Scoring a goal is fun, no matter whether the scorer is a striker, midfielder, defender, or even the goalkeeper. But scoring more than once in a single match is even more satisfying. More than single goals have different terminologies in soccer. One of such is the brace.
To a regular guy, the word “brace” might either refer to strong body support or the action of standing tall to embrace any sort of impact. But if you ask a soccer guy what brace stands for, you’ll surely get a different answer.
Why is it Called a Brace in Soccer?
The term “brace” has its root in the Old English language, where it’s meant as a pair of something to shoot or kill down. Usually, the hunter widely used it to refer to two small animals like rabbits or pheasants.
In the Anglo-French language, the word has the meaning of a pair of arms. These two definitions prevailed until the 19th Century when soccer spread from England to all over the world, and the word “brace” got a totally new definition.
What is a Brace in Football?
In soccer, a player bagging a brace means he/she has scored a couple of goals in a single game. For instance, Man City legendary figure “Kun” Agüero did a brace in his farewell home match against Everton on the last game week of the 2020-21 season to surpass Rooney’s all-time record of scoring most goals for a single team. Here, Agüero made a brace which meant he found the Everton net twice in that match.
Other Relevant Terms
Hat-trick is when a footballer bags three goals in a single match, no matter in any order, rather than being in a consecutive fashion. Three goals during the regulation 90 minutes time, or even in the extra time count, but any goal from penalty shootout gets excluded from the tally.
This term is widely common worldwide, but you may find some variety in domestic leagues. Like, in French League 1, you may hear the feat as “coup du chapeau” or “triple,” again in Italian Serie A, sometimes they call it “tripletta.”
No matter what football fans call it, a hat-trick isn’t something that you hope to watch in every match. Due to such rarity of the feat, a common tradition followed in many global parts is giving the match ball to the scorer as a memento.
There’s no solid evidence about who holds the record of most numbers of hat-tricks in professional football. Many supporters claim that it’s King Pele who had grabbed the glory of 92 Hat-tricks. Among the current players, Messi and CR7 collectively have scored 111 hat-tricks since August 2021, and hopefully, many more to come from the two icons. They also share the most UCL hat-trick records as both of them have 8 triplets.
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Haul & Glut
Brace and Hat-trick are commonly used and widely-known terms in football, as they occur relatively frequently, unlike the other two terms-Haul and Glut. Scoring four goals in a single match by a player is Haul, whereas finding the opponents’ net five times by any player is termed as Glut. Some commentators and football pundits also use “Poker” and “Repoker” instead of Haul and Glut, but they are rare terminologies.
Take the famous 2008-09 season Liverpool vs Arsenal 8 goals classic as an example. The thriller ended as a 4-4 draw, where all four goals for the gunners were scored by Andrey Arshavin! A perfect match-saving Haul by the Russian!
In recent decades, one of the rare soccer feats is a player scoring 5 goals in a single match, especially in the top-tier European leagues. The most iconic one is surely Bayern top-star Robert Lewandowski’s 5 goals blitzkrieg coming as a substitute against Wolfsburg during the 2015-16 Bundesliga. The goal spree bedazzled the opponents as it came within just 9 minutes, setting up Guinness World Records of the fastest hat-trick, haul and glut in the German top flight!
In the UEFA Champions League, two 5-goal glutes have been recorded in recent times. In 2012, Leo Messi scored a fifer against Bayer Leverkusen in the second leg of Round of 16, whereas Luiz Adriano holds the other record. He scored for Shakhtar Donetsk on group-stage of the 2014-15 season against Bate Borisov.
Double hat-trick means pulling off a stunner, and that’s to grab the record of scoring 6 goals in a single match by a single player! This feat is probably the rarest of them all, and only the best of all sportsmen can accomplish such a thing, right? Yes, it’s really done by Best.
In 1970, one of the Manchester United legends, George Best, ran riot against Northampton Town in the fifth round of FA Cup and scored 6 of their team goals leading to an 8-2 win. Best’s double hat-trick is one of the fewest records that remained untouchable by many legends and prolific footballers afterward. BEST for a reason!
Scoring a hat-trick is the most rewarding accomplishment for all footballers, but scoring the perfect hat-trick is even more pleasurable. You might be wondering what is the difference between a hat-trick and a perfect hat-trick, right? Ok, let’s end your curiosity.
If a player grabs a hat-trick while scoring one goal with his right foot, one with the left one, and also has a headed goal, then it’s a perfect hat-trick. The feat includes tap-ins or penalty scores, but not any goal from tie-breaker.
Who has Scored a Perfect Hat-trick?
If you look at the perfect scorer list, you will find many legendary figures scoring the perfect hat-trick, while many iconic footballers also miss the queue. Cristiano Ronaldo has made the record of maximum 8 instances in his career up to 2021! Since its inception in 1992, 34 different players have scored a perfect hat-trick. Among them, Robbie Fowler and Yakubu did it twice. Ollie Watkins is the last one to make a list as Aston Villa demolished Liverpool in a 7-2 epic in the 2020-21 EPL season.
Goals are the essence of victory in soccer. Besides paving the way to the team’s victory, it also enriches individual player records and stats. Scoring a brace or hat-trick by a player can always help his/her team put them ahead of the opponents and also might lead them to victory. Moreover, it also puts a player in the limelight. And trust me, on a professional level, every footballer cherishes to be under the limelight. So, scoring a brace or more is important to all.