2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Century reached as Europeans slump

Benjamin Huggel of Switzerland (L) consoles dejected Tranquillo Barnetta
© Getty Images

At the conclusion of the group stage, FIFA.com's latest statistical review focuses on a 2010 landmark, a defensive calamity, a historical anomaly and an unusually poor showing from Europe's representatives.


goals was the milestone reached at South Africa 2010 when Andres Iniesta slotted home Spain's second against Chile. Of the tournament's first century, Argentina (7) and Portugal (7) accounted for most goals, with players from Atletico Madrid (5) the most prolific. Sixty-two per cent of the goals came from right-foot shots, 20 from left-foot efforts, while headers account for 16 per cent and other body parts two. There have been a couple of own goals, seven successfully converted penalties and four goals from direct free-kicks. Late goals have also been commonplace, with more (5) coming in the 90th minute than any other.


years after they turned out in a blue and white kit for the first and, until today, only time at the FIFA World Cup™, Spain returned to those colours in Tshwane/Pretoria this evening. And similarities did not begin and end with the kit. As with that previous occasion in 1950, Chile were the opposition – and Spain the victors. Tonight's win also saw David Villa become the European champions' all-time leading scorer at the FIFA World Cup, with his sixth goal at the global showpiece taking him clear of Emilio Butragueno, Fernando Morientes, Fernando Hierro and Raul. Remarkably, when Villa struck, it was the first time in 15 matches at South Africa 2010 that a South American team had found themselves trailing.


goals conceded in three group matches have left Korea DPR with the joint-worst defensive record at this stage in 28 years. Not since El Salvador's goal was breached 13 times at Spain 1982 has there been a worse defensive performance in the group phase, although Saudi Arabia also conceded 12 during their ill-fated 2002 campaign. The all-time record, meanwhile, belongs to Korea DPR's southern neighbours, who conceded 16 in just two matches in 1954.


European nations have qualified for the last 16 at South Africa 2010, all all-time low for the old continent. While the disappointing showing of the African nations has dominated attention, Switzerland's failure to join Spain in advancing from Group H has left Europe to reflect on its worst-ever showing since the introduction of a Round of 16 in 1986. Furthermore, with all six UEFA representatives paired against each other in the last 16, we are guaranteed a record low of three European nations in the quarter-finals.


goals from either side was just about the only outcome no-one expected from today's match between Brazil and Portugal. With two recent friendly meetings having yielded ten goals, and Brazil having found the target in every one of their group matches at the last seven FIFA World Cups, it appeared certain the net would bulge. As it was, Brazil were shut out in a group fixture for the first time since a 0-0 draw with Spain at Argentina 1978, while Portugal played out only their third-ever goalless draw at the FIFA World Cup. Then again, perhaps we should not have been so surprised. After all, A Selecção das Quinas have now kept 20 clean sheets in 24 matches since Carlos Queiroz took charge, and end the group stage as one of just two teams – the other being Uruguay – yet to concede a goal.

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