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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It’s Raining Goals This 2014 FIFA World Cup!!

Heading into this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, football pundits, and fans, were a worried lot given the number of stars who were dropping out early mainly due to injuries.

From German’s midfield whiz kid Marco Reus to Colombia’s talisman Radamel Falcao to French winger Franck Ribery to Belgium target man Christian Benteke, injury had robbed the world some of its most precocious players. 

As if that wasn’t enough, there was also the case of players who would miss out because their countries failed to qualify, likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Garth Bale, Arda Turan, Daniel Agger, Robert Lewandowski and Henrik Mkhitaryan, to mention but a few. 

However, with teams the tournament almost at its penultimate stage, all those injuries, the missing stars look like things gone past. Forgotten.

You know why? Well, there’s been entertainment, top quality football, upsets, but most of all, goals. Goals. Goals. And more goals. 

In what started with an own goal from Brazil fullback Marcelo in the opening match between the hosts and Croatia, the 2014 FIFA World Cup has rained goals and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. That opening match the Seleceao won 3-1 with the four goals in match being the highest number of goals in an opening match in the last 12 World Cup opening matches. 

With 54 matches having been played when you are reading this article, 150 goals (average of 2.78 per game) have been scored with all the 32 participating teams finding the back of the net at least once. That has already surpassed the total amount scored in the 2010 South Africa World Cup which stood at 145. 

At an average of 2.78 goals per game, this year’s World Cup will likely produce a record number of goals in a 32-team tournament. The current record is 171 (average of 2.67) set in the 1998 France leg, the first time the World Cup involved 32 teams. 

Group B winners Netherlands have been the most generous of the teams netting 12 goals in their four matches. Germany have scored the most number of goals in the two previous World Cup editions, 14 goals in 2006 and 16 in 2010. Loius van Gal's men will do themselves a world of good should they continue banging in the goals if the fact that on 8 previous occasions, the top scoring nation at the World Cup have gone on to win it, the last one being France in 1998. 

Colombia forward James Rodriguez leads the scoring chats with 5 goals having scored in all of his nation’s four world cup matches. Thomas Muller’s haul of the same number of goals was enough to see him grab the golden boot in South Africa in 2010, and so did Miroslav Klose in 2006 with the same number of goals. 

Brazil’s prodigy, Neymar, German Thomas Muller and Argentine captain Lionel Messi all have four with 5 players tied on three goals each for their nations.

Muller was the first player to net a hat-trick in the Die Mannschaft’s 4-0 crushing of Portugal. Xherdan Shaqiri is the only other player to have found the back of the net three times in one game, the Bayern winger netting all the goals for Switzerland in their 3-0 win over Honduras. 

While the likes of Muller, Messi and Neymar are guaranteed a slot in the starting lineup, substitutes are having a huge say in the tournament as they have scored 27 goals so far, a World Cup recordTop of Form.

Of all these goals scored, the iconic ones have been Neymar’s who scored the 100th goal of the tournament and Mirosalv Klose’s whose goal against Ghana saw him equal Brazil’s Ronaldo for most World Cup goals at 15. Just one more and the veteran forward will become World Cup’s all time leading goalscorer.

So why have there been so many goals at this World Cup? It could be some goalkeeping gaffes (enter Iker Casillas), or attack, attack and attack mentality (enter Chile) but more so likely, top class finishers paraded at this year’s spectacle (enter Van Persie’s impossible header et all).

Long may this continue. Next please…?

And That's thesteifmastertake!!