Sport

Six World Cup stats to make you love this tournament even more

By Antoinette Muller 19 June 2014

What is a World Cup without a few interesting stats? The opening games have dished up some serious entertainment with goals galore and teams coming from behind to win. We’ve picked out six stats to make you love this World Cup even more. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

The 2014 Soccer World Cup has been seriously entertaining. Many have said that it’s the most exciting tournament since the 1998 edition in France. And who can argue? It has had everything. From dodgy hairstyles to red cards, own goals, Pepe being Pepe, Fernando Torres being Fernando Torres and some outstanding passing tapestry from some of the world’s biggest stars.

Stats can be complicated, but there are a few which have lit up this World Cup. Whether they are meaningful or not hardly matters; they are fun, just like this World Cup.

There have been 49 goals in just 16 games

Goals, goals and more goals have made up the theme of this World Cup. Only Nigeria and Iran played to a 0-0 draw in those 16 matches, and the tournament has averaged 3.06 goals per game. Some of those have been through horror defending, others have been through sheer magic. It has repeated the trend of the Premier League in the season which has gone by. Liverpool scored the most away goals in a season, ever, and although the total of goals scored was lower than the season before (1,052 vs. 1,063), teams are becoming more creative in crafting goals.

The highest number of goals ever scored in a World Cup occurred in 1954, with an average of 5.38. Big wins for Holland over Spain, Brazil over Croatia and Germany over Portugal helped to boost the total. The record for the most goals ever scored  a World Cup belongs to the year 1998 when the tournament was held in  France, with 171 goals overall during the tournament.

(Excludes Wednesday’s group matches)

The fifth fastest World Cup goal for Clint Dempsey

When Clint Dempsey barged forward and flayed the Ghana defence in just 30 seconds, many thought the US captain had scored the fastest goal in World Cup history. Not so; he falls behind Bryan Robson’s goal in 27 seconds for England in 1982 and ahead of Emile Veinante’s 35-second goal for France in 1938. The earliest goal scored in World Cup history was in 2002, when Turkey’s Hakan Sukur scored 11 seconds into a third-place match against South Korea. He managed to do that despite the fact that South Korea kicked off.

Dempsey is also the first American to score in three World Cups. Who needs Landon Donovan, right?

Coming from behind is also a trend

Six teams have come from behind to win in the first 16 games. It’s something else that has added to the excitement of the World Cup and has ensured that nobody feels settled at any stage. Brazil’s early own goal against Croatia saw the hosts come back to win 3-1 while the Dutch eventually thrashed Spain 5-1, despite conceding an early penalty.

Costa Rica’s shock win over Uruguay also had a team come back and Switerland’s stoppage time winner against Ecuador has been the most thrilling thus far. A Didier Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast also came form 1-0 down to beat Japan and Belgium defeated a plucky Algeria 2-1. Incidentally, Algeria’s goal was also their first at a World Cup since 1986. It came through a penalty, though, and as feisty as the North African team was, they simply could not hold on for a remarkable feat.

Germany are the first team to play 100 World Cup games

Germany’s 4-0 win over Portugal made them the first team to play 100 matches in the World Cup. The three-time champions have an incredible record of 61 wins, 19 draws and losses. They also have 210 goals at the tournament and have conceded 117.

Unbeatable Juergen Klinsmann

The USA’s coach, Juergen Klinsmann, has an interesting record. He has won every opening match at every World Cup he has competed in, both as player and as a coach. The Germany international played in the 1990, 1994 and the 1998 World Cup and he coached Germany back in 2006.

Russia are the only team whose players all play in their domestic league

The entire Russian squad plays their football in their domestic league. They are the only team of the tournament which achieves this feat. England have 22 players based at home with Fraser Forster being the only exception. He plays in Scotland, but depending on who you ask – that might count as England too. Italy have 20 players based in their home leagues with only Marco Verratti, Thiagoo Motta and Salvatore Sirigu based overseas. They all play for Paris-Saint Germain in France. Ghana, Ivory Coast and, surprisingly, Uruguay, all have just one player who ply their trade in their country’s domestic league. DM

Photo: Dutch striker Robin van Persie scores the 1-1 equalizer during the FIFA World Cup 2014 group B preliminary round match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, 13 June 2014. The Netherlands won 5-1. (EPA)

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