Week in Stats

European veterans and Seleção success

Gabriel Jesus of Brazil celebrates with teammates
© Getty Images

Some boys in blue protecting a stupefying streak in their fortress and some others in white failing to follow suit feature in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, along with some entertainers in canary-yellow emulating ‘The Beautiful Team’ and an Iberian defying his age.

91

years: that is how long Italy have gone without defeat in Milan after they drew 0-0 with Germany on Tuesday. Since a 2-1 loss to Hungary in 1925, La Nazionale have gone 43 games unbeaten there. An appearance against the world champions at the San Siro saw Gianluigi Buffon win his 167th cap, equalling the European record held by Spain’s Iker Casillas. Three days earlier, away to Liechtenstein, an Andrea Belotti brace helped Italy score four goals in the first half on a game for the first time since a thrashing of Malta almost 30 years earlier. Salvatore Bagni, Giuseppe Bergomi, Alessandro Altobelli (twice) and Gianluca Vialli had them 5-0 up at the interval on that occasion. Saturday’s victory in Vaduz extended the Italians’ undefeated run in qualifiers for the World Cup and UEFA EURO to 54 games.

53

years: that is how long Luxembourg had gone without scoring against the Netherlands until Maxime Chanot ended the drought on Sunday. However, Arjen Robben’s fifth goal in his last five internationals and Memphis Depay’s double – he dispatched the first direct free-kick for the Oranje in three years – earned Danny Blind’s side a 3-1 win. Jeffrey Bruma finished it having ensured he played every minute of every match for the Dutch in 2016.

35

years and 275 days was the age at which Aritz Aduriz broke an 86-year-old record to become Spain’s oldest all-time marksman. Jose Maria Pena, who the Athletic Bilbao striker wrestled the distinction off by netting against FYR Macedonia, had been 50 days younger when he scored the only goal in a 1930 friendly against Portugal. A few days later Spain produced a late comeback to draw with England and score twice at Wembley for the first time since 1981.

32

World Cup qualifiers unbeaten at home – including 30 victories – was the run that USA had ended by their bitterest rivals on Friday. Mexico became the first team to win a preliminary in the US since Milton Nunez propelled Honduras to a 3-2 triumph in Washington D.C. in 2001. It was El Tri’s first win away to the Stars and Stripes in World Cup qualifying in 44 years, with the Americans having won each of the previous four, all in Columbus, 2-0. A few days later Costa Rica made it nine straight home wins over USA, who lost back-to-back World Cup qualifiers for the first time in 15 years.

6

consecutive World Cup qualifying victories is what Brazil have made it for the first time in 47 years. The last time came when ten goals in six outings from Tostao helped Brazil win all six of their Mexico 1970 preliminaries – two apiece against Colombia, Venezuela and Paraguay. Back then, however, the standard of South America sides outside the big three – Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay – was nowhere near as high as it is today, making Tite’s team’s achievement all the more impressive. Since the 55-year-old assumed the reins in June, A Seleção have beaten Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina and Peru, scoring 17 and conceding just one.

Quick hits
53
years since Republic of Ireland last beat Austria, an unanswered James McClean goal in Vienna helped them repeat the feat.

13 victories in 2016 is what France made it by overcoming Sweden, tying their record for wins in a calendar year set in 2003.

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