In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals, wins. Yet in every week, in every league and in every single match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is.
That's why, every week, we at FIFA.com take a look at the numbers behind the results, highlighting football's biggest winners and losers from the week just past. This week, we take a fond look back at the goal-laden FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup while reflecting on some eye-catching events in Brazil, England, Australia and Trinidad and Tobago.
goals, an average of 8.09 per match, goes some way towards explaining why Marseille fell so completely in love with beach soccer during the past fortnight. Even with Eric Cantona's French hopefuls flattering to deceive on home sand, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup rarely failed to get supporters off their seats. Yet while improvisation and unpredictability are two key ingredients in the discipline's burgeoning success, it was two familiar names who dominated, with Brazil winning their third successive title and Portugal's Madjer, with 13 goals, claiming his third adidas Golden Shoe in four editions.
million pounds (115.5 million dollars) is the staggering amount that Robbie Keane has commanded in transfer fees alone in the wake of the Republic of Ireland captain's big-money move to Liverpool. This phenomenal figure, bolstered considerably by the £20.3 million deal that has made Keane the second-most expensive player in the Reds' history after Fernando Torres, has changed hands in deals involving Wolverhampton Wanderers, Coventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur and now Liverpool. The 28-year-old, who scored 107 goals in 254 matches during a six-season stint at White Hart Lane and is his country's record goalscorer with 33 strikes in 81 appearances, has been given the No7 shirt made iconic at Anfield by the likes of Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan.
goals scored in five matches, with just two conceded along the way, underlines why USA have been singled out as the team to beat at this year's inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. The Americans' impressive statistics were accumulated during the final phase of the CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship in Trinidad and Tobago last week, which saw Kazbek Tambi's team qualify for New Zealand 2008 along with Costa Rica and Canada. Such was Tambi's side's dominance, in fact, that the Ticos - the continent's runners-up, who qualified for a FIFA women's finals for the first time - still saw their goal breached ten times during two encounters against the imperious USA. With the US having won the maiden editions of both the senior and U-19 (now U-20) FIFA showpieces, not to mention the first-ever Women's Olympic Football Tournament, could they now be in line to make it four out of four?
goals, including a hat-trick in Sunday's 5-2 victory over Vasco da Gama, have established Santos' Kleber Pereira alongside Palmeiras' Alex Mineiro at the top of the Brasileiro scoring charts. With Pele's former club still languishing third from bottom, just a point above basement boys Ipatinga, this represents no mean feat for the veteran former Tigres, Club America and Necaxa star, who turns 33 a fortnight tomorrow. Kleber Pareira was not, however, alone in celebrating a Brasileiro hat-trick last week. Indeed, three days earlier, Reinaldo and Edixon Perea - team-mates at leaders Gremio - had both chalked up trebles of their own in a 7-1 victory away to Figueirense, the former player managing the feat in just 14 minutes
teams are set to become ten in Australia's A-League for season 2009/10 after a North Queensland club was provisionally admitted to the top flight by the Football Federation Australia on Thursday. The club, which is to be based in the north-eastern city of Townsville, will reportedly be known as North Queensland Thunder and will play its matches at the 27,000-capacity Dairy Farmers Stadium. With another Queensland outfit, Gold Coast United, even further forward in their quest to become full members, the A-League - which has proved such a roaring success since kicking off in 2005 - appears set to go from strength to strength.