World Cup 2022 Facts: The Best of the Best
Our award-winning data insights teams across the world have been working hard across the tournament to provide you all with the very best facts from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Here are the crème de la crème of those facts, plus our Opta Index-powered team of the tournament.
Group Stage Facts
● With their 2-0 loss to Ecuador, Qatar became the first host nation to lose their opening game of the World Cup (previously W16 D6).
● Enner Valencia’s opener for Ecuador was the first time in World Cup history that the opening goal at a single edition of the tournament was scored from the penalty spot.
● England’s 6-2 win against Iran was their biggest ever victory in their opening match at a major tournament (World Cup/European Championships). It was also Gareth Southgate’s ninth major tournament win, more than any other England manager.
● Against Saudi Arabia, Argentina lost a World Cup match after scoring the first goal for the first time since 1958 against Germany, while it was the first time they lost after leading at half-time since the 1930 final against Uruguay.
● France became the first reigning champion to win their opening game of a World Cup tournament since Brazil in 2006, with their 4-1 win over Australia the biggest ever MD1 win by a reigning champion.
● Against Germany, Japan came from behind to win a World Cup match for the very first time, having drawn two and lost 11 of their 13 matches when they had trailed beforehand.
● Having lost their opening game at just one of their first 18 World Cup tournaments (W13 D4), Germany have lost their first game at each of the last two World Cups.
● Against Japan, Youssoufa Moukoko (18y 3d) became the youngest ever player to appear for Germany in a World Cup game.
● Spain’s 7-0 victory over Costa Rica was their biggest in the World Cup, and Costa Rica’s biggest ever defeat in the competition.
● At the age of 18 years and 110 days against Costa Rica, Spain’s Gavi was the youngest player to score at the World Cup since Pelé for Brazil against Sweden in the 1958 final (17y 249d).
● Costa Rica didn’t have a single shot against Spain, just the second time on record (since 1966) of a team failing to have a shot in a World Cup match, after Costa Rica themselves against Brazil in 1990.
● Uruguay’s goalless draw with Korea Republic meant that eight different sides drew their opening game of the 2022 World Cup 0-0, the most ever in a single edition of the tournament.
● Against Ghana, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in five different editions of the World Cup (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022).
● Following defeat to Senegal, Qatar became just the second host nation to be eliminated from the first round of the World Cup, after South Africa in 2010.
● Ecuador’s Enner Valencia became just the fourth player ever to score six consecutive goals for a nation in the competition, along with Eusébio for Portugal in 1966, Paolo Rossi for Italy in 1982 and Oleg Salenko for Russia in 1994.
● Against Iran, Wales’ Wayne Hennessey was just third goalkeeper to be sent off at the World Cup, after Gianluca Pagliuca for Italy against Norway in 1994 and Itumeleng Khune for South Africa against Uruguay in 2010.
● At 97 minutes and 56 seconds, Roozbeh Cheshmi’s strike for Iran against Wales was the latest winning goal ever scored at the World Cup (excluding extra-time) since exact goal times are available (1966).
● England’s 0-0 draw with USA was their 12th goalless draw at the World Cup – more than any other nation – while it USA’s first ever in the competition.
● In beating Japan 1-0, Costa Rica became the first team to concede seven goals in a game, then win their next match at the World Cup since Paraguay in 1958 (lost 7-3 to France, won 3-2 against Scotland).
● Following a 1-1 draw with Spain, Germany failed to win their first two group stage matches at a single World Cup for the first time in their history.
● Alphonso Davies’ goal against Croatia was Canada’s first ever at the World Cup. In the same match, captain Atiba Hutchinson became the first player to make 100 appearances for the Canada national team.
● Cameroon’s 3-3 draw with Serbia saw them become the third African team to avoid defeat in a World Cup match having been two or more goals behind, after South Africa (2-2 vs Paraguay in 2002) and Côte d’Ivoire (3-2 vs Serbia in 2006). It was also the first time they’d ever scored three goals in a World Cup match.
