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Goals per game in average down as 1-0
becomes the norm in World Cup

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- The 26 games played in the first nine days of the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia have not produced a 0-0 draw, but that does not mean it has been the most productive World Cup in terms of goals.

Far from it, in fact you’d have to go back 28 years to find a World Cup with a lower goals per game in average.

The 26 matches played so far have produced a total of 58 goals between them, with the 3-3 draw between Portugal and Spain in Sochi as the top-scoring game, followed by Russia’s 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia on the opening day of competition.

That adds up to an average of 2.23 goals per game: lower than the 2.7 goals per game in average in Brazil four years ago and slightly below the 2.3 in average from South Africa in 2010 and Germany in 2006.

South Korea and Japan saw 2.5 goals in every match in 2002, while the 1998 World Cup in France was a relative goal-fest with fans enjoying 2.7 goals per game, the same as in the USA in 1994.

You have to go all the way back to the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy to see a goal average as low as the one from Russia with the Italian super-defensive "Catenaccio" style of play fashionable in Europe.

Maybe "Catenaccio" hasn’t returned in Russia in 2018, but it’s fair to say that coaching techniques have developed, as the emphasis is on diet and training over the past 28 years and there is no sign in this year’s competition that is a pushover.

1-0 is the most common result so far, which highlights how football has developed and the cliche "there is no easy game" is clearly true.

There is still plenty of time left in the World Cup for us to see plenty more goals with the last round of the group stages and then the knockout rounds.

But a word of warning: sometimes rather than producing a desire to go out and take games by the scruff of the neck, the knockout stages of the World Cup finals sometimes produce a fear of defeat.

If that’s the case in Russia, prepare yourself for extra time and penalties.



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