21 Fascinating Football Stats Ahead Of The 21st World Cup

Think you know all there is to know about the World Cup? Think again...

Argentina star Lionel Messi.Image Getty

With the 21st World Cup over in Russia looming, it’s time to travel back in time to pick out some of the juiciest stats to emerge from the last 20 editions of the tournament.

Together with the good folk over at Genting Bet, we’ve crunched the numbers to bring you some of the most fascinating factoids to emerge from the FIFA competition.

Facts like the quickest ever sending off, the identity of the only player to score for two different nations and the team that’s travelled the furthest distance to get to the finals.

It’s all here, with a lot more besides. Let’s begin…


1: Switzerland were the first team to be knocked out without conceding a single goal in the tournament (Germany 2006)

The Russia World Cup


2: Robert Prosinecki is the only player to have scored for two teams (Yugoslavia and Croatia) at a World Cup (Italia 90 and France 98)


3: Most penalty shoot-outs lost by a single team (England in 90, 98 and ’06 and Italy in 90, 94 and 98)


4: Most tournaments as captain – Mexico’s Rafael Márquez (2002-2014)


5: Lothar Matthaus (Germany) is the only outfield player to feature at five WCs (1982-1998)


6: Most amount of own goals in a single tournament (France 98)


8: Fastest hat-trick was scored in just 8 minutes by Hungarian László Kiss. He did not start the match… (Spain 1982)


11: Seconds it took for Hakan Şükür to score for Turkey against South Korea (South Korea 2002)


13: Frenchman Just Fontaine scored 13 goals in his one-and-only World Cup tournament (Sweden 1958)


14: Number of yellow cards issued by Howard Webb in 2010 Final – most ever in a final (South Africa 2010)


16: Record for most goals scored (in total) at the Finals is held by Germany’s Miroslav Klose (2002-2014)

The Russia World Cup ball.


28: Number of red cards shown during one tournament (Germany 2006)


43: At 43 years and 3 days, Colombia’s Faryd Mondragón is the oldest player to have represented his country (Brazil 2014)


44: Longest gap between successive titles (Italy victorious at France 1938 and Spain 1982)


53: Age of the oldest referee to have officiated at the Finals (England’s George Reader at Brazil 1950)


56: Seconds it took for Uruguay’s José Batista to be shown red against Scotland (Mexico 1986)

The World Cup trophy


71: Oldest coach to manage a team at the Finals was German Otto Rehhagel with Greece (South Africa 2010)


171: Record number of goals scored in a single tournament (France 98 and Brazil 2014)


345: Most amount of cautions in a single tournament, at over five a game on average (Germany 2006)


517: Italy’s Walter Zenga went nearly 9 hours without conceding a goal (Italia 90)


155,000: Number of miles travelled by Australia in the qualifying campaign (Russia 2018)

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