Friday, June 19, 2009

Confederations Cup Round 2: The Statistics Review

Round 2 matches have brought just as much excitement as Round 1 had. Though the focus after Round 1 had been on the use of Vuvuzela horn at the stadiums, the Round 2 matches were no less exhilirating. So, let's look at the numbers after Round 2.

We saw the Italians upset by some excellent Egyptian defence and goalkeeping. Similarly, Iraq was unlucky to lose to Spain. South Africa brought this tournament to its feet with a Vuvuzela-influenced win over the Kiwis. The Americans again finished a game with 10 men against a nonchalant Brazil.

With the win over USA, Brazil has now won seven out of their 15 Confederations Cup matches with a three goal margin or more.

Brazil also has overtaken Spain in the goals scored leaderboard, after bagging a round-high of three against the helpless Americans. This puts the Selecao first with 7 goals ahead of Spain who has scored a team total of six. Iraq lies last in this category and will really need to improve as an attacking force against New Zealand to stand any chance of progressing to the latter stages of this tournament.

The US most consistent player so far, Tim Howard has made more saves after Round 2 than any other goalkeeper in the tournament. His 17 saves ranks him at no. 1 - six ahead of his nearest rival, Glen Moss. Unfortunately both USA and New Zealand are the two teams to have conceded the most goals - so Howard and Moss are crucial

Italy continue to stay top as the hardest working team (219.3km) in the competition, mainly due to the fact that they had to chase the game in both rounds. More interestingly, is that Spain and Italy cover more ground than any other team when in possession. This shows the superior fitness levels compared to the other teams - a factor which could determine the semifinal and even the final result. Also noteworthy is that Spain due to their superior pass completion rate, need not work as hard to win back possession - as the old saying goes, "if the opposition does not have the ball, they can't score goals".

Spain has attempted 42 shots, the most by any team in this tournament. In both matches, Spain has completely dominated their opponents. Brazil and Italy, however have the most highest shots on target (19) showing a much better accuracy percentage than Spain. Would this stat be the downfall of the La Roja? We shall see...

The most impressive team in the second round of group matches is obviously Egypt. The African Nations champions and South Africa are proudly flying the African flag in this tournament.

These statistics were compiled from

Round 3 should prove a cracker as well since 1st and 2nd position in the group table have yet to be decided. At least we know that Spain and Brazil are semifinalist certainties. Egypt, South Africa, Italy and Iraq all have opportunities still to make it past the group stages.

Italy and Brazil will do battle in a match that Italy must win to quality for the semifinals. Egypt will also need to win their final match against the Americans to go through. South Africa need at least a draw against an in-form Spain while Iraq will look for goals (and a lot of it) to progress to the semifinal stage at the expense of a sorely out-of-depth New Zealand side.

And so everything is still at stake here - more drama awaits in Round 3 of the Group stages.

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