- Some mind-blowing scoring stats
- A Messi-Ronaldo duopoly dissipates
- Crowds, population, and multinationality
thousand is the rough population that makes Iceland easily the smallest nation to reach a FIFA World Cup™. Trinidad and Tobago, which had a population of 1.3 million in 2006, had previously held this distinction.
thousand, four hundred and sixty-six spectators watched Chivas reverse a two-goal first-leg defeat to edge Pachuca in a thrilling maiden women’s LIGA MX final – the fifth-biggest attendance for a women’s club match in the world this century.
years: that is how Manchester United’s unwanted record for most consecutive losses (13) at the start of a campaign in one of Europe’s big five leagues had stood until Benevento broke it. The Campania minnows were on the cusp of a 15th straight defeat, but in the 95th minute against AC Milan, Alberto Brignoli became just the third goalkeeper in Serie A history to score in open play to snatch a 2-2 draw.
goals for club and country is what made Harry Kane the most prolific player in 2017. The 24-year-old England striker outscored Lionel Messi (54), Edinson Cavani (53), Robert Lewandowski (53) and Cristiano Ronaldo (53). It meant that, for the first time since David Villa hit 43 goals for Valencia and Spain in 2009, someone other than Messi or Ronaldo will finish a calendar year as its leading marksmen.
matches, 49 victories: that is the extraordinary record Gilberto Costa boasts in charge of Brazil’s beach soccer superstars. The 40-year-old, who assumed the reins in January 2016, guided A Seleção to their first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup trophy in eight years in May and has just completed back-to-back years with an unbeaten record.
hours and 49 minutes: that is the staggering length of time Bayern Munich had gone without trailing in a DFB-Pokal (German Cup) game until Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus scored against them in the 2016/17 semi-finals.
games and 13 years unbeaten in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations: that was the unprecedented run Egypt lost in February’s final. Cameroon became the first team to rally from behind and win a Cup of Nations final since an Emmanuel Amunike double earned Nigeria a 2-1 win over Zambia in 1994.
years had passed since England had even won a game at the FIFA U-20 World Cup until they won the entire tournament in June. Since Michael Owen sunk Mexico 1-0 in their final Group F outing at Malaysia 1997, the Young Lions had gone a tournament-record 17 matches without victory (Panama are next on 15) until they kicked off their 2017 campaign with a 3-0 reverse of Argentina.
UEFA Champions League goals in 13 games in 2017 is what Cristiano Ronaldo scored to break the record for a calendar year he had himself held for his 16 in 2015.
different nationalities: Granada became the first team in La Liga history to start a game with players from 11 different countries – and they did not even start with a Spaniard! English manager Tony Adams selected for his first game in charge one player apiece from Mexico, France, Iceland, Portugal, Uruguay, Nigeria, Ghana, Slovenia, Brazil, Ukraine, and Argentina.
goals in six internationals – all against FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists – is what Sam Kerr finished 2017 with. After netting just eight times in her first eight-plus years and 50-plus caps with Australia, the Sky Blue FC forward broke Sarah Walsh’s record to become the first player to score in six successive Matildas matches. Kerr also helped Australia equal their joint-record-best winning streak of seven (set in 2007) and reach their highest-ever position on the FIFA Women’s World Ranking (4th).
consecutive games is what Diego Valeri scored in – a Major League Soccer (MLS) record. The MVP-winning Argentinian finished 2017 with 21 goals – a record for a midfielder in an MLS campaign.
goals is what England and Spain served up in a thrilling climax to the FIFA U-17 World Cup to tie the record for the highest-scoring final in the history of a FIFA 11-a-side tournament. It equaled Brazil's 5-2 win over Sweden at the 1958 World Cup, Mexico's 4-3 triumph over Brazil at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1999, and USA's 5-2 victory over Japan at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
goals: that is the first-leg deficit Barcelona overcame to become the first team in European Cup/UEFA Champions League history to win a tie from such a position when they defeated Paris Saint-Germain. Heading into the 88th minute, Barcelona implausibly required three goals without reply, but Sergi Roberto’s first goal in 18 months, with the game’s fourth-last touch, completed one of football’s greatest-ever comebacks.
goals per game is what Robert Lewandowski scored for Poland in 2017. It helped him outrank Yugoslavia’s Predrag Mijatovic and set a new record for the most goals in a UEFA qualifying campaign for the World Cup (16), as well as surpass Wlodek Lubanski (48 goals) to become the Poles’ all-time leading marksman (51).