● Against Serbia, Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar became the first ever substitute to both score and assist a goal in a World Cup match for an African nation.
● In their 3-2 loss to Ghana, Cho Gue-Sung became the first Korea Republic player to score more than once in a World Cup game, while he was the first Asian player to score two headers in a World Cup game.
● After beating Switzerland, Brazil became the first side in World Cup history to go unbeaten in 17 consecutive group stage matches (including final and second group rounds in earlier editions).
● Cody Gakpo became the first player to score in all three matches in a single group at a World Cup for Netherlands.
● Marcus Rashford’s second goal in England’s 3-0 win against Wales was their 100th scored at the World Cup, while it made him just the second Manchester United player to score three or more goals for the Three Lions at a major tournament after Bobby Charlton (1966 World Cup).
● In saving Lionel Messi’s penalty against Argentina, Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny became just the third goalkeeper on record (since 1966) to save two penalties in a single World Cup tournament (excluding shootouts), after Brad Friedel in 2002 and Jan Tomaszewski in 1974.
● Saudi Arabia received 14 yellow cards in the 2022 World Cup group stage, a new record for a team in a single group stage in World Cup history.
● In their 1-0 win against Denmark, Australia both won and kept a clean sheet in consecutive World Cup matches for the very first time.
● Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri became the first African player in World Cup history to score in three consecutive starts – he netted against both Belgium and Panama in 2018, before scoring the winner against France in his only start of the 2022 edition.
● Thanks to their 2-1 win against Spain, Japan became the third team in World Cup history to be losing at half time and come back to win two matches in a single edition, after Brazil in 1938 and Germany in 1970.
● Japan had just 18% possession against Spain, the lowest share of the ball for a winning team in a World Cup match on record (since 1966).
● Germany were eliminated from the group stages at consecutive World Cups (also 2018), after they had progressed from the first round group stage in each of their 16 previous such appearances at the tournament.
● Belgium failed to progress to the knockout stages of a World Cup tournament for the first time since 1998.
● Morocco became the first African nation to top their group at the World Cup since Nigeria in 1998, with their seven points the most by an African team in the group stages.
● Cameroon became the first African team to beat Brazil at the World Cup – African teams had lost all seven previous matches against Brazil, conceding 20 goals.
● Against Brazil, Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar was the first player to score and be sent off in a World Cup match since Zinedine Zidane for France vs Italy in the 2006 final.
● Against Korea Republic, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first ever player to make at least 20 appearances at both the World Cup (20) and European Championships (25).
Knockout Stage Facts
● With one goal and two assists against USA, Denzel Dumfries became one of three players to be directly involved in at least three goals in a single World Cup match for the Netherlands, after Rob Rensenbrink (twice in 1978) and Johan Cruyff (in 1974).
● Making his 1,000th senior career appearance in the match against Australia, Lionel Messi scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time for Argentina, with his previous eight goals in the competition all coming during the group stage.
● Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane were the seventh and eighth different players to score for England at the 2022 World Cup – this is the most different scorers (excl. own goals) that the Three Lions have ever had at a single edition of any major tournament (World Cup or Euros).
● Since Opta have World Cup assist data (from 1966), England’s Jude Bellingham became the first teenager to assist a goal in a knockout stage game at the tournament.
● Olivier Giroud’s goal against Poland made him the all-time top scorer for the French national team, overtaking the previous record-holder Thierry Henry (51).
● Against Japan, Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic became the third goalkeeper to make three saves in a World Cup penalty shootout after Portugal’s Ricardo in 2006 versus England and Croatia’s Danijel Subasic versus Denmark in 2018.
● Brazil led Korea Republic 3-0 after just 29 minutes, the earliest they’ve gone three goals ahead in a single World Cup match. In the end, it was just the second time they’ve scored four goals in the first half of a World Cup match, also doing so against Mexico in 1954.
● Courtesy of Weverton’s substitute appearance against Korea Republic, Brazil used all 26 members of their squad at the 2022 World Cup, becoming the first nation to field that many different players at a single edition.
