Cap kings and landmark goals
© AFP

A busy international week provides plenty of focal points for FIFA.com’s latest stats review, with milestones for Messrs Hassan, Casillas and Buffon featuring alongside goalscoring achievements for England and Luis Suarez, and the end of Japan’s long unbeaten streak.

2000

goals was the landmark reached by England last night as they ended one of their longest-running international hoodoos. Unfortunately, this milestone strike – in the Three Lions’ 902nd match - came courtesy of Daniel Majstorovic, with the Sweden centre-half’s own goal ending his side’s 12-match unbeaten run in this fixture. England, in fact, hadn’t beaten the Swedes since 1968, with the intervening period having yielded eight draws and four defeats. Yet this wasn’t Fabio Capello’s side’s only win this week, with Spain having been seen off by an identical scoreline on Friday as England triumphed over the reigning world champions for the first time since beating Argentina back in 1980. Frank Lampard was their match-winner on this occasion, and with nine goals for his country at the new Wembley Stadium, the Chelsea midfielder is now the joint-leading scorer in this respect alongside Peter Crouch. Joe Hart, meanwhile, is becoming something of a lucky omen; in 16 England appearances, the impressive young keeper has still yet to taste defeat.

178

international appearances, the most recent of which came in Monday’s 2-0 defeat by Brazil, have established Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan as the joint-most capped player in football history. The 36-year-old Zamalek stalwart, who made his international debut in 1995, now needs just one more Pharaohs outing to surpass the record of Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al Deayea, who last played in 2006. Hassan, who has won four CAF Africa Cup of Nations titles, and been named the tournament’s MVP twice, could reach the 179-mark in Ferbuary, when Egypt face a rematch against Brazil in Cairo.

127

caps is the tally that enabled Iker Casillas to set a new Spanish record last night. The Real Madrid goalkeeper’s latest international appearance, 11 years and five months on from his first, took him beyond the benchmark set by Andoni Zubizarreta in 1998, as La Roja drew 2-2 in Costa Rica. Casillas wasn’t the only world-renowned keeper who reached a notable landmark this week, with Gianluigi Buffon’s 112th Italy appearance taking him level with Dino Zoff as his country’s most-capped custodian. Only Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini, with 136 and 126 caps respectively, have played more times for Gli Azzurri.

17

months and 20 matches without defeat was the outstanding run that came to an end for Japan yesterday. Korea DPR were the team to finally get the better of a Blue Samurai side which hadn’t lost – other than on penalties – since going down 1-0 to the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup group stage on 19 June. In the time since, the Japanese had racked up 13 wins and seven draws, with 16 of those 20 matches having been negotiated under the reign of Alberto Zaccheroni. Indeed, yesterday’s defeat was the first time in nearly two and a half years, since Australia beat them 2-1 in June 2009, that the Asian champions had lost a competitive match against an AFC rival. Korea DPR’s 1-0 victory was in vain, however: even before kick-off, they had claimed the dubious distinction of being the first South Africa 2010 participant eliminated from the race to reach Brazil 2014.

4

goals in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Chile on Friday saw Luis Suarez become the first player in over 11 years to score more than three times in a South American Zone FIFA World Cup qualifier. The Liverpool striker is in illustrious company too, with Romario the last player to have managed a four-goal haul in the CONMEBOL region, O Baixinho’s efforts having come in Brazil’s 6-0 win over Venezuela in October 2000. Suarez is now just six goals away from the all-time Uruguay scoring record recently claimed by strike partner Diego Forlan, although the 24-year-old did fall one short of claiming the highest individual tally in the Brazil 2014 preliminaries thus far. That honour still belongs to the Bahamas’ Lesly St. Fleur, who scored five of his side’s goals in a 6-0 win over Turks and Caicos back in July.