The emulation of a World Cup epic
A staggering stat from the play-offs
The 100 per cent Dane
78 years after Peru last went ten games unbeaten, they repeated the feat – and this time La Blanquirroja’s prize was not a first Copa America crown but a return to the FIFA World Cup™. At Russia 2018, Peru will be the country reappearing at the competition after the longest absence (36 years), followed by Egypt (28 years) and Morocco (20 years).
77 appearances in UEFA women’s club competition is what Camille Abily reached to tie former Arsenal goalkeeper Emma Byrne’s record. The Lyon forward marked the occasion with a hat-trick against BIIK-Kazygurt to set a new best for the most goals for one club in the UEFA Women’s Cup/Champions League (42), outranking her former team-mate Lotta Schelin.
58 years since they surrendered a two-goal lead to lose for the first time, the fate befell Argentina for the second – Chile in 1959 and Nigeria on Tuesday both rallied to win 4-2. Two goals in as many games from Sergio Aguero did nonetheless see him outrank Diego Maradona (34) and Hernan Crespo (35) and go third on Argentina’s list of leading marksmen, behind Gabriel Batistuta (54) and Lionel Messi (61).
39 years have surprisingly passed since Poland defeated Mexico. After a Zibi Boniek-inspired 3-1 win at Argentina 1978, the Poles have, following a 1-0 loss at home to the Mexicans this week, failed to win in six instalments of the fixture.
35 years had passed since France and Germany served up more than three goals in a game until a 2-2 draw in Cologne. Tuesday’s clash was the teams’ 14th since an enthralling 3-3 draw at Spain 1982. Lars Stindl’s last-gasp equaliser ensured Germany will finish a calendar year unbeaten for the first time since 1997.
29 years after USA last started two teenagers – Tony Meola and Ted Gillen against Ecuador in 1988 – they did the same. Tyler Adams, 18, and 19-year-old Weston McKennie began the 1-1 draw away to Portugal, with the latter becoming the third-youngest player to score on his US debut after Juan Agudelo and Landon Donovan.
15 goals in his last 15 Denmark appearances is what Christian Eriksen has remarkably scored – after netting just six in his first 60 internationals.
14 consecutive World Cups is what Italy had appeared in until they failed to reach a tournament for the first time since Sweden 1958. The list of its longest-serving ever-presents is headed by Brazil (21 editions including Russia 2018), Germany (17), Argentina (12), Spain (11), Korea Republic (9), Mexico (7), England, France and Japan (6).
9 straight defeats – during which they had conceded 23 and scored just two – was the drought Kosovo ended in some style. Latvia led them thrice in Mitrovica, but Besar Halimi’s 94th-minute strike snatched Kosovo a 4-3 victory.
0 goals is, astonishingly, what six successive World Cup play-off matches produced: Honduras-Australia, New Zealand-Peru, Denmark-Republic of Ireland, Switzerland-Northern Ireland, Greece-Croatia and Italy-Sweden. The other six games produced a whopping 19 goals.