Stat attack: the anorak’s guide to the group stages

136: there have been 136 goals so far. At a total of 2.83 per game this has been one of the most entertaining world cups in recent memory. 136 is a group stage record in a 32 team tournament. To put this into context, there were only 145 goals scored in the entire tournament in South Africa four years ago. Brazil 2014 is on course to beat the record of 171 goals in a 32 team tournament set in France 98.

32: all 32 teams have scored at least once in the group stages for the first time since France 98.

10: the Netherlands are the tournament’s top scorers with 10 goals so far. Lowest scorers Cameroon and Iran have netted just once each.

1: Costa Rica, Belgium and Mexico have had the meanest defences yielding just one goal apiece.

4: Thomas Muller, Lionel Messi and Neymar are the top scoring players with four goals each. Muller leads the race for the golden boot due to having an assist to his name.

7: the highest scoring match saw seven goals as France beat Switzerland 5-2 in Salvador. The same venue also saw the two biggest victory margins, Netherlands 5-1 Spain and Germany 4-0 Portugal.

2: there have been two hat tricks so far, Thomas Muller for Germany against Portugal and Xherdan Shaqiri for Switzerland against Honduras.

4: there have also been four own goals.

15: Miroslav Klose’s goal against Ghana was his record equalling 15th finals goal. He has scored these goals over the last four tournaments. In the same period of time, England have scored 17.

Best goal: there have been some outstanding contenders but Tim Cahill’s volley against the Dutch was reminiscent of Van Basten and will take some beating.

Best save: Guillermo Ochoa’s one handed reach to deny Neymar at full stretch has been compared with Gordon Banks’ similar stop against Pele in 1970.

Biggest flop: despite not being fully fit, Cristiano Ronaldo’s status as the best player in the world means that he will be desperately disappointed with one goal and a first round exit.

Biggest shock: With the three richest domestic leagues in the world, you’d have been given fantastic odds on England, Spain and Italy all exiting in the group stage.

Best sight: the atmosphere at every game has been tremendous and the zeal with which Brazil and Chile in particular have sung their national anthems has been a joy to behold. However, seeing Fifa restore some much needed credibility and finally coming down hard on a player deserving of punishment has made a welcome change. From a vindictive point of view, the four month ban for Luis Suarez was a tonic.

Best player: With the expectation of 200 million fans weighing heavy on his young shoulders, Neymar has been sensational. He has dazzled when Brazil have, at times, been ordinary.

The second round line up is as follows: Brazil vs Chile

Uruguay vs Colombia

Netherlands vs Mexico

Costa Rica vs Greece

France vs Nigeria

Argentina vs Switzerland

Germany vs Algeria

Belgium vs USA

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2 thoughts on “Stat attack: the anorak’s guide to the group stages

  1. The four own goals mentioned were scored by Marcelo for Brazil against Croatia, Sead Kolasinac for Bosnia against Argentina, Noel Valladares for Honduras against France and John Boye for Ghana against Portugal.

  2. Just heard another cracking statistic from the group stages. Xherdan Shaqiri’s goals against Honduras meant that at least one player wearing the squad numbers 2-23 had scored in the group stages. All we need is for a first choice goalkeeper to come forward for a late corner and make himself a hero to complete the set.

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