Spanish dribbles and Modise misses
With Spain safely through, the fight to join the European champions in the last four enters its final round of matches tomorrow. As always, FIFA.com is on hand to look over some of the statistical trends and key numbers.
solo runs have been on embarked on by Spain players, making Vicente del Bosque's team South Africa 2009's top dribblers by some distance. Their nearest challengers in this respect, Italy, clocked up 31 individual runs - 25 fewer - while Brazil have managed 30. Iraq, at the other end of the scale, have been least likely to dribble with the ball, attempting just seven individual runs in their two matches thus far.
per cent is the meagre average rate of possession held by the Iraqis in their opening two matches. Only USA, who have been reduced to ten men in both their games, have held such a low share of the ball, with even New Zealand - dominated throughout by both Spain and South Africa - enjoying 41 per cent possession over their two matches. Football, of course, is about what you do with the ball rather than how long you hold it, but Castrol Performance Analysts found that teams at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ with a 60 per cent-plus rate of possession increased their chances of winning to 76 per cent.
off-target shots have established Teko Modise as the most wayward finisher at South Africa 2009. Yet the Bafana Bafana star should not feel too despondent about this statistic. He is, after all, in illustrious company, with David Villa sitting second on six missed shots and third place shared by Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo and the tournament's top scorer, Fernando Torres, both of whom have five. Modise's tally can also be partly explained by the fact that he has attempted seven shots from outside the area, a tally that has only be matched by Pirlo.
of the seven goals conceded by New Zealand so far at South Africa 2009 came in the opening 30 minutes of their matches, and two more were scored within ten minutes of the second half kicking off. This inability to remain solid in the early stages of both halves has been crucial to the Kiwis surrendering the initiative to both Spain and South Africa, and is a trend they will be desperate to reverse when they come up against Iraq.
goals: only two teams in the history of the FIFA Confederations Cup have returned home after three group matches without scoring. Canada became the first in 2001, Greece followed suit four years later, and tomorrow will witness Iraq and New Zealand aim to avoid the same ignominy. The Asian and Oceanian champions are the only two teams yet to open their account at South Africa 2009.