Lahm on the rise but Chile still rule
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They might have conceded their first goals of South Africa 2010 in last night's 2-1 defeat to Spain, but the supremacy of Chilean defenders in the Castrol Index continues apace. In fact, their overall showing has been strengthened, with Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce continuing to hold on to the top two positions in the and La Roja left-back Gonzalo Jara also moving into a challenging position after two sterling performances of his own.

The goals scored by David Villa and Andres Iniesta took Spain past the 10-man Chileans in Pretoria did not make a dent in Medel and Ponce's domination of the rankings because the defenders allowed only three shots on target overall, with the first goal blamed on the rash decision of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to rush far from his goal to intercept Fernando Torres. In the Castrol Index, an innovative system of ranking player performance and in use at the FIFA World Cup for the first time, the talented and dogged pair earned additional marks for the extra work they were required to do in the 53 minutes that remained after defensive midfielder Marco Estrada was ordered off.

Chile conceded only six shots on target in their three Group H fixtures and Jara, who came in for Arturo Vidal after the first game, has more than played his part in the two subsequent fixtures. Four other teams were equally efficient in only allowing their opponents six shots on target: Spain, Paraguay, Italy and Argentina.

That fact is reflected in the number of defenders who are making the top echelons of the Castrol Index their only personal fiefdom. From No1 to No8, the ranking table is dominated centre-halves and fullbacks, and if you include goalkeepers in that category - in this case Algeria's Rais Mbolhi - the list extends down to number 11. It underlines the low scoring ratio at South Africa 2010 so far, with 101 goals in the group phase compared with 117 at Germany 2006 and 130 four years earlier in Korea/Japan.

Indeed, you have to scan down to number 38 in the list to find the first forward - Gonzalo  - although the Argentina striker would surely have earned a higher rating had he not been rested for his side's final group fixture with Greece.

Lahm makes his move
The most significant mover was Philipp Lahm, who rose to thid-best in the ranking table and is once again demonstating the skills and tenacity that made him one of the standout defensive performers at Germany 2006. The Bayern Munich defender has shown just why coach Joachim Low called for him to step up and fill the breach when captain Michael Ballack was ruled out of the tournament.

Castrol Index figures especially highlight how accurate Lahm is with his distribution, achieving a success rate of 84.19 per cent from a total of 234 passes. Out of 164 passes over a medium range, no fewer than 146 were accurate, while over longer range - clearly a difficult skill to get right time after time - he managed to hit the target 30 times out of 44.

In what has been a difficult tournament for African nations in their own competition, Mbolhi deserves credit for heading the ratings in his position. Mbolhi faced 15 shots and only conceded one goal, which impressed Castrol Performance Analysts. Not far behind was Portugal keeper Eduardo, who faced ten shots but managed to keep a clean sheet in all three games. will be publishing the latest Castrol Index after every round of matches here at South Africa 2010, and in the meantime you can read more statisitical analysis and delve deeper into this unique ranking system by following the links on the right.