Brazil’s home invincibility, French prolificacy, a German legend losing a landmark and a Spaniard's penalty pain feature in FIFA.com’s statistical recap of the latest batch of international friendlies, along with Italy moving on to the cusp of an unwanted all-time low.
years: that is how long Gerd Muller reigned as Germany’s all-time leading marksmen until Miroslav Klose usurped him on Friday. Der Bomber removed his former striker partner Uwe Seeler from the throne in 1972 and in his last international, two years later, struck the winner against the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup™ Final for his 68th goal for West Germany. Klose tied that record in September 2013 and took the outright lead by heading home a goal in the 6-1 victory over Armenia on Friday. Muller does nevertheless crush Klose in the goals-per-game stakes, having achieved an average of 1.10 (68 in 62) compared to 0.52 (69 in 132). Klose requires one goal to tie Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s FIFA World Cup record of 15.
successive victories means Brazil have the longest winning streak of the 32 teams competing at the 20th FIFA World Cup. Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Seleção beat Panama 4-0 and Serbia 1-0 last week, leaving them having conceded just once in their last 702 minutes of football. Furthermore, the five-time global kings are unbeaten in 36 matches on home soil, since Paraguay upset Korea/Japan 2002 winners Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Co in Fortaleza, in what was Scolari’s farewell game in his first stint at the reins.
unanswered goals is what France scored against Jamaica to equal their second-biggest victory of all time. Les Bleus best-ever win remains the 10-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan in 1995, while Sunday’s result was their fourth 8-0 success. Karim Benzema scored twice against the Jamaicans to make it six goals in as many internationals, while Antoine Griezmann rose from the bench and bagged a brace to leave him having scored three goals in his last 45 minutes on the pitch – one every 15 minutes. Didier Deschamps’ team have now won six and drawn one of their last seven games in France, conceding just one goal in the process.
matches without a win is the run which has left Italy just one short of their all-time low. Claudio Marchisio scored Gli Azzurri’s first goal of 2014 to put them ahead against Luxembourg, whom they had beaten on all eight previous encounters, last week in Perugia. However, defender Maxime Chanot’s late header – only his tiny nation’s second goal against the four-time World Cup winners – snatched Luxembourg a 1-1 draw against a side 110 places to their north on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Italy, who did beat Fluminense 5-3 in an unofficial friendly on Sunday, will now enter a fifth successive World Cup having failed to win their last match before it – Roberto Baggio set up Giuseppe Signori for the only goal against Costa Rica in their final warm-up game before USA 1994. If La Nazionale fail to beat England in Manuas on Saturday, they will equal the eight games they went without victory in the late-1950s – a personal worst in which Lorenzo Buffon, Alcides Ghiggia and Giampietro Boniperti participated.
successive penalties in normal play have now been missed by Cesc Fabregas at international level. The 27-year-old midfielder, who converted the winning spot-kick in shootouts at UEFA EURO 2008 and EURO 2012, saw an attempt saved by Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in a 2011 friendly, though he did dispatch the rebound to snatch Spain a 3-2 victory. Fabregas then watched Hugo Lloris repel his penalty in a 1-1 draw with France in Brazil 2014 qualifying, before he blazed another over the bar in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of El Salvador. Spain, who scored 13 times in two matches in June 2013, have now failed to score more than twice in each their 12 games thereafter.