tournaments

1. Ronaldo (Brazil) 15 goals, 19 matches, 4 tournaments

3. Gerd Mueller (West Germany) 14 goals, 13 matches, 2 tournaments

4. Just Fontaine (France) 13 goals, 6 matches, 1 tournament

5. Pele (Brazil) 12 goals, 14 matches, 4 tournaments

6. Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) 11 goals, 5 matches, 1 tournament

7. Helmut Rahn (West Germany) 10 goals, 10 matches, 2 tournaments

7. Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina) 10 goals, 12 matches, 3 tournaments

7. Teofilo Cubillas (Peru) 10 goals, 13 matches, 3 tournaments

7. Grzegorz Lato (Poland) 10 goals, 20 matches, 3 tournaments

[HOW THEY DID IT: Read how the top 10 World Cup scorers of all time bagged their goals]

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Klose will fancy his chances of striking again to claim the outright record before the tournament is over. He will almost certainly play some part against the USA - he has consistently remained Joachim Loew's favourite striker, when Germany do use a centre-forward - but the US team looked good against Ghana as they won their opening match and will be a tough side to beat.

Not only will that make scoring hard, it also means that Germany's qualification for the last 16 is by no means certain: should Portugal win their remaining matches against USA (on Sunday night) and Ghana on Thursday, then the US v Germany match will effectively be a straight shoot-out for a spot in the second round.

Adding further intrigue to that match is the fact that USA are coached by Germany's very own Juergen Klinsmann.

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WHAT THE MEDIA SAID

Lars Wallrodt, Die Welt: "Ghana were now playing to their absolute limits. Loew reacted and brought Klose on for Goetze and Schweinsteiger on for Khedira. The substitutions took effect immediately. Germany get back into the swing of the game. Germany holds its breath…. And Miroslav Klose dives deep into the six-yard box and pushes the ball into the goal. The equaliser. Quick, breathe out! Klose draws level with the great Ronaldo, it is his 15th World Cup goal. His somersault doesn't make him look young, though - he should probably refrain from doing that now or he'll end up injured."

COMING UP

Portugal face USA on Sunday night in the other match in Group G, with USA knowing that a win will put them through - and Portugal knowing that a win will leave them with every chance of making the last 16 despite their appalling defeat in their opening match against Germany.

USA v Portugal

Also on Sunday, Belgium take on Russia knowing, like the USA, that a win will put them through, while South Korea and Algeria play in the other match.

Belgium v Russia

South Korea v Algeria

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