2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Statistical stars from the group stage

Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina celebrates with team mate Lionel Messi after scoring his third goal and his side's fourth during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Argentina and South Korea
© Getty Images

Throughout the group phase of South Africa 2010, FIFA.com has provided an in-depth statistical analysis of the players and teams involved. Now, with the first phase having been completed, we highlight the sharpshooters, creators, battlers and workhorses outdoing the rest, while also revealing which players hold the tournament's less desirable titles.

Top scorersGonzalo Higuain took a back-seat during the first round of matches - as indeed did a whole host of notable goalscorers - but the Real Madrid striker certainly announced his talents in the second game with a hat-trick against Korea Republic. Although he was rested for the Group B finale, that treble was enough to give him a share of the lead in the race for the adidas Golden Boot. David Villa, who misfired in the first game, has since made amends with goals in Spain's other two games, while a surprise name rubbing shoulders with these striking superstars is Slovakia's Robert Vittek. Two of his haul so far came in that sensational 3-2 defeat of reigning world champions Italy.
The leaders: Villa, Higuain, Vittek (all 3)

Shots on targetLionel Messi might be waiting to score his first goal at South Africa 2010 but it's not for want of trying. With 11 shots on target the Argentina wizard is number one in the tournament for working the goalkeeper with the next best all three shots behind.
The leaders: Messi (11), Asamoah Gyan, Higuain, Valter Birsa (all 8)

AssistsKi Sung-Yueng's prowess from set-pieces proved vital to Korea Republic's success in advancing to the Round of 16. Two of his free-kicks led to goals in the group phase. While Côte d'Ivoire's campaign ended in disappointment, full-back Arthur Boka will recall his stay in South Africa with satisfaction as he laid on two goals in the 3-0 win over Korea DPR.
The leaders: Sung-Yueng, Boka, Kaka, Thomas Muller (all 2)

Completed passesGilberto Silva's value to the Brazil side is evident from the position he holds at the top of the table for successful passes - 211 from a total of 235 passes, or a 90 per cent success rate. Just one place - and one pass - behind is team-mate Maicon, while it is no surprise to see Xavi running them close in third.
The leaders: Gilberto Silva (211), Maicon (210), Xavi (205)

Solo runsSouth American flair speaks for itself in this category as well, with Lionel Messi and Maicon sharing top honours at South Africa 2010 for solo runs. It says something about Maicon's talent and courage in embarking on these forays from right-back that he is just ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The leaders: Messi, Maicon (both 18), Ronaldo (17) Lukas Podolski (16)

Completed crossesTwo players who departed the tournament after the group stage showed themselves to be without peer in the category of successful crosses: Australia's Luke Wilkshire and Cameroon's Geremi.
The leaders: Wilkshire, Geremi (8), Xavi, Jesus Navas, Simone Pepe, Andre Ayew, Landon Donovan (all 7)

Successful tacklesMadjid Bougherra proved an important figure at the heart of Algeria's defence, and even though his team only gained a single point from three games, their goals against column would have been a lot worse had not been for the presence of the Rangers centre-half.
The leaders: Bougherra, Stephane Grichting (both 5), Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Gary Medel, Jorge Fucile, Michael Bradley, Osman Chavez, Alvaro Pereira, Emilio Izaguirre, Fabio Cannavaro (all 4)

SavesRi Myong-Guk's place at the top of the save count might be an indicator of the kind of pressure Korea DPR came under in Group G but it also says a great deal about his qualities between the sticks.
The leaders: Myong-Guk (21) Vincent Enyeama (20), Thomas Sorensen, Alexandros Tzorvas (both 17)

Distance coveredIt is perhaps not surprising that a Korea DPR player should be on the podium when it comes to hard-working players given the effort they put in throughout their South Africa 2010 campaign. Midfielder An Yong-Hak did better than anyone else in this regard.
The leaders: Yong-Hak (36,220 metres), Sami Khedira (35,870), Gerardo Torrado (35,860)

Top speedMexico's Javier Hernandez has offered a glimpse of what Manchester United fans can expect next season, reaching a top speed of 32.15 km/h, putting him just ahead of Greek duo Avraam Papadopoulos and Konstantinos Katsouranis.
The leaders: Hernandez (32.15 km/h), Avraam Papadopoulos (31.57), Konstantinos Katsouranis (31.50)

Fouls sufferedKeisuke Honda has announced himself as one of the world's rising stars at this tournament and defenders have clearly taken notice, if his status as the most-fouled player in South Africa is anything to go by.
The leaders: Honda (17), Yuji Nakazawa (15), Alexis Sanchez (14)

Fouls committedNew Zealand have the dubious honour of having committed the most fouls during the group phase, with forwards Rory Fallon and Chris Killen holding two of the top three places along with France's Abou Diaby.
The leaders: Fallon (15), Killen, Diaby (both 13)

Crime countHarry Kewell will not recall South Africa 2010 with any fondness have spent just 24 minutes on the field for Australia and picked a red card during that time for handball. No less than 22 players incurred two yellow cards in separate matches.
The leaders: Kewell, Itumeleng Khune, Sani Kaita, Valon Behrami, Yoann Gourcuff, Tim Cahill (1 red card)

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