A kid making national history in Kingstown and a veteran making global history in Guatemala City highlight *FIFA.com’s *latest statistical review, as well two on-song European superstars and the fall of defensive impregnability.
FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers without defeat is the stupendous sequence Spain are on following an 8-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein. *La Roja *last lost 1-0 in Denmark in March 1993, and have since won 42 and drawn 12 matches. Monday’s result left Spain having scored 31 times and conceded zero in seven meetings with Liechtenstein – all victories. David Silva’s doubles in that game and its preceding warm-up – a 2-0 win in Belgium – took him above Emilio Butragueno and Fernando Morientes into fifth on Spain’s list of leading marksmen. The 28-goal playmaker now trails only David Villa (59), Raul (44), Fernando Torres (38) and Fernando Hierro (29).
years and 349 days old was the age at which Christian Pulisic became the youngest USA player to score in World Cup qualifying on Friday. The Hershey, Pennsylvania native rose from the bench in the 67th minute and took just four minutes to put the Stars and Stripes 4-0 up away to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Borussia Dortmund forward then helped Jurgen Klinsmann’s side thump Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 on Tuesday – a match in which Tim Howard outranked Kasey Keller as the top-appearing American in World Cup qualifiers.
hours and 44 minutes without conceding in World Cup qualifying was the run that came to an end for Korea Republic on Thursday. Since Reza Ghoochannejhad’s unanswered goal earned Iran victory in Ulsan in 2013, the Taeguk Warriors kept eight consecutive clean sheets and, 3-0 up at home to China PR with little over 15 minutes remaining, appeared cruising towards a ninth. Yu Hai’s 74th-minute effort reduced the deficit, however, before Hao Junmin left the South Koreans hanging on. That they nevertheless did to win a ninth successive World Cup qualifier. That national-record run came to an end as Korea Republic and Syria finished goalless on Tuesday.
hours and 40 minutes: that is how long Luxembourg had gone without scoring against Bulgaria until Aurelien Joachim’s equaliser on the hour on Tuesday. Another leveller, this time from Florian Bohnert in stoppage time, meant Luxembourg netted three goals in a World Cup qualifier for only the fourth time since their first preliminary in 1934, and appeared to have earned them an historic draw in Sofia. However, Aleksandar Tonev’s even later goal snatched a success that maintained Bulgaria’s 100 per cent record in 13 instalments of the fixture.
goals in what could be his last two Guatemala games is what Carlos Ruiz sensationally hit to become the leading marksman in World Cup qualifying history. The 36-year-old bagged both his nation’s goals in a 2-2 draw away to Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, before posting five in the 9-3 rout of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday. It left Ruiz on 39 goals in 47 World Cup preliminaries, three more than previous record-holder – Iran’s Ali Daei. If, as he all but confirmed before the latter match, Ruiz does retire from Guatemala duty, he will do so as the joint-15th all-time highest scorer in international football with 68 goals in 133 appearances.
139 matches is what Joachim Low reached against Norway to go joint-second on Germany’s list of record coaches, alongside Helmut Schon and shy of Sepp Herberger (169).
*33 *years is how long Brazil had gone without winning away to Ecuador until a 3-0 victory on Thursday.* A Seleção had last beaten *La Tricolor in their own backyard thanks to an unanswered Roberto Dinamite goal at the 1983 Copa America.
*10 *goals in his last 13 starts for Wales have rocketed Gareth Bale to second on Wales’ list of top scorers, four behind 28-goal Ian Rush.