Crowds, cups and continental conquests
© AFP

Continental showpieces, and triumphs for Atletico Mineiro, Germany’s women and USA, dominate FIFA.com’s latest stats review, which also features Supercup joy for Borussia Dortmund and a bumper attendance in Australia.

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 was the colossal crowd that turned out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Wednesday to watch Liverpool take on local side Melbourne Victory in a pre-season friendly. The attendance set a new record for a football match involving an Australian team on home soil although, perhaps surprisingly, it is not the biggest crowd that has ever turned out to watch the beautiful game Down Under. That honour belongs to the final of the 2000 Olympic Football Tournament between Cameroon and Spain, a fixture that was taken in by no fewer than 104,098 spectators.

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 seconds on the field was all it took Brek Shea to become the latest goalscoring USA substitute and provide the decisive strike in Sunday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final. The winger’s opportunistic strike sealed a 1-0 win over Panama and secured the Stars & Stripes’ fifth continental title, edging them to within one of Mexico’s tournament record. The final might have been tight, but this was an emphatic campaign by Jurgen Klinsmann’s on-song side, who ended the tournament having outscored their opponents by an aggregate tally of 20-4. The US can also reflect with pride on having extended their record winning streak to 11 matches, and on equalling their record sequence of ten straight home victories, initially set between 2008 and 2009.

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 successive UEFA Women’s European Championships have now been won by Germany after they extended their remarkable run of success in Sunday’s final. A 1-0 win over Norway – who, in nine editions, are the only other nation to have lifted the trophy – secured this latest title for a team whose run of continental supremacy began way back in 1995. Earlier in the tournament, the Norwegians had ended the Germans 59-match unbeaten EURO run but, thanks largely to two Nadine Angerer penalty saves, they were denied another upset in the decider. Encouragingly, the final was watched by a tournament record crowd of 41,301, adding to unprecedented overall ticket sales of 216,888 amid plenty of enthusiasm for the women’s game.

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 DFL-Supercups have now been won by both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich after BVB levelled that particular score on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp’s side reclaimed the trophy in some style too, winning 4-2 and, in doing so, becoming the first team to put four goals past a Pep Guardiola team since Atletico Madrid beat Barcelona 4-3 over four years and four months ago. It was also the first time that Bayern have conceded four times in a single match since losing 5-2 to Dortmund themselves in the DFB Pokal final in May 2012. Though high-scoring, the final fell just short of the tournament record, set in 1989 when BVB beat their Bavarian rivals by the odd goal in seven. It did, however, continue a streak of Supercup winners lifting the trophy in their hometown, following on from Bayern last year and Schalke in 2011.

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 successive Copa Libertadores finals have now been won by Brazilian teams after Atletico Mineiro extended that sequence with a dramatic win over Olimpia last Wednesday. That streak equals Argentina’s tournament record, set between 1967-70 and 1972-75. Penalties were again the means by which Atletico triumphed, and they became just the fourth Libertadores winners – after Velez Sarsfield in 94, Boca Juniors in 2001 and Olimpia in 2002 – to win both the semi-final and final on spot-kicks. This latest shoot-out was set up after the Belo Horizonte outfit overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit, and paved the way for Paraguayan heart-break. After all, only once before in the history of this South American showpiece had a team gone on to lose having held a two-goal first-leg cushion, and Olimpia were that team, having surrendered an identical advantage to Atletico Nacional in 1989 before losing, again, on penalties.