A close study of the statistical analysis of the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005 underlines the value to the two finalists of Juan Riquelme and Ronaldinho. The Argentina and Brazil playmakers dominate the tournament rankings in terms of passing and crossing.

Riquelme's distribution figures only emphasise what a key player he has become for the Albiceleste . His three goals, all from set-pieces, have proved a major factor in steering them to their first FIFA Confederations Cup final since the first edition in 1992, but just as important has been his role as the player through whom virtually all their attacks are routed.

Incredibly the Villarreal player has made a total of 332 passes in Argentina's four games so far, 68 more than the next player, Ronaldinho. Nobody found the target with his passes as much as Riquelme (283 – 72 more than the next best) and nobody hit as many short passes (254 – 51 more than the next) with only nine failing to find their target.

In terms of long passes completed, Riquelme comes out second with 42. This is clearly not so significant a part of Ronaldinho's game – 21 completed in his 340 minutes' playing time. The categories clearly identify the technical prowess of the Argentines with Gabriel Heinze and Javier Zanetti second and third respectively in the list of passes completed and Zanetti second in short passes completed. Nobody beats Heinze for long passes completed (52) while Zanetti is only behind Riquelme in the ranking for short passes completed (195).

Ronaldinho is better than his South American rival in respect of crosses completed (first equal with ten) while he is ranked second in the number of crosses played (28). Riquelme's comparative figures are six and 26. However Riquelme's desire to dictate things is shown again in corner-taking where nobody beats his total of 20. Ronaldinho is next best with 17.