● Spain became the first nation in World Cup history to lose four penalty shootouts, while they were just the second side to not score in one after Switzerland against Ukraine in 2006.
● Spain’s Rodri became the first player on record (since 1966) to complete more than 600 passes in a single World Cup tournament (638), with the previous-most also being by a Spanish player (599 – Xavi in 2010).
● Portugal’s 6-1 win against Switzerland was biggest ever victory in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, scoring six goals outside the group stages for the first time.
● Against Switzerland, Pepe (39y 289d) became the second oldest goal scorer in World Cup history, after Roger Milla (42y 39d) for Cameroon in 1994, and the oldest ever to score in a knockout round in the competition.
● In losing to Croatia on penalties, Brazil have been eliminated from each of their six World Cup knockout round games against European sides, since beating Germany 2-0 in the 2002 final.
● Brazil became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated from a knockout match in which they scored the opening goal during extra-time.
● Against Netherlands, Argentina became the first ever nation to win five penalty shootouts at the World Cup.
● There were 15 cards shown to players that entered the field of play in Argentina vs. Netherlands, the most in World Cup history, overtaking Cameroon-Germany in 2002 (14 – 12 yellows and two reds).
● Louis van Gaal has never lost a World Cup match as manager, with Netherlands’ 2-2 draw with Argentina his 12th game (W8 D4) – this is the joint-most games managed in the competition before losing, along with Luiz Felipe Scolari.
● Morocco became the first African team to qualify for the semi-final of the World Cup.
● Against Portugal, Yassine Bounou became the first African goalkeeper to record three clean sheets in a single edition of the World Cup.
● England were eliminated from the quarter-final stages of the World Cup for the seventh time, more than any other side in the history of the competition.
● England scored 13 goals at the 2022 World Cup, the highest number of goals they’ve ever scored in a single edition of a major tournament (World Cup and European Championship).
● Against England, Hugo Lloris made his 143rd appearance for France, becoming the most capped player in the senior French men’s side.
● Harry Kane’s goal against Senegal made him England’s highest ever scorer in major tournaments (11), while his strike against France took him level with Wayne Rooney for most goals for the England men’s team overall (53).
● With his goal against Croatia, Lionel Messi became Argentina’s highest ever goalscorer in the World Cup (11), and the first Argentinian to score in five different matches in a single edition of the tournament.
● Lionel Messi became the first player to both score and assist in four separate World Cup matches (since the 1966 edition), doing so versus Serbia in 2006 and against Mexico, Netherlands and Croatia in 2022.
● France became the first nation to reach back-to-back World Cup finals since Brazil in 2002, and first European country to do so since Germany in 1990.
● Against Morocco, Randal Kolo Muani scored 44 seconds after coming on as a substitute for France – this was the third-quickest goal ever scored by a substitute in a World Cup game, after Ebbe Sand for Denmark vs. Nigeria in the 1998 round of 16 (26 seconds) and Richard Morales for Uruguay vs. Senegal in the 2002 group stage (16 seconds).
● Croatia’s 2-1 win against Morocco meant that European sides have now won each of the last 11 third place play-off matches at the World Cup, since Brazil’s victory over Italy in 1978.
● Argentina won the World Cup for a third time (also 1978 and 1986), 36 years since their last triumph in 1986. Only Italy (44 years from 1938 to 1982) have ever had a longer gap between winning two World Cups.
● Each of the last three reigning champions to reach the World Cup final failed to win that final, with France joining Argentina in 1990 and Brazil in 1998 in doing so.
● Argentina have won more penalty shootouts than any nation in World Cup history, with this their sixth such triumph. They are the third nation to win a World Cup final shootout, after Brazil in 1994 and Italy in 2006.
● This was only the second World Cup final to see both sides score a penalty, after 1974 between Germany and Netherlands. It was also the first ever showpiece to see both sides score at least three goals.
● There were 172 goals scored at the 2022 World Cup, a new all-time competition record, surpassing the 171 scored in both 1998 and 2014.
