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Eden Jon 9th Jun 2014 - 8:47

World Cup Opta Facts - All Opening Group Matches

 

World Cup

Opening games Groups A-H

Group A

Brazil v Croatia

  • The host nation has never lost their opening World Cup game, with the 20 previous hosts winning 14 and drawing six of their openers.
  • Brazil's one previous tournament as hosts saw them defeat fellow 2014 Group A members Mexico 4-0 in their opening game (1950).
  • Eight of the last 12 opening matches at World Cups have produced one goal or less.
  • Brazil are taking part in their 20th World Cup. They are the only team to have taken part in every single tournament.
  • A Selecao have won the most games (67) and scored the most goals (210) at the World Cup.
  • Brazil have won eight of their last nine World Cup games in the group stages (1 draw). Their last defeat dates back to 23 June 1998 against Norway (1-2).
  • Croatia have only conceded 11 goals in 13 World Cup games (0.85/game). It's the best ratio among the 32 teams taking part in 2014.
    Croatia's last nine World Cup games have produced six red cards.
  • Brazil won their one previous competitive meeting with Croatia 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup; Kaka scored the winner in Berlin that day.

Mexico v Cameroon

  • Mexico have lost more games than any other team at World Cup Finals (24).
  • Samuel Eto'o has been directly involved in Cameroon's last four World Cup goals (three goals, one assist).
  • Cameroon have only won one of their last 13 World Cup games (1-0 v Saudi Arabia in 2002), drawing four and losing eight.
  • No Cameroon player scored more than two goals in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers (Eric Choupo-Moting, Samuel Eto'o & Jean II Makoun).
  • This is only the second ever meeting between these two countries; Mexico won the first clash 1-0 in a friendly in 1993.
  • Mexico boss Miguel Herrera has only taken charge of his country in two competitive games; the World Cup play-offs against New Zealand (9-3 on aggregate).
  • Cameroon's 17 previous World Cup goals have all been scored from inside the area (15 from open play, two penalties).
  • Oribe Peralta has scored eight goals in his last six competitive appearances for el Tricolor.
  • Mexico have never beaten at African team at a World Cup Finals tournament, losing one and drawing two of their three meetings against sides from that continent so far.

Group B

Spain v Holland

  • This is the first time the two World Cup finalists have met in the tournament directly after contesting the final since 1990, when West Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in the final (after meeting each other in 1986).
  • La Roja lost their opening game of the 2010 World Cup to Switzerland, but went on to become the first team to ever win the tournament having lost their first game.
    Vicente Del Bosque has only lost one of his 25 World Cup games as Spain head-coach, including qualifiers (W22 D2). That was against Switzerland (0-1) in 2010.
  • David Villa - Spain's top scorer at World Cup Finals (eight goals) - has been directly involved in seven of Spain's last nine goals in the tournament (six goals, one assist).
  • Spain have won their last six World Cup games, their best ever run in the tournament. Their last four games have ended in 1-0 wins.
  • Spain have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four World Cup games, the longest current run. Indeed only Italy (five games in 1990) and Switzerland (five in 2006 & 2010) have ever had a longer run in the competition.
  • Netherlands have made it past the group stages in their last seven previous World Cup participations.
  • Robin van Persie was the top scorer in the 2014 European World Cup qualifiers (11 goals).
  • Spain and Netherlands have a perfectly even head-to-head record with four wins apiece and one draw, though Spain won the only previous World Cup clash 1-0 in the 2010 final.
  • The defending champions have only won their first game in three of the last 10 World Cups (D4 L3), with Italy drawing 1-1 with Paraguay last time out.

Chile v Australia

  • Australia's first ever point in a World Cup group came courtesy of a 0-0 draw against Chile in June 1974; it remains their only clean sheet in 10 World Cup Finals matches.
  • Since their third place finish in 1962, Chile have only won two of their 17 World Cup games (D6 L9).
  • Chile have lost against a subsequent finalist in each of their last three World Cups (West Germany in 1982, Brazil in 1998 and Spain in 2010).
  • The Socceroos have only won two of their 10 games at the World Cup (D3 L5) - these coming against Japan in 2006 (3-1) and Serbia in 2010 (2-1).
  • Australia's last eight World Cup games have produced seven red cards (four for the Socceroos, three for their opponents).
  • Chile conceded 1.56 goals per game in the qualifiers, more than any other of the 32 participants in the 2014 edition.
  • Australia have never beaten la Roja in any competition, drawing one and losing three so far.
  • Arturo Vidal was the top scoring midfielder in South American qualifying, helping himself to five goals.

