Memories, marvels & continental conquests
© AFP

Continental competitions dominate FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, with Marvin Martin, Frank Lampard and Mario Gomez on target in Europe, Javier Hernandez thrilling at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and Penarol and Santos rolling back the clock in South America.

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victories was the milestone reached by France’s national team in Monday’s 4-1 friendly win over Ukraine. The hero of this landmark triumph was Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin, who sparked comparisons with Zinedine Zidane by emulating Zizou’s achievement of coming off the bench to score twice on his international debut. Martin and Zidane are part of a group of only 15 players who have scored more than twice on their first appearance for Les Bleus, and the 23-year-old’s second goal carried added significance as the 1300th of France’s history. Martin had remained on the sidelines last Friday when Laurent Blanc’s side blew the chance to reach the 350-mark in their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier by drawing 1-1 against Belarus, who remain the only nation France have faced more than once without beating.

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years after the sides met in a legendary final, Penarol and Santos – two of the Copa Libertadores’ true pioneers – set up an eagerly-anticipated reunion in the climax to this season’s South American showpiece. Between them, these Uruguayan and Brazilian giants won each of the first four Copa Libertadores crowns, with Santos – inspired by two goals from Pele in a third-match decider – ending Penarol’s bid for three-in-a-row in September 1962. O Peixe retained the trophy the following year but have not won it since, while Penarol are aiming for their first Libertadores title in 24 years. Meanwhile, Santos’s success in seeing off Cerro Porteno in the last four ensures there have now been 15 Brazilian finalists in the competition’s last 15 editions.

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Primera Division goals was the landmark reached by Martin Palermo on Sunday, enabling the Boca Juniors icon to move level with Jose Sanfilippo as the joint-fifth highest scorer in the history of Argentina’s top flight. The 37-year-old equalled Sanfilippo with a spectacular long-range drive in Boca’s 2-2 draw with Quilmes and is enjoying a rich vein of goalscoring form, having found the net in six of his last seven appearances. With Palermo adamant that he will retire at the end of the current season, he now has just two matches remaining to score the four goals needed to climb another rung in the ladder and reach the 231-mark of fourth-placed Manuel ‘Payo’ Pelegrina. The all-time record is jointly held by River Plate legend Angel Labruna and Paraguayan Arsenio Erico, who starred for Independiente, both of whom ended their careers on 293.

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converted penalties have established Frank Lampard as the most successful spot-kick taker in the history of England’s national team. The Chelsea midfielder moved beyond Alan Shearer and Ron Flowers when he scored from the spot to spark a Three Lions comeback in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Switzerland. Flowers, it should be noted, retains the distinction of never having missed any of his six penalties, while Lampard has been thwarted in two of his nine attempts. Failing to beat the Swiss, for whom Tranquillo Barnetta ended a run of 32 games without a goal by scoring a brace, extended England’s winless home run to four matches – their worst in four years. Rio Ferdinand also ended a proud run of impeccable discipline, picking up his first yellow card in any competition since March 2009.

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years and three months have now passed since Germany lost an away fixture, with Italy the last home team to inflict defeat on Die Mannschaft with a 4-1 friendly win in March 2006. This run, which now spans 22 matches and the entirety of Joachim’s Low’s tenure, was extended with a 2-1 over Austria that continues the Germans’ 100 per cent record over four games in Vienna. Mario Gomez was the hero with a match-winning brace and is currently in the form of his life, having scored again last night to end the season with 13 goals in eight appearances and found the net in four consecutive internationals for the first time.

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goals in Mexico’s 5-0 win over El Salvador on Sunday saw Javier Hernandez become the first El Tri international in 18 years to score a hat-trick in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The last was Zaguinho, who famously scored seven times in a 9-0 demolition of Martinique, setting a tournament record that, unsurprisingly, still stands to this day. Thanks largely to that seven-goal haul, the former America star remains the Gold Cup’s all-time leading scorer on 13, although current USA talisman Landon Donovan needs just one more to draw level.