World Cup Nuggets – Day 3

The World Cup has now well truly kicked off and the Nuggets keep coming thick and fast with the latest facts and stats from the tournament. Keep coming back for your daily dose.

You can pick up a copy of the World Cup Nuggets book directly from the publishers, Halcyon or via Amazon


Argentina’s capitulation against the might of 51st-ranked Saudi Arabia is considered as not just one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history but, in many eyes, THE biggest. Additionally, it was Argentina’s first loss against an Asian country after four wins against South Korea (2), Japan and Iran. Lose to Mexico on Saturday and Lionel Messi will be leaving Roger Milla’s Last Chance Saloon through the Fire Exit.


When Denmark and Tunisia failed to score it was the first goalless match for 31 matches since France against none other than Denmark on 26 June 2018. The very next match between Mexico and Poland was also goalless, thus instantly doubling the number of 0-0s from the previous tournament and 2022 is on course to beat the record of seven goalless draws in a tournament.


France sent out a strong message that they were not going to go down the rocky route that four former champions have in the last five World Cups, who limped out at the Group stage, a trend started by France themselves in 2002. Les Bleus’ 4-1 victory over a game but limited Australia was their third consecutive win in their opening match and they look set fair for a strong defence of their title.


England recorded their highest ever win in an opening World Cup game by hammering Iran 6-2. To add a little more shine to the performance all five goal-scorers notched their first World Cup goals – Bellingham, Saka (2), Sterling, Rashford and Grealish.


By beating Senegal with two late goals, the Netherlands emphasised what strong starters they are at World Cups. This was their seventh of their last nine consecutive in opening matches, having drawn the other two.


Wales’ comeback against USA secured by Gareth Bale’s late penalty was their fourth draw in six World Cup matches. In those six matches The Red Dragons have scored the same number of goals as they have conceded with five each.


The match between Qatar and Ecuador was about as one-sided as it gets. In losing 2-0 Qatar became the first World Cup host to lose their opening match. They are only the third host to concede two goals in an opening match after Japan drew 2-2 with Belgium in 2002 and in the next tournament in 2006 when Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2.

Published by richardfoster60

Author, broadcaster, historian, journalist. A regular contributor to the Guardian, Sky Sports and talkSPORT, my latest book is highly acclaimed Premier League Nuggets - "brilliantly written" - Darren Fletcher, "I love Premier League Nuggets" - Guy Mowbray, "the book is a labour of love" - Peter Drury.

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