Last year's 1,154 senior men’s and women's international fixtures are, as always, a rich source of interest and entertainment for statisticians and fans alike. With 850 men's and 304 women's internationals in 2009, numbers were down somewhat in both categories compared to the previous year.
matches were played in 2009, fully 210 fewer than the previous year. The decrease comes as little surprise, as the final year of FIFA World Cup™ qualifying always features fewer games than the opening months.
or just under half of the matches, were friendlies. Taken together with the 332 qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, that makes some 90 per cent of the total.
of FIFA's 208 member associations played at least one match. In terms of sheer numbers, Europe led the way with 238 fixtures, followed by Asia (181) and Africa (159). 141 of the games pitted nations from different confederations against each other.
consecutive games unbeaten – that was the streak put together by European champions Spain. The run, which equalled the previous best set by Brazil, came to an unexpected end when the Spaniards fell to the USA in the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals.
apiece was the proud tally posted by Honduras and the USA, who made more appearances in internationals than any other countries. However, that was still some way short of the record shared by USA and Bahrain, who each clocked up an incredible 33 matches in 1993 and 2004 respectively.
goals was the highest single-match total in 2009, achieved in the meeting between Hong Kong and Guam. Home team Hong Kong netted the lot.
of the leading teams in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking remained unbeaten in 2009. Portugal, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire avoided defeat for the entire 12 months – and all duly qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals, with a greater or lesser degree of difficulty.
the highest number of world ranking points earned for a single victory in 2009 went to Brazil for their 3-0 triumph against world champions Italy at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
women's internationals were played in 2009, a low total typical for the period two years ahead of the next FIFA Women’s World Cup.
games, or around two-thirds of the total, were friendlies. The remainder were either fixtures at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2009 in Finland (25) or qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.
of FIFA's 208 member associations played at least one match. As with the men, Europe led the way with 181 matches, followed by Asia (47) and South America (12). 55 of the games were match-ups between nations from different confederations.
games put Finland on top of the appearances ranking, closely followed by China PR and the Netherlands on 19 apiece. The active nations played an average of seven games across the year.
goals was the highest single-match total in 2009, all of them scored by Denmark against Georgia.
the highest single-game world ranking points haul in 2009 went to USA for a 1-0 friendly victory away to Germany.