Stars, success and scoring records
© AFP

Spectacular feats from Cristiano Ronaldo, Uruguay and Mexico in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifiers feature alongside milestones for Tim Cahill and Jay Rodriguez and a well-earned title for Cruzeiro in FIFA.com’s latest stats review.

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players have now represented England after Fraser Forster, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez earned their first caps in Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Chile. Rodriguez was credited as being the 1,200th and follows on from fellow milestone men Gareth Barry (1,100th in 2000) and Neil Webb (1,000th in 1987). It was a largely unhappy occasion for the debutants though, with England failing to score against Chile for a fourth successive match – their worst such run against any opponents since an identical sequence against Sweden between 1979 and ’89. England’s last goal against Chile came back in 1953, courtesy of the legendary Nat Lofthouse. The picture became even gloomier last night, with a 1-0 defeat to Germany consigning the Three Lions to successive defeats for the first time in two decades. Worse still, Roman Weidenfeller – who became the oldest goalkeeper to debut for the Germans, at 33 years and 105 days – did not have a single save to make, with England failing to register an effort on target at home for the first time since a 1-0 defeat by Scotland in 1999.

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goals is the record tally on which Cruzeiro have built their first Brazilian title-winning campaign in a decade, and maintained the club’s high-scoring reputation. Since the Brasileiro became a 20-team division in 2006, only one team had ever managed to score more than 68 goals in a single season: Cruzeiro themselves, with 73 in 2007. On that occasion, defensive weaknesses led to the Belo Horizonte outfit finishing fifth, but there were no such problems on this occasion, with fewer goals conceded than closest challengers Gremio, who are also 34 worse off in the goals for column. Cruzeiro were able to clinch the title with four games to spare and, with 75 points already to their name, have three matches still remaining in which to snatch away Sao Paulo’s 20-team Brasileiro record of 78. The championship is the club’s first since 2003 and second overall since the national league’s 1971 inception. It also caps a memorable year for Mineiro football, coming in the wake of Atletico Mineiro’s Copa Libertadores triumph, and is the first time that two clubs from the region have won Brazil and South America’s top prizes in the same year.

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goals is the all-time Portugal national team scoring record, first set by Pauleta, that Cristiano Ronaldo equalled last night. The Real Madrid star was once again in unstoppable form, notching a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Sweden to take his team through to the World Cup and edge Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the stellar individual battle. Ibrahimovic scored twice on the night and has nine goals in his last seven matches for Sweden, but Ronaldo’s four strikes over the tie means that he has now found the net 13 times in his six most recent appearances for both club and country. Elsewhere, France became the first team to overcome a two-goal deficit in a European Zone World Cup play-off, beating Ukraine 3-0 to qualify for their 14th World Cup and fifth in succession. With Karim Benzema on target, Les Bleus extended their record of winning all 16 matches in which the Real Madrid striker has found the net.

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goals have taken Tim Cahill level with Damian Mori as Australia’s all-time leading scorer. The New York Red Bulls star came off the bench in yesterday’s friendly against Costa Rica to claim the only goal of the game and give new coach Ange Postecoglou the ideal start. Cahill is now 33, but with a record of close to a goal every two games in 65 appearances for his country, he has now set his sights on taking sole ownership of the record before or during the World Cup in Brazil. The match was also memorable for Lucas Neill, meanwhile, who became Australia’s longest-serving captain with his 61st appearance wearing the armband.

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unanswered goals in Jordan on Friday allowed Uruguay to break a 79-year-old record for the biggest away win in an intercontinental World Cup play-off match. The previous benchmark had been set with a 3-0 win for Egypt in Palestine in 1934, but that was comfortably eclipsed by a rampant Celeste side who, in the process, also more than doubled their best winning margin in an away World Cup qualifier. Previously, they had never won by more than two goals. It was Uruguay’s fourth successive intercontinental play-off appearance dating back to Korea/Japan 2002, equalling the record set by Australia between 1994 and 2006 editions. In the other intercontinental tie, Mexico proved equally comfortable, winning the first leg against New Zealand 5-1 – their first home win by a four-goal margin in over five years. Indeed, their tally in this match equalled the number of goals El Tri had scored in their previous five home competitive matches combined. The Mexicans also became the first team to reach the milestone of 400 World Cup qualifying goals, with Raul Jimenez’s strike – the fourth of El Tri’s nine over the tie – achieving this landmark.