● There were five penalty shootouts at the 2022 World Cup, the most of any single edition in the history of the competition.
● Since it was introduced in 1982, Lionel Messi became the first player to win the Golden Ball (best player of the tournament) at two different World Cups.
● Argentina’s Lionel Messi became the first player in World Cup history to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final in a single edition of the tournament.
● Lionel Messi has been directly involved in 21 goals at the World Cup for Argentina (13 goals, eight assists), the outright most of any player for any nation at the finals on record (since 1966).
● Argentina’s Lionel Messi made his 26th appearance in a World Cup match, becoming the all-time record holder for most games played at the tournament, overtaking Lothar Matthäus (25).
● France’s Kylian Mbappé scored his 10th (and 11th and 12th) World Cup goal, becoming the 15th different player to reach double figures at the finals. Aged 23 years and 363 days, he was the youngest of those 15 to hit that tally, surpassing Gerd Müller (24y 226d).
● France forward Kylian Mbappé became the fifth player to score in two separate World Cup finals, after Vavá (1958, 1962), Pelé (1958, 1970), Paul Breitner (1974, 1982), and Zinedine Zidane (1998, 2006). He has four goals in finals of the World Cup overall, the outright most of any player.
● In France’s Kylian Mbappé and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, this was the first ever World Cup final to see both teams have a player score at least twice. Mbappé himself was only the second ever hat-trick scorer in a World Cup final, after England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.
Team of the Tournament
Using our Opta Index scoring system, our data insights team have been able to put together the team of the tournament for the 2022 World Cup. The scoring system, which takes hundreds of metrics into consideration to award either positive or negative points differentials based on playing position, scores players out of 100 for their performances over a single match or considering multiple matches across a season/tournament.
Dominik Livakovic (Croatia): Livakovic prevented 3.5 goals according to our xG on target faced data; the most in the 2022 tournament, while the Croat also made the most saves in this edition of the competition (25). In addition to this, he saved a record-equalling four shootout penalties in a single edition of the World Cup.
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco): Hakimi made a tournament-high 26 tackles, helping Morocco to claim Africa’s first-ever semi-final berth.
Marquinhos (Brazil): Marquinhos completed 349 of his 364 passes in this World Cup, with that passing accuracy of 96% the best of any player to play at least 200 minutes. Meanwhile, Brazil only faced 32 shots in 426 mins when he was on the pitch – just 6.8 per 90 minutes.
Josko Gvardiol (Croatia): Gvardiol made more clearances than any other player in Qatar (37), registered more carries than any other player (202) and won possession more often than any other defender (48 times).
Theo Hernández (France): Hernández created more goalscoring chances for teammates at this World Cup than any other defender (11), including a joint-tournament-high (for defenders) two assists.
Bruno Fernandes (Portugal): Only Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé registered more goal involvements than Fernandes at this World Cup (five), while his tally of three assists is the joint-most of any Portuguese player at a single edition of the competition.
Aurélien Tchouaméni (France): Tchouaméni made more interceptions than any other player at the 2022 World Cup (14), while he also completed 91% of his passes at the tournament (425/468).
Antoine Griezmann (France): Griezmann created more chances (22) and accumulated a higher expected assists total (3.6) than any player at the 2022 World Cup.
Lionel Messi (Argentina): No player mustered as many shots (32), created as many open play chances (17), assisted more goals (three) or won as many fouls (22) at the 2022 World Cup than Lionel Messi.
Julián Álvarez (Argentina): Álvarez is only the second Argentinian to score as many as four goals in a single edition of the World Cup aged 23 or younger, after Gonzalo Higuaín in 2010. At 22 years 316 days, Álvarez also became the youngest brace scorer in a World Cup semi-final since Pelé scored a hat-trick in 1958 (17y 244d).
Kylian Mbappé (France): Mbappé scored more goals (eight), completed more dribbles (25) and had more touches in the opposition’s box (69) than any player at the 2022 World Cup.