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Nic Ladds 6th Jun 2010 - 16:05

World Cup Opta Facts: Opening group games

Statistics and facts to help your football betting are available every week at William Hill courtesy of Opta Sportsdata, Europe's leading provider of sports performance statistics.

Group A

South Africa v Mexico - Opening match

  • Eight of the last 11 opening matches at World Cups have produced one goal or less.
  • South Africa have conceded nine goals in their three international encounters against Mexico.
  • Mexico have failed to win their two World Cup encounters against African sides, losing 1-3 to Tunisia in 1978 and drawing 0-0 with Angola in 2006.
  • Mexico have won their opening matches at the last three World Cups.
  • South Africa are only the third African side to play in an opening game at the World Cup, the previous two both won 1-0: Cameroon vs Argentina (1990) and Senegal vs France (2002).
  • Mexico have twice before appeared in the opening match of a World Cup, failing to score in both.


Uruguay v France

  • France have won just one of their five matches against Uruguay, losing twice and drawing twice.
  • France have kept a clean sheet in their last four World Cup matches against South American sides (three wins and one draw).
  • Uruguay have won none of their last 12 World Cup clashes with European sides, scoring just five goals in this period.
  • France have only conceded one goal in their last four opening games at World Cups.
  • Uruguay have won just one of their last 16 World Cup matches.
  • Diego Forlan was top scorer for Uruguay during qualifying, bagging seven goals in 13 appearances.

Group B

South Korea v Greece

  • South Korea are unbeaten against Greece: one win and one draw.
  • In their one World Cup Finals appearance to date, in USA 1994, Greece lost all three group games without scoring a goal and conceding 10.
  • Excluding Euro 2004, Greece have lost 10 of their 12 games at international tournaments (no wins), scoring only two goals and conceding 23.
  • All but one of South Korea's last 10 goals at World Cup finals have come in the second half or later.
  • Greek striker Theofanis Gekas was the top scorer in the European section of the 2010 qualifiers, netting 10 goals.
  • South Korea have won just one of their 17 World Cup games played abroad.


Argentina v Nigeria

  • Argentina are unbeaten in their three games against Nigeria (two wins and one draw).
  • The Albiceleste have won their last three World Cup meetings with sides from Africa.
  • Argentina have lost only one of their nine opening round group stage matches at the last three World Cups.
  • Argentina have won their last four opening matches at World Cups, conceding only one goal.
  • Nigeria's 0-0 draw with England in 2002 is their only point from their last five matches at the World Cup.
  • Lionel Messi averaged just one goal every 4.5 games for Argentina during qualifying, compared to one goal every 1.03 games for Barcelona this season in La Liga.

Group C

England v USA

  • England have won seven of their nine meetings with USA.
  • However their only competitive meeting ended in a 1-0 win for the Americans at the 1950 World Cup.
  • England have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last nine World Cup matches, conceding twice in the other two.
  • The Three Lions have lost only one of their last 14 World Cup group stage matches, keeping 10 clean sheets.
  • The Americans have lost five of their last seven opening games at World Cup tournaments, conceding an average of 3.3 goals in these games.
  • Wayne Rooney scored nine goals in nine appearances for England during qualifying.

Algeria v Slovenia

  • This will be the first-ever meeting between Algeria and Slovenia.
  • Algeria are unbeaten in their two opening matches at World Cups, beating West Germany 2-1 in 1982 and drawing 1-1 with Northern Ireland in 1986.
  • The African side has never kept a clean sheet in six World Cup matches.
  • The Slovenians have never won a match at an international tournament (played six, lost four, drawn two).
  • Milivoje Novakovic was involved in 10 of Slovenia's 19 goals in their qualifying group games (five goals, five assists).

Group D

Serbia v Ghana

  • Serbia lost all three group games in their only previous World Cup appearance in 2006, conceding 10 goals.
  • Ghana's only previous World Cup appearance came in the same tournament where they won two of three group games before losing 3-0 to Brazil in the second round.
  • Matthew Amoah was Ghana's top scorer in qualifying, bagging five goals in seven appearances.
  • Serbia scored seven goals from corners during qualifying, at least two more than any other side in UEFA.
  • All three of Ghana's wins at the Africa Cup of Nations this year were by a score of 1-0, as was their final defeat.
  • Milan Jovanovic scored five goals in eight appearances for Serbia during qualifying.

Germany v Australia

  • Since reunification, Germany have won their only meeting with Australia, 4-3 in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.
  • At the 1974 World Cup, Australia lost their opening two group stage matches: 2-0 to East Germany and 3-0 to West Germany.
  • Only once in their 17 World Cup games against sides from outside Europe or South America, have either Germany or West Germany lost (2-1 vs Algeria in 1982), winning 14.
  • Since reunification, Germany have lost none of their 12 group stage matches, winning nine.
  • In this period they have won all four of their opening matches.
  • Australia have won only one of their seven matches at World Cup finals, failing to score in five.
  • Four of the Socceroos' five goals at the 2006 World Cup came in the 79th minute or later.
  • Both Brett Emerton and Tim Cahill scored four goals in six appearances for Australia during qualification.

