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Try That On Your Calculator: World Cup Group Stage Data

Friday 29th June 2018

As your official IRAIW number cruncher, I’d like to welcome you all my statistics state. Now the group stage has come to an end, we sit at the crux of masses of data to analyze and make founded opinions and hypothesis on what will come, and of course what will happen. As if.

First of all, though, you must know that this dataset was assembled on the 28th of June, at 20:20 JST. Groups G and H hadn’t quite finished yet. The data sets have been modified to represent that those teams have only played two games, as opposed to the majority of teams which have played all three group matches.

[Editor's note: while the graphics will remain the same, the text will be updated to the best of our ability]

Where else to start than the obligatory scoring records? Despite the aforementioned disclaimer; it’s not stopped England and Belgium from taking the goal tally by storm. Both have scored eight goals. Harry Kane has been particularly fruitful. His five goals put him at the top of the Golden Boot pile. Ronaldo is second, on four, yet Portugal has only mustered 1.677 goals per match. Ricardo Quaresma's wonder strike was the Selecao's only other goal.

Panama and Poland were worse. Each had 0.5 goals per match until they each struck once in their final matches. Germany finished at the same level, one of 13 teams to do so from 32. Considering die Mannschaft's stature in the game this could be their worst World Cup performance ever.

Taking your shots is all about being accurate when you have the opportunity. Germany; in what is becoming a statistical disfiguration of Die Mannschaft, fashioned the most chances over the three games: 67. That’s 22.33 per game. Their accuracy was only 30%. Under a third of their shots were on target. Not the Germany we all know at all.

Brazil also attempted a fair amount at 18.67 per game. England were most accurate, with 48% of chances on target. You must create chances and finish them. Watch for potential partnerships formed between Selecao and England players in next season's Football Manager.

Excepting Mo Salah, Iranians and Egyptians will be largely absent. Team Melli mustered just seven chances per game. The Pharaohs compiled the worst accuracy of all: a mere 17% on target. Maybe Salah can open a camp for his teammates.

Defences are built on partnership and tactical awareness. Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez has written the textbook. La Celeste have been Gandalf on the bridge in Moria. Goals shall not pass. Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Atletico Madrid. What else did you expect?

Last we checked, Diego Simeone wasn't scouting any Panama players. Several tax scandals and an appearance at this World Cup have put the Isthmus in the news. There have been as many loopholes in Los Canaleros' rearguard as in the country's tax laws. They’ve let in 4.5 goals in each game. Poor, defensively. Bankrupt even.

Which brings us to discipline. After Japan made it through to the knockout rounds on fair play, we have to look at bookings and fouls. There have been just three red cards in the entire tournament. Colombia, Russia, and Germany took them. There were cynical challenges but few repeated offences.

Morocco and South Korea tread that line like tightrope walkers. The North African and Asian states each clocked up 21 fouls per game as the dirtiest teams in the group stage. It did neither any good. Between them, they racked up 18 yellow cards. Enough to start a small branch of Clintons, if that still exists. On the other hand, Croatia clocked up an impressive 18 fouls per game yet topped their group. It's all in the timing, I guess.

The same conflict exists for the nice lads. Just 8.5 fouls per game made Samurai Blue the positive side in terms of fair play. Germany, despite that red card, only committed 9.7 fouls per game. They're going home. Don't you hate it when people say it's a funny old game?

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Warren Smith

Yokohama F•Marinos supporter. Seen it all in the J.League, relegation fights and being crowned champions. Play five-a-side, pretty good too. Once scored an overhead kick.

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