Group C

Colombia v Greece

  • Greece have lost five of their six World Cup games, winning the other one against Nigeria (2-1) on 17 June 2010.
  • With 83.3% of defeats at the World Cup, Greece have the second worst ratio in the history of the tournament among teams having played at least six games behind El Salvador (100%).
  • Since 1966, Colombia have averaged the highest possession (58%), the most ball touches per game (794) and the best pass success rate (85% - min. 10 games) at the World Cup.
  • Greece have failed to score in five of their six games at the World Cup, scoring only against Nigeria (2-1) in 2010 with goals by Dimitris Salpingidis and Vasilis Torosidis.
  • Portuguese coach Fernando Santos has only lost three of his 26 competitive games as Greece supremo (W17 D6).
  • Colombia had more shots on target than any other team in South American World Cup qualification (99).
  • Greece kept more clean sheets than any other European team in World Cup qualifying (eight).
  • Colombia's 2-0 friendly victory over Greece ahead of the 1994 World Cup is the only previous meeting between the two nations.

Ivory Coast v Japan

  • Two of Japan's previous four World Cup wins have come in their only two previous meetings with African sides (2-0 v Tunisia in 2002 and 1-0 v Cameroon in 2010).
  • Despite going out in the "Group of Death" in their only two previous tournaments, Ivory Coast have the best goals/game average of any African side at World Cups (1.5).
  • Didier Drogba has only had two shots on target in 384 minutes at the World Cup, with both ending up in the back of the net.
  • Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in three of Japan's last four World Cup strikes (two goals, one assist).
  • Shinji Okazaki was the top scorer in the 2014 Asian World Cup qualifiers (8 goals). He is also the last Japanese player to net in the finals (against Denmark on 24 June 2010).
  • The Elephants were unbeaten in 2014 World Cup qualification, winning five and drawing three.
  • These sides have met three times before, all in friendlies; Japan won the first two 1-0, before Ivory Coast won 2-0 in the most recent meeting in 2010.
  • Ivory Coast are appearing in their third successive World Cup; Ghana are the only other current African side who can match this.

Group D

Uruguay v Costa Rica

  • Uruguay won the only previous World Cup held in Brazil, defeating the hosts in the final in 1950.
  • Luis Suarez was the top scorer in the South American World Cup qualifiers (11 goals). He had the most shots on target in the last World Cup (15).
  • Diego Forlan has scored three of Uruguay's last five goals at the World Cup.
  • Costa Rica have lost their last four games at the World Cup, conceding 14 goals (3.5/game).
  • Veteran coach Oscar Tabarez has been in charge of Uruguay since February 2006, the longest period among the 32 head-coaches involved in this year's World Cup.
  • Uruguay have won six and lost none of their eight previous meetings with Costa Rica, most recently defeating them 2-1 on aggregate in a 2010 World Cup play-off.
  • Costa Rica have won their opening game in two of their previous three World Cup tournaments (1-0 v Scotland in 1990 and 2-0 v China in 2002).
  • Los Ticos have lost all three previous World Cup meetings with South American sides, conceding nine goals in the process.

England v Italy

  • England have only won two of their last 11 internationals against Italy (D3 L6), losing to them on penalties in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.
  • The one previous World Cup meeting between these two former winners came in the third place play-off in 1990; Italy won 2-1.
  • England have only lost two of their last 16 World Cup games (W7 D7, including two penalty shoot-out defeats).
  • Excluding shootouts, England have scored all eight World Cup penalties.
  • Frank Lampard has had more shots without scoring than any other player at World Cups since 1966 (39 shots, no goals).
  • Wayne Rooney has not scored a goal in 594 minutes of World Cup football for the Three Lions.
  • England talisman Rooney has scored in all six competitive games since Euro 2012, however (seven goals).
  • Italy have scored in each of their last 14 games at the World Cup, the longest current run. The last time they failed to score was on 3 July 1998 against France.
  • Seven of Italy's last 17 goals at the World Cup have been scored from corners (41%).
  • Italy have conceded 14 goals from outside the box at the World Cup, more than any other team since 1966.