Group E

Netherlands v Denmark

  • Five of the last six meetings between the Netherlands and Denmark have ended in a draw.
  • Denmark have won none of their last seven meetings with the Oranje in normal time.
  • Denmark have won each of their three previous opening matches at FIFA World Cups.
  • Only once have the Danes failed to score in a World Cup match (out of 13 games).
  • Netherlands have lost only one of their last 12 group stage matches at World Cup finals.
  • In the 2006 World Cup, the Oranje's four matches produced only five goals in total.

Japan v Cameroon

  • Japan are unbeaten in three meetings with Cameroon, winning twice.
  • Cameroon have never scored against Japan.
  • The Samurai Blue have never won a World Cup game outside of Japan, losing five of their six games on foreign soil.
  • In these six games they have scored just three goals in total.
  • Cameroon have won only one of their last 10 matches at World Cup finals.
  • Samuel Eto'o was the second-top scorer in African World Cup qualifiers with nine goals in 11 appearances.
  • Cameroon have never lost their opening match in a World Cup finals tournament, winning one and drawing four.

Group F

Italy v Paraguay

  • Italy have won both previous meetings with Paraguay.
  • The Azzurri conceded only two goals in seven games at the 2006 World Cup.
  • Only twice in 30 World Cup games since (and including) 1990 have the Italians scored more than two goals in one match.
  • Italy are unbeaten in their last nine World Cup matches against South American sides.
  • Since 1962, Italy have lost only one of their 12 opening games at World Cup finals.
  • La Albirroja have won only one of their seven opening games at World Cup tournaments.
  • Despite appearing in only six matches, Alberto Gilardino was Italy's top scorer during qualification with four goals (in addition to one assist).

New Zealand v Slovakia

  • This will be the first meeting between the two sides.
  • The All Whites' only previous World Cup appearance saw them lose all three games in 1982 by at least three goals.
  • They conceded a total of 12 goals in this tournament.
  • New Zealand played three games in South Africa in the 2009 Confederations Cup, failing to score in each of these.
  • In competitions outside Oceania, New Zealand's record stands at 11 defeats and one draw, with four goals scored and 36 conceded.
  • Shane Smeltz hit eight goals in seven appearances for the Kiwis on the road to South Africa.

Group G

Ivory Coast v Portugal

  • The Ivory Coast's only previous World Cup appearance, in 2006, saw them lose two and win one.
  • They conceded exactly two goals in each match in this tournament.
  • Portugal have never drawn a group game at the World Cup, winning eight and losing four.
  • During qualification for South Africa, Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score or assist a single goal for Portugal in seven appearances.
  • Simao scored four goals in six starts for the Portuguese in their qualifying group.
  • Didier Drogba hit six goals in five appearances for the Elephants during qualifying.
  • With two goals in the 2006 finals, Aruna Dindane is the Elephants' top World Cup goalscorer. He also provided one assist in that tournament.


Brazil v North Korea

  • In the 1966 World Cup, North Korea made it past the group stages with one win, one draw and one defeat before losing 5-3 to Portugal.
  • The 1-0 defeat against France in the 2006 quarter-final ended a run of 11 straight wins for Brazil in the World Cup, the longest sequence of consecutive wins at the tournament.
  • The Brazilians have kept seven clean sheets in their last 11 World Cup games.
  • Brazil have never been defeated at a World Cup finals by a side outside Europe or South America.
  • Moreover, the South American giants have won all 15 World Cup meetings with sides not from these two continents, keeping 13 clean sheets.
  • Luis Fabiano bagged nine goals in nine starts for Brazil during qualification.
  • Brazil have met an Asian side in the first round of the last two World Cups, beating China 4-0 in 2002 and Japan 4-1 in 2006.

Group H

Honduras v Chile

  • The sides have met in five friendlies to date, with Chile winning three.
  • Honduras have scored in all five matches against Chile.
  • This is Los Catrachos' second World Cup. In 1982 they drew their first two matches 1-1 before losing the third 1-0.
  • In 1998, their last appearance at a World Cup finals tournament, Chile made it to the second round by virtue of three group stage draws.
  • La Roja are without a win in 13 World Cup finals games since their victory to claim third place against Yugoslavia  in 1962.
  • Carlos Pavon was the joint-second-top scorer in CONCACAF World Cup qualification with seven goals.
  • Humberto Suazo bagged 10 goals in Chile's World Cup Qualification campaign, more than any other player from the CONMEBOL area.

Spain v Switzerland

  • Spain have met Switzerland 18 times and have never lost, winning 15 times and drawing three.
  • La Furia Roja have won all three group stage matches at both of the last two World Cups.
  • Despite this, only once (in 1950) have the Spaniards made it to the last four of the competition.
  • Spain have averaged 3.3 goals per game in their last seven group stage World Cup matches.
  • In 2006, Switzerland became the first side to exit a World Cup finals tournament without conceding a single goal.
  • Switzerland have failed to score in five of their last seven World Cup finals games against European sides.
  • David Villa hit seven goals in his seven appearances for Spain during qualifying. By comparison Fernando Torres failed to score in his seven appearances.



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