Injury-time goals in Russia almost doubled from Brazil
A football match is a tense affair. But what happens in the last few minutes, to be precise -- the stoppage time, the pressure cooker tension is something entirely different. Add a goal to the mix, and you have a full-blown riot at hands.
The Fifa World Cup 2018's group stage has been quite generous in the number of goals scored in the stoppage time of the second half. In fact, the number of such goals has almost doubled as compared to the 2014 edition of the World Cup. Sixteen goals were scored in Russia in the group stage while in Brazil the teams could manage only nine games by the end of the group stage. The report was compiled by Fifa's technical study group which also found that there was one particular component that separated teams that passed the group phase to those that did not is the shot to goal and shot on target to goal ratio.
In the 2018 FIFA World Cup teams passing the group phase needed 7.7 shots on average to score a goal whereas teams that failed to qualify took 14.3 shots per goal. When we break this down further to look at the shots on target per goal ratio. we see a similar pattern in that teams that qualified through the group phase took on average 2.5 shots on target to score a goal with teams that did not qualify taking 4.0. The 2014 World Cup had also thrown similar results when the teams that qualified to the Round of 16 had taken 6.9 shots per game while the teams that failed to qualified made 13.7 attempts per game.
As per the Fifa's technical study group's report of the current edition, an average of 2.5 goals has been scored per game in the group. This is a slight decrease as compared to the last edition when an average of 2.8 goals were scored per game and a slight increase from the 2010 edition when 2.1 goals per game were recorded.
The technical group has further reported that in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 6.1 of every 10 goals came from open play. In comparison in 2014, 7.6 goals out of 10 coming from open play and in 2010 7.8 goals. Following are the goals scored in Fifa World Cup 2018's stoppage time of the second half:
Iran won themselves a free-kick on the left wing in the 94th minute. Ehsan Haji Safi took the free kick and kicked the ball at the near post. Morocco's substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz, in trying to keep the ball out, unwittingly headed the ball into his own net, leaving the goalkeeper hapless. Morocco lost to Iran 0-1 despite dominating most of the match.
In a crucial match, Argentina were already two goals down against Croatia. In the 91st minute, from the corner down the other end of the field, Rakitic, Kovacic and Mandzukic broke down the middle of the park with a leisurely pace. Rakitic then put the first shot on Caballero, saved by the keeper - but the ball deflected back to Kovacic who simply squared it back to the Barcelona man to score with ease.
Brazil were supposed to have a straightforward win against Costa Rica but were frustated after failing to score in regular time. Relief came for Brazil in the 91st minute when Coutinho stabbed home a stray ball after Jesus failed to connect well with the ball. Neymar guaranteed the victory when he scored in practically the last minute of the match, the 96th minute when he converted from close range after Douglas Costa served him the ball on a plate from six yards.
Belgium had already put five past Tunisia when they scored their second goal, which was just a consolation to them. In the 93rd minute, Nagguez, after bombing forward from the right flank, cut the ball back for Khazri, who guided the ball into the far corner.
With one minute of play remaining, Germany got a free-kick at the very edge of the box on the right side. Toni Kross stood over it, looked at the goal, ran up to the ball, passed it short to Reus, got it back, struck the ball and watched it curl into the right-hand top corner beyond the grasp of a flailing Olsen. And the Fisht stadium erupted. The Swedish players buried their head in their heads and Kross, with his arms outstretched, was the king.
The referee awarded four minutes of injury time and it was in fact, in the 95th minute that Salem Al Dawsari, after a lengthy build-up by Saudi in Egypt's half, scored with a low drive into the bottom corner from a tight angle to win the match for Saudi Arabia. In hindsight, they may have been the deserving winners as they were the ones playing with a more positive attitude and in fact, did dominate the game for large parts.
In the 90th minute, substitute Iago Aspas scored from a back-heel flick at the near post after receiving a low pass from the right by Carvajal. There were protests from the Moroccans, not for the off-side (which was reviewed via VAR), but about allegations that there was a foul by Busquets during the play leading up to the goal. But the goal stood and Spain lived to see another day after the 2-2 draw.
This game will be remembered as the one which eliminated Germany out of the World Cup from the group stage. South Korea were already eliminated but fought bravely against the lacklustre Germans who couldn't score in the regular time. A goal came in the injury time but it was from a Korean player. Kim Young-gwon scored the first goal in the third minute of injury time. Originally called out for offside, the goal was then given after video review. Son Heung-min made it 2-0 in the sixth minute of injury time after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer came up the field to help his teammates outside the South Korea box. Son tapped the ball into an empty net after a long pass from Ju Se-jong.
Switzerland vs Costa Rica (2-2) -- Yann Sommer (90+3) (OG)
In the injury time, Costa Rica got a penalty. Bryan Ruiz took the penalty which hit the underside of the bar but fell onto Sommer's back and into the goal. The own goal made the things even and was, in a way, fitting for the match that wasn't dominated by any one side. Costa Rica exited the tournament without winning even a single match and Switzerland advanced to the Round of 16.