The excitement was palpable as the football world convened in Russia for a month of action-packed football. This World Cup witnessed the emergence of unlikely favorites like Russia and Croatia who performed beyond everyone’s expectations.
The stats from this WC were impressive as well. A total of 169 goals were scored in the tournament, an average of 2.7 goals per match. The referees gave out a total of 219 yellow cards and four red cards.
The highest goal scorer was England’s Harry Kane who scored six goals. Croatia’s midfield general Ivan Perišić covered the most distance in the tournament, a total of 72 km.
Below is a compilation of interesting facts and figures of the top 16 teams in the tournament.
The opening match of the tournament was the game between the host, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. The game ended 5-0 in favor of the Russians. The result made them the second host nation to score that many goals in an opening match after Italy defeated the USA by 7-1 in 1934. Russia went all the way to reach the quarter-finals, the first since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The final match of the FIFA World Cup paired eventual winners France, who won all their group stage games, against Croatia, popularly perceived underdogs who made it to the finals for the first time in its history.
Croatia handed England its 100th competitive defeat to make it to the finals, while France ended Belgium’s 23-unbeaten-streak with a 1-0 win to set up a clash with Croatia.
This World Cup tournament had a couple of shocks for football enthusiasts with the elimination of the former World Cup winners and football giants, Germany, who did not make it to the round of 16.
Spain also had a disappointing outing capped by the eventual defeat by Russia. Before this loss, Spain had gone undefeated for 23 games; winning 15, and drawing the rest.
Five-time World Cup winners Brazil was also knocked out in the quarter-final with a 2-1 defeat to Belgium, who later lost its next match to France.
Also, two of the greatest footballers of this generation, Lionel Messi of Argentina and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, were both knocked out of the tournament on the same day after they failed to help their country qualify for the quarter-finals.
Their defeat pretty much ended the hopes of fans of both legends that either one of them would ever lift the World Cup trophy.
As for the goals, football fans were treated to some of the most impressive goals ever, with records broken in the process. Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Spain made him the oldest hat-trick scorer (33 years, 130 days) in the history of the Cup.
Kylian Mbappé became the second youngest player to score in a final, and to score a total of three goals throughout the entire tournament. He is only behind Brazilian legend Pelé, who scored six goals in 1958.
For more interesting facts and stats, check out the Betting Sites’ infographic that follows.