There would be quite a few things to say about this World Cup, one of the most important having to do with VAR, but this will just be a quick post, so I can’t get into that. Will just say that something like this should have been implemented a long time ago and so far this competition just proved yet again why, the decisions being correct whenever the referee went to watch the replay, possibly changing the initial, incorrect, call. Its use is still too restricted though, and even within the current limits it should be used more often, since there were still quite a few moments, including particularly important ones, when the referee did not check and therefore did not change an incorrect decision, the blame then obviously being shared between said referee and the video assistants.
But this little post is actually about all the goals scored so far in the competition, since the second round of the group stage just ended without any goalless matches. That means 32 matches in a row with at least one goal scored. More exactly, ten with a single goal, six with two, ten with three, two with four, one with five, one with six, and two with seven. So while 1-0 was still the most common score, with ten of the 32 matches finishing with it, 85 goals in 32 matches means an average of 2.65625 goals per match. And with exactly 16 matches with one or two goals and 16 with three or more, the median would be 2.5.
The opening match actually set the tone, Russia defeating Saudi Arabia 5-0, the outstanding 3-3 between Portugal and Spain following the next day. The average dropped somewhat over the following days, the next match with more than three goals being the first one of the second round, once again involving Russia, who defeated Egypt 3-1, but that doesn’t mean the matches weren’t still interesting. And the final days of the second round brought the two matches with the most goals, Belgium defeating Tunisia 5-2 yesterday and England defeating Panama 6-1 today. The 2-2 between Japan and Senegal, also today, should also be mentioned.
What’s more, ten of those goals were scored in injury time, with five more after minute 85. The opening match again set the tone, with Russia’s last two goals being scored in injury time, but those weren’t important goals. However, all the three matches played the next day were decided at the end, Uruguay defeating Egypt 1-0 thanks to a goal scored in minute 89, Iran defeating Morocco 1-0 thanks to an own goal scored in the fifth minute of injury time, and Portugal equalizing Spain thanks to a final goal scored in minute 88. Though it wasn’t quite at the end, the own goal that led to France defeating Australia 2-1 could also count, being scored in minute 81. Back to goals scored right at the end, England defeated Tunisia 2-1 thanks to one scored in the first minute of injury time. Poland’s goal in minute 86 of their match with Senegal didn’t help them though, as they lost 2-1. Another late goal that didn’t make a difference was the last one scored, in the first minute of injury time, by Croatia in their 3-0 defeat of Argentina, when they also scored their second goal relatively late, in minute 80. But both goals that helped Brazil defeat Costa Rica 2-0 were scored in injury time, in the first and seventh minute, respectively. And Switzerland’s last goal, which led to them defeating Serbia 2-1, was scored in minute 90. Then in that seven-goal match between Belgium and Tunisia, Belgium scored their last goal in minute 90 and Tunisia in the third minute of injury time. And South Korea also scored in the third minute of injury time, though it didn’t help them, as they lost 2-1 to Mexico. But the goal scored by Germany in the fifth minute of injury time definitely helped them, as thanks to it they defeated Sweden 2-1.
Teams will probably be more careful and calculated from this point forward, and in this third round some will no longer have much of a reason to care about the score, but the 32 matches played so far make it likely that the tournament will continue to be very interesting. And it would certainly be nice to get all the way to the end without a single goalless match. If you also consider the goals scored during the penalty shootout as goals scored in the match in question, that just means that there should be no goalless match in the 16 that make up the third round of the group stage, taking place over the next four days.