Set pieces and starter's orders

Day 2 of the FIFA Confederations Cup will witness four footballing heavyweights enter the ring as Brazil, Egypt, Italy and USA slug it out in Group B. In the second of our statistical matchday previews, looks forward to the world champions renewing hostilities with their Germany 2006 adversaries and Dunga's star-studded Seleção squaring up to the African champions.


caps is the mammoth tally that guarantees Ahmed Hassan's status as South Africa 2009's most experienced player. The Egypt midfielder, whose international career has spanned 14 years and six CAF African Cup of Nations - three of which the Pharaohs have won - recently entered the top ten in the FIFA Century Club, surpassing both Lothar Mattaus (150) and Ali Daei (149). Now joint-ninth with Latvia stalwart Vitalijs Astafjevs in the all-time standings, Hassan has played more internationals than any active player bar Ivan Hurtado (159). The 34-year-old Al Ahly star may yet surpass Ecuador's veteran captain, but another 28 Egypt appearances would be required for him to eclipse the most capped footballer in history: Saudi Arabia's Mohamed Al-Deayea (181).


per cent of Italy's goals in their triumphant 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ campaign resulted from set-pieces, a fact that will surely only heighten American vigilance at dead-ball situations tomorrow. As Castrol Insights discovered, this percentage - representing seven of I Azzurri's 12 goals - is considerably higher than the norm of 32 per cent. By way of comparison, set-pieces produced just four goals for fellow finalists France, with no-one in Germany capable of matching the dead-ball mastery of Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti.


matches, one year and six days have passed since USA last failed to score. Not since Argentina held them to a 0-0 draw on 8 June 2008 have Bob Bradley's side been successfully subdued, with 13 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and one friendly against Sweden having yielded 36 US goals in the time since. Landon Donovan has been a predictably reliable source of firepower, but this prolific period has also witnessed trebles from Sascha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore, with the latter becoming the youngest-ever hat-trick scorer in the history of the US national team.


goals per game is the impressive pre-tournament average that has established the FIFA Confederations Cup as a higher-scoring competition than its bigger, more famous sibling. The FIFA World Cup remains the beautiful game's main event, of course, but that particular tournament's five most recent editions have produced a more meagre rate of 2.48 goals per game. Nowhere has the disparity with the Festival of Champions been more apparent than in Germany, where the 2006 FIFA World Cup produced 2.3 goals per game just a year after the FIFA Confederations Cup had served up a record high average of 3.5.


represents your chances of failing to win your opening match and going on to lift the FIFA Confederations Cup, certainly if history is anything to go by. All seven past champions have opened their account with a victory and, in all but one case, have done so without conceding a goal. Mexico, the sole exception, still succeeded in inflicting a 5-1 defeat on Saudi Arabia in 1999, and the aggregate result for previous winners' opening matches stands at a staggering 23-1.