In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals, wins. Yet in every week, league and match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is.
That's why FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the results, highlighting football's biggest winners and losers from the week just past. In our latest review, we reflect on a Mexican legend ending his international career, the achievements of two Spaniards at club level, and their national team's latest landmark.
is the goal number Guti scored for Real Madrid in La Liga on Sunday. The 31-year-old's early equaliser proved crucial, too, helping Los Merengues to a 4-3 win over visiting Numancia. Like Francisco Gento, Juanito and Raul, scorers of the club's 2,000th, 3,000th and 4,500th league goals respectively, Guti has spent ten or more seasons at the club, having debuted almost 13 years ago.
games for Internacional in the Brasileirao is the figure goalkeeper Clemer reached on Sunday, when he celebrated surpassing Valdomiro as the club's record appearant in the competition by helping them to a 2-1 win at Botafogo. One current and another former No1 had less fortune over in Italy. Bologna's Francesco Antonioli played in a 1-0 defeat at home to Atalanta on his 39th birthday, while Walter Zenga watched his Catania side lose 2-1 at Inter Milan after being presented with a No473 jersey to mark the number of games he played for the Nerazzurri.
international appearances is the milestone Cuauhtemoc Blanco reached as an 89th-minute substitute for Mexico in their 2-1 reverse of Canada in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying. However, the inimitable 35-year-old will not go on to outrank the other five members of El Tri's century club, namely Claudio Suarez, Pavel Pardo, Jorge Campos, Ramon Ramirez and Alberto Garcia Aspe, because, before the game, he announced his retirement from international football.
qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup™ unbeaten is the European record that belongs exclusively to Spain following their 4-0 win over Armenia. La Roja, who shared the record with Germany going into last Wednesday's match, have not tasted defeat in a preliminary for the world finals since a 1-0 loss in Denmark in 1993. Iker Casillas' latest clean sheet extended Spain's run without conceding in all competition to 618 minutes, of which 348 came en route to the UEFA EURO 2008 crown. Bojan missed out on that triumph, but in coming on in the 65th minute against the Armenians, he became his country's second-youngest international at the age of 18 years and 13 days.
minutes is all it took for Polonia Warsaw's Daniel Maka to score the weekend's fastest hat-trick. With his side drawing 0-0 at Bytom, the 20-year-old broke the deadlock in the 64th minute before adding two more goals in a 4-0 victory which kept Polonia level on points with arch-rivals and Polish Ekstraklasa leaders Legia Warsaw. He was not the only youngster to seize the headlines. James McCarthy scored Hamilton Academical's winner at Aberdeen to become the weekend's youngest marksman, aged 17 years and 306 days, while Jack Wilshere became Arsenal's youngest all-time appearant in the league when he came on against Blackburn Rovers at 16 years and 256 days.
attempts is what it took Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez to finally arrest his winless run against Manchester United in the league on Saturday. The 2-1 victory was the Reds' tenth straight Premier League success at Anfield, keeping their unbeaten home record in 2008 intact and ending Alex Ferguson's side's sequence of five consecutive wins over their fierce rivals. After a Wes Brown own goal had cancalled out Carlos Tevez's opener for the visitors, substitute Ryan Babel struck in the 76th minute winner and consequently became the first Liverpool player to score in the league against United under Benitez's reign, which began in 2004.