Goalfest: Brazil’s World Cup could be on pace to blow up the record books


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SAO PAULO — Notice anything unusual about the World Cup this year? It has been an absolute goalfest so far. In fact, it could be on pace to be the highest-scoring tournament in the 84-year history of the World Cup.

Over the first 11 games, the average number of goals per match has been 3.63 — partly because of the way the Netherlands blew Spain out 5-1. But nine out of the 10 other matches have seen three or four goals scored.

The average number of goals per match in South Africa in 2010 was 2.27, and FIFA calculates that the average since 1930 has been 2.86.

You have to go back to 1954 to find a World Cup with a higher average number of goals per match. That year’s competition, in Switzerland, saw the humiliation of goalkeepers, with an average of 5.38 goals per match, the highest ever.

It’s also unusual that there have been no draws yet this year. Every match has had a winner and a loser.

Since group stages were introduced in 1950, one out of four group matches has ended in a draw, with nearly a third of them resulting in a draw in 2010.

It also feels like there has been an unusual number of come-from-behind victories this year.

Five of the 11 matches so far have seen the team that scored first go on to lose, if you count Brazil’s own goal in the tournament’s opening match against Croatia.

It’s hard to come by reliable data for how often teams come from behind to win in the World Cup, but it was very unusual in Euro 2012.

The team that scored first in that contest went on to win more than 70% of the time, according to an article in the International Journal of Sports Science.

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