FIFA.com's latest stats review reflects on a week that brought landmark goals for Messrs Ibrahimovic, Lewandowski and Welbeck, surprise losses for Portugal and Germany, a teenage debutant in Spain and a record-breaking futsal crowd.
was the remarkable attendance that on Sunday smashed the record for a futsal match. The game - an international between Brazil and Argentina - proved to be historic in all sorts of ways, with futsal staged in a football stadium for the first time. Nor was it just any stadium, with Brasilia's magnificent Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha playing host to incredible scenes on and off the court. Brazil won 4-1, and there was further delight for the crowd as the legendary Falcao - now 37 - returned to the national team after a nine-month absence. However, it was the fans who made most headlines, with the previous record attendance - 25,712 for the Brazilian Liga Futsal final in 1999 - more than doubled by the colossal turnout.
days without an international goal was the run that came to a welcome end for Danny Welbeck on Monday. The Arsenal striker, whose last England goal had come against Moldova on 3 September 2013, made a timely return to form with a brace in the Three Lions' impressive 2-0 win away to Switzerland. The result counted as something of a surprise given the sides' respective FIFA World Cup™ showings, and the fact the Swiss had gone into the match unbeaten in their last nine home matches. Roy Hodgson's side, for their part, hadn't won outside of England since March 2013, and had not scored twice or more in any game since last June.
international goals was the milestone reached by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday, and with it came the Sweden national team's scoring record. The Paris Saint-Germain striker claimed both goals in the Swedes' 2-0 friendly win over Estonia and the second of those took him past Sven Rydell's benchmark of 49, which had stood since 1932. Not content with one landmark in the space of a week, Ibrahimovic made it two on Monday by winning his 100th cap in the 1-1 draw with Austria, becoming just the tenth Swede to reach the century mark. And he wasn't the only star striker who enjoyed a week to remember. Robert Lewandowski scored four times as Poland beat Gibraltar 7-0 for their biggest-ever competitive win away from home. Lewandowski's haul also left him just one short of the UEFA European Championship qualification record, which is currently shared by Malcolm MacDonald (England), Tibor Nyilasi (Hungary) and Marco van Basten (Netherlands), each of whom managed to strike five times in a single match.
years without a competitive home defeat was the remarkable run that came to an end for Nigeria on Saturday. The Super Eagles had not been beaten in a meaningful match on their own patch since Algeria emerged from Lagos with a 2-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in 1981. But that proud record crumbled in the most spectacular and unexpected circumstances, with unfancied Congo clinching a thrilling 3-2 victory in the sides' CAF Africa Cup of Nations preliminary match in Calabar. "They dominated and deservedly won," was the candid admission of Nigeria captain Austin Ejide. "We underrated them and paid dearly." The Congolese, coached by the veteran Claude LeRoy, will now look to continue this fine start in Group A when they take on Sudan, while Nigeria travel to South Africa under major pressure to bounce back.
days after blowing out the candles on his 19th birthday cake, Munir El Haddadi made his bow for Spain's national team on Monday. In turning out for La Roja in their 5-1 win over FYR Macedonia, the Barcelona starlet became the youngest Spanish debutant since another product of La Masia, Bojan Krkic (18 years, 13 days) in 2008. The match also witnessed another youngster, 21-year-old Paco Alcacer, score one goal and set up another in his first start for the national team, while Sergio Busquets - after 69 goalless appearances - finally opened his Spain account. All told, it was a welcome pick-me-up for a team that had gone into the game having lost three times in their last four matches - as many defeats as they had suffered in their previous 41.
years without a competitive home defeat was the run that came to a shock end for Portugal when they went down 1-0 to Albania on Sunday. It was A Selecção das Quinas' first defeat on their own patch since a 3-2 reverse to Denmark in September 2008, and only their second since the turn of the century. A spectacular Bekim Balaj volley won the match for Albania, who currently sit 70th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and registered just two attempts on goal to their hosts' 19. Another fine run had come to an end earlier in the week in Germany, where the world champions lost for the first time in 18 matches and 13 months. Argentina were the team to end that particular sequence with a 4-2 win and, in doing so, became the first visiting team to score four in Germany since Sweden's memorable 4-4 World Cup qualifying draw in October 2012.