End of Second Round of Group Games 2010 FIFA World Cup

The second round of sixteen games of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was completed yesterday. Statistics from the games can be found at the Official Web site.
I have been looking at goal scoring and performance in relation to FIFA ranking. In the second round of games there were 42 goals scored.

  • In the 16 games played in the second round of games two teams who have scored first have lost. Nigeria scored first in game 19 of the tournament. Greece won the game 2-1. It is interesting to note that: Greece is higher in the FIFA rankings; Nigeria had a player sent off in the 33rd minute; both of Greeceā€™s goals were scored after the sending off. In game 26 Cameroon scored first. Denmark won the game 2-1. Denmark is lower in the FIFA rankings than Cameroon. Both the teams to have scored first and lost are from the African continent and have been beaten by European teams. Cameroon has been beaten twice by lower ranked teams (Japan and Denmark).
  • There was one 0-0 draw: England v Algeria.
  • Portugal scored seven goals in their game against Korea DPR.
  • Two higher ranking teams lost to lower ranking teams: Germany (v Serbia), Cameroon (v Denmark).
  • Eight referees have now refereed two games each.

Photo Credit
Autumn in South Africa


  1. Hi Keith,
    I have been following your analysis of the World Cup with interest. I was wondering if you think the magnitude of the differences in FIFA World Rankings has any significance in the outcomes. For example, what is the difference in the number of places when the lower ranked teams have beaten a higher ranked team. Or maybe the relative position in the rankings may be influential? Just food for thought.
    Also, given the amazing statistic of teams winning games after scoring first I wonder if teams should play the first 15min of the game with the same intent and desire as you see teams in the last 15min of the game to try to get the vital first goal!
    I look forward to continuing to following your insights from the World Cup.

    • Adam
      I am hopeful these are answers you can help me find. It is staggering that 93% of teams that score first do not lose. I wondered if the interaction of ranking and scoring were strong predictors. The two teams causing the rule problems are Nigeria and Cameroon which suggests (particularly for Cameroon) the ranking may be out.
      Thanks for visiting the posts, Adam.


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