World Cup Fun Facts
The World Cup is finally upon us and to mark the occasion we decided to count down 10 fun facts about the greatest tournament of them all:
Two magnificent goalkeepers share the record for keeping the most clean sheets in the history of the World Cup. Fabian Barthez, who won the World Cup with France in 1998, and England’s most capped player, Peter Shilton, both recorded 10 shut outs.
Barthez is remembered for his shot stopping ability, and also for Laurent Blanc kissing him on his bald head for luck before games. Shilton never won the World Cup, but he reached the semi-finals with England in 1990.
Honduras have played nine World Cup matches and never recorded a single victory, which is a record. They missed out on this year’s tournament as they lost to Australia in a play-off, so they will not be able to end their miserable record any time soon. Central America is instead represented by Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Hungary’s Laszlo Kiss banged in a hat-trick in just eight minutes against El Salvador in the 1982 World Cup. That is the quickest hat-trick ever recorded in the tournament’s history. He scored another three goals in Hungary’s next game, making him one of only two players to ever score consecutive hat-tricks at the tournament.
Brazil won all seven games they played at the 2002 tournament, the only time that has ever happened. Normally trophy-winning teams fail to win one of their group games, or draw in the knockout stages and require extra-time and penalties to advance, but in 2002 Brazil were simply sensational. An attacking triumvirate of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho made them a force to be reckoned with, and they blew their opponents away. Brazil are the most successful team in World Cup history, and if you check out well reviewed betting sites you will see that they are the favourites to win the famous trophy once more this time around. Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus form the new attacking trio, and that is a terrifying prospect.
Mexico have a remarkable World Cup record: they have reached the last 16 in the last six previous tournaments, and lost at that stage each time. That gives them the record for the most ever eliminations at the last-16 stage. This time around, they are in a group with defending champions Germany, Sweden and South Korea. They are the second best team in that group and should take the runner-up spot. That would make them highly likely to face Brazil in the last-16, due to the way the draw has fallen, so they are expected to extend that losing streak to seven this year.
In 1994, Russia took on Cameroon and striker Oleg Salenko hit five goals to lead his team to a famous 6-1 victory. It is the highest goals tally in a single match in World Cup history. Russia did not make it out of the group stage, but Salenko still shared the Golden Boot, despite only playing three games.
Perhaps even more impressive was the four goals Ernest Wilimowski banged in against Brazil in the 1938 tournament. Brazil finished third at that World Cup, so scoring four times against them was a significant achievement, but his team, Poland, still lost the game 6-5.
Pele won three World Cups for Brazil and no player has ever matched that feat. He has regularly topped polls to name the best player of all time, and he seemed to save his best performances for the World Cup. He was an instinctive striker, but he also displayed considerable flair on the ball, and the likes of Neymar and Gabriel have a long way to go before they can be spoken of in the same breath as this great man.
Luis Monti is the only man to appear in two World Cup finals with different teams. He was a midfield general dubbed “Doble Ancho” – Double Wide – due to his imposing physique, and he led Argentina to the final of the inaugural World Cup in
1930. They lost to Uruguay, so he then decided to instead represent his native Italy in the next tournament, and they beat Czechoslovakia in 1934 to clinch the trophy.
Only once has a player scored directly from a corner at the World Cup, and that feat was achieved my Marcos Coll of Colombia in 1962. What makes it even more impressive is that it came against the supremely talented Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin, and it helped his team to a 4-4 draw. Yashin’s presence will loom large over the current tournament as he is Russia’s greatest ever player and this summer he is on the World Cup 2018 poster that will be seen by hundreds of millions of people.