A titan, a treble and a hat-trick hero
A Brazilian ant going into eternal hibernation, a little Belgian ripping up records and a Gallic composer boasting more trophies than defeats feature in FIFA.com’slatest stats review, along with a resurgent Galician, a landmark-achieving Albanian and penalty-repelling Croatian.
years had passed since Juventus striker Pietro Anastasi became the last player to score successive hat-tricks in Serie A until Dries Mertens became the next – not bad for a man who was urged to score more goals by previous Napoli coach Rafa Benitez. The 29-year-old Belgium winger, playing as a makeshift forward in sky blue, followed up a treble in the 5-0 win at Cagliari with a quartet in the 5-3 victory over Torino on Sunday. Mertens duly became the first Napoli player to bag four times in a Serie A game since Giuseppe Savoldi against Foggia exactly 39 years earlier. Mertens has now managed more league goals in his last two appearances as he did in each of the previous two seasons.
years was the Brazil career span that Formiga ended in style on Sunday. The multifunctional midfielder made her international debut, as a 17-year-old, on the grandest platform of all in 1995: at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™. Formiga is one of only two women to play in all six instalments of that competition – Japan’s Homare Sawa is the other – and the oldest to score in it. Furthermore, she is the only player to participate in all six Olympic Women’s Football Tournaments. Before winning her 160th and final cap against Italy, Formiga cried through the Brazilian national anthem. Then she helped A Seleção beat Italy 5-3 to win their sixth straight Torneio Internacional title in an event that marked Emily Lima’s first appearance at their reins.
goal in his last 12 games is what Iago Aspas boasts. The 29-year-old forward went into 2016/17 having scored just 16 goals in his previous 65 league matches, and it took him six outings to break his duck for the season. The Celta Vigo No10 has, however, been on fire thereafter, hitting nine goals in as many appearances in La Liga – only Lionel Messi and Luis Saurez have more than his ten – and two in two in the UEFA Europa League. Iago also netted after coming on as sub for his Spain debut at Wembley, helping secure a dramatic 2-2 draw. The former Liverpool player's latest gave Celta a second-half lead at Athletic Bilbao, but they lost 2-1 and have now gone ten league games without a clean sheet.
trophies is what Zinedine Zidane has won within a year of assuming the Real Madrid reins – astonishingly compared to just two defeats. A thrilling 4-2 defeat of Kashima Antlers saw the 1998 FIFA World Cup™ headliner add the FIFA Club World Cup to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup titles he won earlier this year. Los Blancos were undone by Atletico Madrid and Wolfsburg early on in Zidane’s tenure, but have not lost since, with Sunday’s victory in Yokohama taking them on to 37 matches without defeat. It was the first time both teams had scored in the Club World Cup final in seven years, and its joint-highest-scoring decider in history, equalling AC Milan’s 4-2 sinking of Boca Juniors in 2007. Real also became just the second side to lift the trophy after trailing in its decider. Barcelona became the first seven years ago, with Pedro’s last-gasp goal taking their clash with Estudiantes into extra-time, where Lionel Messi grabbed the winner. The victory was indebted to Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the first man to bag a hat-trick in the fixture. It also saw Brazil finally lose the distinction of being the competition’s record winners, with Spain outranking them by moving on to five crowns.
defeats at home is what Borussia Dortmund have managed in a calendar year for only the third time. Hans Tilkowski, Wolfgang Paul, Siggi Held, Lothar Emmerich, Friedhelm Konietzka and Co helped BVB achieve the feat in 1965, while Jens Lehmann, Christoph Metzelder, Stefan Reuter, Tomas Rosicky, Lars Ricken, Jan Koller and Amoroso repeated it in 2002. Thomas Tuchel’s team fell 1-0 behind for the seventh game in succession on Tuesday, but an Ousmane Dembele goal gave them their fourth consecutive score draw. The result left Dortmund unbeaten at Signal Iduna Park in 29 Bundesliga outings, and having won 17 and drawn eight of their fixtures there in all competitions in 2016. Dortmund have, however, failed to win their last match of the year on the last five occasions.
Quick hits 90A-League goals is what Victory striker Besart Berisha moved on to by hitting the winner in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday, equalling Archie Thompson’s all-time record.
67 per cent of the last nine penalties he’s faced in Ligue 1 have been saved by Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic after his denial of Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette on Sunday.