24 Jun 2018

FIFA World Cup 2018: 29 matches, no goalless draw

Goals are the lifeblood of football and the ongoing World Cup in Russia has already proved to be the liveliest. After Belgium’s 5-2 win over Tunisia on Saturday, the 64-year-old record for the maximum number of matches without a goalless draw in a World Cup was broken. There were no goalless draws in all the 26 matches played in the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, but after Eden Hazard struck the first goal for Belgium in Moscow, this year’s tally reached 27. Later in the night, Ola Toivonen’s goal for Sweden against Germany took it to 29.

The game has evolved over the years and one of the reasons why there have been no goalless draws so far can be attributed to the attack-minded formations adopted by managers. Much in vogue today, the 3-5-2 formation, instead of the traditional 4-4-2, allows more gaps in defence and teams have been able to find openings in the opponents’ back-line. The Video Assistant Referee, too, has played its part with line-calls and penalties often going the way of the team in search of goals. Hazard’s opening on Saturday came from a penalty following a foul on the line, but the referee was bold enough to point towards the spot because he knew he had the VAR to fall back on for clarity.

With 71 goals from 29 games, the goals-per-match average for this year’s event currently stands at 2.4, which is less than 2014’s 2.7 but more than 2010 (2.3). Interestingly, 1-0 still remains the most common result so far, which proves that the cliche ‘there is no easy game’ is not far from the truth.

Source - TOI

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