English extravagance and Japanese joy
© AFP

The drama of transfer deadline day in England and the delight of record-breaking Japan in Qatar feature alongside some outstanding goalscoring feats from three up-and-coming striking stars in FIFA.com’s latest statistical review.

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million (€151m, USD 207.7m) was the spectacular outlay made by two clubs for just four deadline day signings. The English outfits at the heart of the transfer drama were Liverpool and Chelsea, while the players commanding the eye-watering transfer fees were Fernando Torres (Liverpool-Chelsea, £50m), Andy Carroll (Newcastle United-Liverpool, £35m), Luis Suarez (Ajax-Liverpool, £22.8m) and David Luiz (Benfica-Chelsea, £21.3m). Incredibly, this dramatic splurge took place within the space of two-and-a-half hours, with Suarez’s signing announced at 8.46pm and the remaining three deals confirmed just ahead of the Premier League’s 11pm deadline. To put that in context, 134 minutes was all the time it needed for the Reds and the Blues to spend almost four-and-a-half times as much as every English team over the January 2010, when a combined £29m was paid out. It also witnessed the record fee for a transfer between British clubs broken twice within a matter of minutes, with Dimitar Berbatov’s £30.75m fee first eclipsed by Carroll’s, which was then promptly surpassed by Torres. With the likes of £27m Edin Dzeko and £24m Darren Bent having set the pace in the January spending, these latest deals merely added to a record-breaking month in English football, with the overall outlay amounting to over £214m.

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goals in four matches have enabled Neymar to set a spectacular scoring pace in the early stages of the South American U-20 Championship. The sought-after Santos star has been in irresistible form, claiming all four of his team’s goals in a 4-2 win over Paraguay before going on to score in a 3-1 win over Colombia and grab a double as Brazil began their second round campaign by beating Chile 5-1. The 18-year-old, who is three clear of the tournament’s second-top scorer, Colombia's Edwin Bedoya, now has more goals to his name at the continental competition than every other team except Argentina.

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goals in his last four Serie A appearances, including two hat-tricks in the space of a month, have taken Edinson Cavani to the summit of the league’s scoring charts. The Napoli talisman’s latest treble took him on to 17 for the season, two clear of nearest challenger Antonio Di Natale, and pushed his overall tally in Italy’s top flight beyond the half-century mark to 51. Cavani’s defensive colleagues are also excelling, with Sunday’s 4-0 win over Sampdoria extending to 427 minutes the period since they last conceded at the San Paolo. While Walter Mazzarri’s side are unbeaten in their last seven home matches, struggling Juventus currently boast the worst home defensive record in Serie A, with 19 goals conceded leaving them four worse off than the second-most porous team, rock-bottom Bari.

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goals from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson inspired AZ to a 6-1 victory over VVV-Venlo and made the young Icelander the highest individual goalscorer of the past week. The 20-year-old actually more than doubled his Eredivisie tally for the season, which had previously stood at four, inside the space of 69 minutes, having completed a hat-trick with 19 minutes of the first half remaining. Sigthorsson’s deadly display kept AZ firmly in the hunt for a European spot, while the man responsible has also shot up the goalscoring charts and now lies just six off the division’s leading marksman, Bjorn Vleminckx.

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AFC Asian Cup titles, the latest of which was secured on Saturday, have established Japan as the most successful team in the competition’s history. By edging Australia 1-0 in an enthralling final, the Samurai Blue inched ahead of Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of whom have three Asian crowns to their name. Uniquely, all four of Japan’s continental conquests have been masterminded by a foreign coach, with Alberto Zaccheroni following in the footsteps of Dutchman Hans Ooft (1992), Philippe Troussier of France (2000) and Brazil legend Zico (2004). It was also a memorable tournament for the Socceroos, whose 6-0 dismantling of Uzbekistan was the tournament’s biggest-ever semi-final win, while Bahrain’s Ismaeel Abdullatif became the first man since Ali Daei to score four goals in a single Asian Cup match, and poor Waleed Abbas the first in the competition's history to score own goals in successive matches.