Group E

Switzerland v Ecuador

  • This will be the first ever international meeting between Switzerland and Ecuador.
  • Switzerland have only conceded one goal in their last seven World Cup games combined.
  • Ottmar Hitzfeld's side were unbeaten in World Cup qualification, winning seven and drawing three of their 10 qualifiers.
  • Ecuador have never drawn a game at a World Cup, winning three and losing four so far.
  • Indeed, la Tri have won all three games in which they have kept a clean sheet in the competition, but lost all four they have conceded in.
  • Felipe Caicedo scored seven goals in nine games in qualification, including one run of scoring in four in a row.
  • La Nati have lost their last four World Cup meetings with South American sides, failing to score in their last three.
  • Despite finishing fourth, Ecuador had more shots than any other team in South American qualification (201).
  • Reinaldo Rueda's side also made the most crosses in CONMEBOL qualification (396).

France v Honduras

  • This will be the first ever international meeting between France and Honduras.
  • France have only won one of their last nine games in the World Cup group stages (2-0 v Togo in 2006).
  • Les Bleus have only scored one goal from open play in their last six games in this competition.
  • Franck Ribéry was France's top scorer and assist provider during the qualifiers, with five goals and six assists in 10 games, play-offs included.
  • Honduras have failed to score in their last four World Cup games and bowed out of the 2010 edition without finding the net.
  • Jerry Bengtson was Honduras' top scorer in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers with nine goals in 12 games.
  • Since lifting the trophy in 1998, France have failed to score in all three World Cup openers, drawing two 0-0 and losing 1-0 to Senegal in 2002.
  • No European side benefited from more goals from substitutes than France (four) in World Cup 2014 qualification.

Group F

Argentina v Bosnia

  • Argentina have won nine and lost just one of their last 12 World Cup group games (D2), scoring 24 and conceding just four in total in this run.
  • La Albiceleste have only mustered two wins in their last nine World Cup games against European sides, drawing four and losing three.
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina are the only country making their World Cup debut in 2014. Since 1950, the best record for a side making their debut is third, achieved by Portugal in 1966 and Croatia in 1998.
  • Lionel Messi has only scored one goal in 571 minutes of World Cup football. Indeed only one of his 31 shots in the tournament has found the net.
  • Argentina have won both previous internationals against the Dragons (both friendlies), scoring seven and conceding none.
  • Alejandro Sabella's side scored more goals than any other South American side in qualifying (35).
  • No player was involved in more goals than Edin Dzeko in the European qualifiers (14 - 10 goals, 4 assists).
  • Dzeko and compatriot Vedad Ibisevic both scored four headed goals in qualification; the strike partners scored all eight of Bosnia's headed goals between them.

Iran v Nigeria

  • Iran have won only one of their nine games at the World Cup, against USA in 1998 (2-1).
  • Carlos Queiroz's side have never kept a clean sheet in a World Cup game.
  • Nigeria are winless in their last eight World Cup games (D2 L6). It's the longest current drought among the 32 teams taking part in 2014.
  • The one previous meeting between Iran and Nigeria came in a friendly in 1998; the Super Eagles won 1-0.
  • No team scored more goals than Iran in the 2014 Asian World Cup qualifiers (30).
  • Nigeria's three goals at the 2010 World Cup all came from set piece situations (one penalty, one direct free kick and one from a throw-in).
  • Over half (11/21) of the goals that Nigeria have conceded at World Cups have come from set plays, however (three corners, two direct free kicks, four indirect free kicks and two penalties).
  • No goalkeeper kept more clean sheets in the top five European leagues in 2013/14 than Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama (21, for Lille).

