International action dominates FIFA.com'slatest stats review, with an Australian landmark featuring alongside a Scottish hat-trick, a Norwegian youngster, a resurgent Brazil and two delirious debutants.
goals was the landmark reached by Australia in their 2-2 friendly draw with Germany last Wednesday. Captain Mile Jedinak was the man responsible for the landmark strike, curling home a superb free-kick in Kaiserslautern to edge the Socceroos 2-1 ahead. It came 93 years after Australia's first recognised international goal, scored by Bill Maunder in Dunedin during a 1922 tour of New Zealand, with the 999 since having been spread across 508 matches, 60 countries and 120 cities. But though Jedinak's strike looked like handing the Asian champions a famous victory, Germany - playing their 900th international match - fought back to restore parity. Nonetheless, Joachim Low's side have won just half of their eight matches since becoming world champions and will be concerned by a record of nine goals conceded in their last five friendly matches.
seconds was all the time Harry Kane needed to mark his international debut with a goal on Friday. The Tottenham Hotspur striker scored with his first touch as a senior England player, this after coming off the bench to replace Wayne Rooney in a 4-0 UEFA EURO qualifying win over Lithuania. Rooney himself had earlier been on target, leaving the Three Lions captain just one short of Gary Lineker's final tally of 48 and two away from Bobby Charlton's national record of 49. The victory left England unbeaten in 24 UEFA European Championships and FIFA World Cup™ qualifying matches. Roy Hodgson's side have also kicked off their current preliminary campaign with five wins from five - a first for England in EURO qualifying - and are one of only two teams, the other being Slovakia, still protecting an unblemished record. Kane was not the only debutant who made a dream start though. Italy's Eder also marked his first international appearance by scoring with his very first shot, salvaging a 2-2 draw and denying Bulgaria their first win against Gli Azzurri in 47 years.
years and 101 days was the age at which Martin Odegaard on Saturday became the youngest European ever to start a competitive international match. The Real Madrid youngster took the record from Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle, who was 164 days older when he debuted for his country in a European Championship qualifier in 1998. However, it proved an occasion to forget for Odegaard and Norway, who ended up on the receiving end of a 5-1 defeat to Croatia. It was the first time in nine years that the Norwegians had conceded five in a single game, and their first such defeat in a competitive game since Denmark racked up an identical scoreline three decades ago. The Croatian goalscorers included 35-year-old Ivica Olic, who maintained his record of having scored in each of the last four EURO qualifying cycles. In the tournament's history, only two men - Robbie Keane and Jari Litmanen, both of whom have managed it in five - boast a better record. Litmanen also holds the record as the oldest goalscorer in EURO qualifying, having found the target for Finland at the grand old age of 39 years and 270 days. Eidur Gudjonsen, 36, did climb to fourth in that particular list on Saturday though, with his goal in Iceland's 3-0 win over Kazakhstan leaving him behind only Litmanen, John Aldridge and Krasimir Balakov.
wins from eight with just two goals conceded are the near-flawless statistics with which Dunga has begun his second stint as Brazil coach. A Seleção, whose defence was breached no fewer than ten times in their final two World Cup matches, have looked mightily impressive under the new regime, seeing off the likes of Argentina, Colombia and, over the past week, France and Chile. The aggregate score from the matches since Dunga's return has been 18-2, with the team’s star man again living up to his billing. Neymar, in fact, has been responsible for eight of those 18 goals. The result is that, throughout world football, Brazil’s current unbeaten streak trails only those of Costa Rica (13) and England (9).
years without an international goal was the run that came a long-awaited end for Scotland's Steven Fletcher on Sunday. Then, having ended his drought, the Sunderland striker went on to make history, becoming the first Scottish player to score a hat-trick in 46 years. Fletcher's treble in the 6-1 win over Gibraltar at Hampden was the first that the Tartan Army have had to cheer since Colin Stein put four past Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier in 1969. Elsewhere, there was joy for Scotland's fellow Brits, Wales, who stretched their unbeaten run in competitive internationals to seven matches with an impressive 3-0 win in Israel. Gareth Bale was the main architect behind the result, which ranked as the second-worst home defeat in their hosts' history - second only to a 5-0 drubbing by Denmark in 1999. The Real Madrid star scored twice and in doing so became Wales' all-time top scorer in EURO qualifying with eight goals, moving clear of his nearest challengers Ian Rush (7) and Craig Bellamy (6).