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FIFA World Cup 2018: Spain, sideways passers extraordinaire!

Spain topped Group B of the FIFA World Cup 2018, but data shows that approximately only 20% of their passes go forward.

football Updated: Jun 29, 2018 18:43 IST
FIFA World Cup 2018,World Cup 2018,World Cup Russia
Spain's forward Iago Aspas vies with Morocco's defender Manuel Da Costa during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Spain and Morocco.(AFP)

With the group stage matches over in the World Cup, we take a look at how the remaining 16 teams in the World Cup have performed so far, especially when it comes to passing and fouling in this data summary of the group stage matches.

a) Spain hate to pass forward

Only one in five Spanish passes is a forward one, according to an analysis of passes by the team in the group stage. Of the 16 remaining World Cup teams, Spain has the highest percentage of passes played sideways or backwards, 80.1%. This is no doubt because of the tiki-taka style the team plays in.

Spain passes forward the least of the remaining World Cup teams. (FIFA)

Sweden plays the most direct of the 16 remaining teams coming in at the bottom of the table with around 71% of its passes going sideways or backwards.

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b) What is it with Croatia and fouling?

Looking at the fouls committed and suffered by the remaining 16 World Cup teams, we see that Croatia has racked up the most fouls, 55. Its fellow group qualifiers, Argentina, no doubt felt the brunt of this, having suffered the most fouls in the group stages, 54.

Japan committed the fewest fouls in the group stage: 28 (FIFA)

c) Will the usual suspects win again?

If we look at the remaining 16 World Cup teams, only four of them have reached a World Cup final since 2000. This might finally be the year that we have someone new lifting the World Cup.

Three of the remaining World Cup teams last reached a final before 1970 (FIFA)

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 16:46 IST