The group stage in stats

Lionel Messi, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wojciech Szczesny feature as FIFA+ brings you the engrossing numbers from the first phase.

-Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made five-edition history

-Landmark achievements by Kalidou Koulibaly, Marcus Rashford and Wojciech Szczesny

-Quick-fire goals rewrote the FIFA World Cup™ record books


Kalidou Koulibaly took 67 caps to score his first Senegal goal – and what a time he picked to score it. His volley snatched the Lions of Teranga a 2-1 win over Ecuador and a last-16 tie against England. The only outfield players at Qatar 2022 to have played more internationals without scoring are Koke (70) and Chris Gunter (109). Senegal’s victory ended a 21-game winless run for African sides against South American opposition in the World Cup (17 losses, four draws), with the last being Cameroon’s dramatic defeat of Colombia at Italia ’90.


Forty-four years had passed since Mexico went out at the group stage of a World Cup until Tata Martino’s team fell at the first hurdle in Qatar. El Tri had suffered last-16 elimination at seven successive global finals, while in 1986 they lost on penalties to West Germany in the quarter-finals. The exit came despite the fact that Luis Chavez became the first Mexican to score a direct free-kick at the World Cup.


Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson, at 39 years and 296 days against Morocco, is the second-oldest outfield player to appear in the World Cup. The distinction had belonged to Argentina’s Angel Labruna, due to his run-out against Czechoslovakia in 1958, going into this tournament. Roger Milla played as a 42-year-old at USA 1994.


Marcus Rashford scored three times in just 109 minutes – one every 36 minutes of action. There were just 96 seconds between Rashford’s opener and Phil Foden’s lead-doubler in the victory over Wales. It meant that the 145 seconds between the Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling efforts against IR Iran reigned for only eight days as the shortest gap between England goals in World Cup history.


Cameroon had lost eight consecutive matches across eight cities over three World Cups until they dramatically snatched a draw in Al Wakrah. Three-one down to Serbia, quick-fire goals from Vincent Aboubakar and Maxim Choupo-Moting ensured the Indomitable Lions avoided tieing the World Cup record of nine straight defeats Mexico set between 1930 and ’58. Those Cameroonian goals came within 151 seconds of one another. It was the fastest time a team had recovered a two-goal deficit to restore parity in the competition since Austria did it against Switzerland in the highest-scoring match in World Cup history in 1954.


Spain astonishingly scored seven goals with their first seven shots on target against Costa Rica. The match finished 7-0, giving La Roja their biggest-ever World Cup win and meaning their goal difference from that game was, unbelievably, greater than their goal difference from all seven games during their triumphant South Africa 2010 campaign. Spain completed exactly 1,000 passes against Costa Rica, becoming the first team in World Cup history to reach that figure in a 90-minute game, while Alejandro Balde, Gavi, Pedri and Nico Williams ensured four players under the age of 21 represented a European country in a World Cup match for the first time since Yugoslavia fielded several teenagers 92 years ago.


Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cups when he found the net against Ghana. Uwe Seeler, Pele, Miroslav Klose and Lionel Messi have netted in four global finals. Grzegorz Lato, Andrzej Szarmach, Michel Platini, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Diego Maradona, Lothar Matthaus, Rudi Voller, Roberto Baggio, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gabriel Batistuta, Fernando Hierro, Henrik Larsson, Raul, Ronaldo, Tim Cahill, Arjen Robben, David Villa, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez have scored in three.


Lionel Messi became the first player to register an assist in five World Cups when he set up Enzo Fernandez to seal a 2-0 win over Mexico. ‘La Pulga Atomica’ had previously laid on goals for Hernan Crespo in 2006, Carlos Tevez in 2010, Angel Di Maria v Switzerland in 2014, and Gabriel Mercado and Di Maria in 2018. No other player has recorded an assist in more than three World Cups. Grzegorz Lato, Diego Maradona and David Beckham and the only other players to have set up goals in three editions.


Harry Kane surprisingly leads the assists’ chart on three. The England forward won the adidas Golden Boot at Russia 2018 but failed to register an assist in almost 10 hours of action. Kane has become only the second Englishman to set up three goals in a World Cup after David Beckham at Korea/Japan 2002. Jordi Alba, Bruno Fernandes, Theo Hernandez, Davy Klaassen, Ivan Perisic and Andrija Zivkovic all have two assists apiece.


Wahbi Khazri became the first African player to score in three successive World Cup starts after he followed up goals against Belgium and Panama at Russia 2018 with the winner against France. The 31-year-old has now been directly involved in Tunisia’s last five goals in the competition, having assisted Dylan Bronn and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef four years ago.


Wojciech Szczesny became just the fourth man at the World Cup to save multiple penalties outside of shoot-outs. The Poland goalkeeper kept out spot-kicks from Salem Aldawsari and Messi, who became just the second player, after Asamoah Gyan, to fail to score two penalties outside of shoot-outs at this tournament tournament. Jan Tomaszewski, Brad Friedel and Iker Casillas are the other goalkeepers to have saved two penalties in normal or extra-time at the World Cup.

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