One thing that has been lacking thus far in the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been the goals.
The first time through the groups, after the first 16 matches, the average number of goals scored per game was 1.56.
In the 2006 World Cup, there was an all time low 2.3 goals per game scored.
The 2010 World Cup is clearly on pace to break that low-scoring record.
Through the first 16 matches, the 2006 World Cup in Germany outscored the current World Cup in South Africa 39-25.
In fact, 13 nations failed to even score in their opening match of this summer’s competition.
Only four nations (Germany, Korea Republic, Netherlands, Brazil) managed to score more than once in their opener and one of those four needed an own goal to accomplish it (The Netherlands).
Many would assume that the recent mistakes made by goalies would directly lead to an increase in goals for the competition, but they would be wrong.
Others assured goalscoring to be through the roof with the unveiling of the highly criticized new Adidas Jabulani ball, that was guaranteed to fool keepers across South Africa, but that hasn’t come to fruition either.
As it has also done its share of fooling on the shooters.
But the true reason why goal-scoring has been temporarily down, and I stress the word temporarily, is because of the defensive-minded play early on.
In the initial match of group play, it is not rare to see squads draw, to feel each other out and prevent the dreaded defeat that can cost a nation a chance to advance past the group stage.
An early loss may not assure elimination, but the statistics show that only 8 percent deal with the great deal of pressure properly enough to recover.
A draw, on the other hand, prevents teams from putting distance between themselves and leaves all possibilities open to make up ground with results in the other two fixtures.
As foreign as this may sound to the many World Cup watchers in America, it goes along with the culture of the sport and competition and it is one you must adapt to as a viewer.
With the second trip through the groups, viewers can be assured that goals will come in plentiful supply. Nations will be pressured into more aggressive performances and the absence of jitters and the feel of desperation will become more evident as the days progress.
So casual viewers hold back your criticisms, because there is plenty of tournament to go and things are just getting started at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The theory has begun to read true as there has been 11 goals in the first matches into the second time around the groups.
Look out for goals a plenty in these upcoming matches…
Friday: England vs. Algeria
Saturday: Netherlands vs. Japan
Monday: Spain vs. Honduras
And these goal scorers…
Wayne Rooney, England
Robin Van Persie, Netherlands
Giampaolo Pazzini, Italy
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
David Villa and Fernando Torres, Spain
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