Century reached as creators excel
Brazil and Italy are the teams to catch ahead of the second round of Group B fixtures. As A Seleção and Gli Azzurri aim to secure semi-final spots with a game to spare, FIFA.com and Castrol Insights look over some of the statistical trends and key numbers.
matches: that is the landmark the FIFA Confederations Cup will reach tomorrow when Egypt's match against Italy completes the competition's first century. Its first-ever game, on 15 October 1992, involved USA and Saudi Arabia, with the Asian side running out 3-0 winners.
per cent of Brazil's chances against Egypt were created in open play, a surprisingly low proportion that has established A Seleção as the most reliant on set-pieces of all South Africa 2009's eight teams. Castrol Performance Analysts found that little over a third of Brazil's attempts on goal came from open play, compared to 83 per cent of Spain's and 100 per cent of their Egyptian opponents'. Nevertheless, this emphasis on set-pieces rather than their famed beautiful game ultimately paid off, with dead-ball situations producing three of Dunga's team's four goals.
head-to-head games between Brazil and USA have not produced a single draw. History would suggest, therefore, that tomorrow's meeting should yield a winner, and Brazil - who have won 12 of these previous meetings - will start as clear favourites. And no-one should be surprised if the South Americans win 1-0. After all, every one of these teams' three duels in men's FIFA competitions - one in the FIFA World Cup™ and two at the FIFA Confederations Cup - have produced this exact scoreline.
chances were created by Andrea Pirlo in Italy's 3-1 win over USA, establishing him as the most creative player in the first round of matches. Castrol Performance Analysts discovered, in fact, that the Azzurri midfielder set up twice as many opportunities as his nearest rivals: Joan Capdevila, Daniel Alves and Elano (all four). It was also found that Pirlo made more passes than any other player in the first four matches at South Africa 2009, and that his success rate in the opposition half of 84 per cent compared favourably to the tournament average of 75 per cent.
goals is a tally that no African team had ever managed against Brazil before Egypt made history on Monday. The architect of all three of the Pharaohs' strikes was Mohamed Aboutrika, the feted playmaker who provided assists for Mohamed Zidan's double and slipped in Sayed Moawad for the cutback that teed up Mohamed Shawky. These moments of creative inspiration punctuated an outstanding performance from the Al Ahly star, who has set off on more dribbles than anyone at the tournament so far except Kaka, and gave the ball away just once outside of Egypt's attacking third. Indeed, as Castrol Performance Analysts discovered, Aboutrika's overall passing accuracy stood at an impressive 89 per cent, considerably higher than the tournament average of 81 per cent.
For a tactical perspective of how the goals at South Africa 2009 have been scored, follow the 'Goal Overview' link on the right.