World Football

The Week in Numbers

(FIFA.com)
Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates
© Getty Images
  • A lion kicks like a giraffe
  • A predator takes his victim’s up close
  • A traveller’s curse
500

career goals is what Zlatan Ibrahimovic became just the third active player to reach after Cristiano Ronaldo (660) and Lionel Messi (624). Naturally, the three-time FIFA Puskás Award nominee – you can vote for this year’s winner now – did it in spectacular style with a wheel-kick goal against Toronto FC.

77

hours of action, over four seasons, is what it took Georginio Wijnaldum to score his first away goal in the Premier League. The midfielder, by contrast, scored eight goals in his last ten away Eredivisie appearances before moving to England in 2015.

50

consecutive Eredivisie goals from inside the penalty area is the total Tim Matavz reached and passed with a predatory brace for Vitesse at PEC Zwolle. The Slovenia forward’s last goal from outside the box came for Groningen almost eight years ago, when he lobbed out-of-his-area AZ goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

33

qualifying campaigns is what it took Solomon Islands to reach a men’s or women’s 11-a-side FIFA world finals. The Solomon Islanders, who upset 2006 runners-up Uruguay 7-6 at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2009, became the first nation to join hosts Peru at next year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup and were later joined by New Zealand.

31

years and 58 days was the age at which Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann became the youngest coach in UEFA Champions League history. Jupp Heynckes was eight days shy of his 73rd birthday when he guided Bayern Munich in last season’s semi-final, second leg.

28

years had passed without pole position on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking being shared until Thursday. One goal split France and Belgium in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ semi-finals, but back-to-back victories for Roberto Martinez’s Diables Rouges this month mean not a single point separates them and Les Bleus in the battle to finish as the FIFA Ranking’s Team of the Year.

20

Champions League seasons is what Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas became the first player to appear in. The 37-year-old has, incredibly, made more appearances in the competition (170) than three-time winners Inter Milan have in the European Cup/Champions League (167).

15

consecutive Champions League campaigns have begun with Bayern Munich winning their first outing – a competition record – following their 2-0 win at Benfica. The last time Bayern kicked off their campaign with anything less than victory was in 2002, when Roy Makaay, whom they subsequently signed, hit a hat-trick as Deportivo won 3-2 at the Olympiastadion.

8

direct free-kicks is what Lionel Messi has scored in 2018 following his stupendous effort against PSV. The 31-year-old’s previous record for a calendar year was six, set in 2012 and equalled in 2016, when he scored his FIFA Puskás Award nominated effort against USA.

3

penalties is what Shin Hwayong saved at Suwon World Cup Stadium – the scene of Iker Casillas’s spot-kick-saving heroics against Republic of Ireland at Japan/Korea 2002 – to deny Jeonbuk Motors, who lost the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final 3-0 at home, an epic comeback. Shin saved Adriano’s penalty, with virtually the last kick of the 90 minutes, before stopping two more in the shoot-out as Suwon Bluewings crawled through.

See also

FIFA Puskás Award: Vote now!

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