Group G

Germany v Portugal

  • Germany's opening game at the 2014 World Cup against Portugal will be their 100th in the competition, they are the first team to reach that tally in the competition.
  • Germany have only lost one of their last 18 games in the group stages of the World Cup, it was against Serbia on 18 June 2010 (0-1), winning 13 and drawing four.
  • Portugal have lost their two games in the World Cup against their opponents in Group G: USA in 2002 and Germany in 2006.
  • Die Mannschaft have opened their last six World Cups with a victory; the last time they failed to win their opening game was back in 1986, when they drew 1-1 with Uruguay.
  • Germany scored more goals than any other team in the 2014 European World Cup qualifiers (36).
  • Joao Moutinho delivered more assists than any other player in the 2014 European World Cup qualifiers (10).
  • Portugal have only won one of their last seven games at the World Cup (7-0 v North Korea in 2010), drawing three and losing three.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored two goals from a total of 48 shots at the World Cup.
  • Portugal have only won three of their 17 previous internationals against Germany (D5 L9), losing their last three at major tournaments (World Cup 2006, Euro 2012 and Euro 2008).
  • Miroslav Klose currently has 14 World Cup goals - only Brazilian star Ronaldo has more (15).

Ghana v USA

  • Ghana have met USA in each of their two previous participations in World Cups, winning 2-1 on both occasions (2006 group, 2010 second round).
  • Indeed USA were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup by Ghana; the last team to face the same opponent in consecutive World Cup games was Scotland, who were eliminated by Brazil in 1990 before facing them in their 1998 opener (they didn't qualify in 1994). This will also happen a few days before this match when the Netherlands face Spain.
  • Four of Ghana's previous nine World Cup goals have come against USA.
  • The USA have only kept two clean sheets in their last 23 games at the World Cup.
  • Ghana scored more goals than any other team in the 2014 African World Cup qualifiers (25).
  • No player scored more goals than Ghana's Asamoah Gyan in the 2014 African World Cup qualifiers (6). The former Sunderland man has also scored four and assisted two of Ghana's nine World Cup goals, and netted the winner against USA in 2010.
  • USA boss Jürgen Klinsmann played 17 games and scored 11 goals at the World Cup with Germany. This is his second World Cup as head-coach having led his home nation to third place in 2006.
  • Landon Donovan has been left out of the USA Squad for the 2014 World Cup. He is USA's top scorer at World Cups with five goals; he has scored three of their last four at the competition.

Group H

Belgium v Algeria

  • Belgium have won one of their last nine World Cup games (3-2 v Russia on 14 June 2002), drawing five and losing three. They have kept one clean sheet in these nine games: v Netherlands in 1998 (0-0).
  • Belgium are unbeaten in their last two World Cup group stages, in 1998 and 2002 (W1 D5).
  • Algeria have failed to score in their last five World Cup games, attempting 71 unsuccessful shots since their last goal on 3 June 1986 against Northern Ireland (1-1, Djamel Zidane with the goal).
  • Belgium are unbeaten in two previous internationals against Algeria, winning one and drawing one (both friendlies).
  • Thibaut Courtois saved 87.1% of shots faced in the European qualifiers, the best ratio among goalkeepers who featured more than five times.
  • Eight of Belgium's last 14 goals at the World Cup have come from set-pieces (5 from a corner kick, 2 from a direct free-kick, 1 from an indirect free-kick).
  • Only Spain (3) conceded fewer goals than Belgium (4) in the 2014 European World Cup qualifiers.
  • The Red Devils are unbeaten in two previous World Cup games against sides from Africa, winning one and drawing one.

Russia v South Korea

  • Russia have only kept one clean sheet in their last six World Cup games, it was against Tunisia on 5 June 2002 (2-0).
  • This is South Korea's eighth World Cup in a row (since 1986); only Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina and Spain can boast a longer streak currently.
  • South Korea have only won two of their last 10 World Cup games (against Togo in 2006 and Greece in 2010).
  • The one previous meeting between Russia and South Korea came in a friendly in November 2013; Fabio Capello's side won 2-1.
  • Including games played as Soviet Union, Russia have lost seven of their last 10 World Cup games, winning the other three.
  • South Korea have kicked off each of the last three World Cups with a win: v Poland in 2002, Togo in 2006 and Greece in 2010.
  • South Korea have scored the most direct free-kicks in the World Cup since 1990 (5).
  • Aleksandr Kokorin was the youngest player to score 10 or more goals in the Russian Premier League in 2013/14; he was born in March 1991.

 

 
 
 

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