The cautious approach of many teams in the first round of the World Cup has resulted in a record number of goalless draws at the tournament in Qatar, FIFA’s technical research team said on Saturday.
But they predict matches will become more open and goals will start to arrive, once teams have a chance to advance to the knockout stages or face the prospect of early elimination.
There have been four goalless games in the first 16 games – an unprecedented 25% return on the first round of group games – and a fifth on Friday as England and the US hit a stalemate in second match of the tournament in Qatar.
The record for the number of 0-0 draws at the World Cup is seven, having occurred in four different tournament periods, but Qatar 2022 is close to reaching that number as only 20 of its 64 scheduled matches have been completed. ahead of Saturday’s games.
“Past data shows that about 70% of teams that lose their first match at a World Cup will be eliminated after the first round and I think the teams are aware of that,” he added at a press conference on Saturday. .
At the last World Cup in Russia, there was only one goalless draw, as Denmark and France failed to score in a group stage clash. “Teams don’t want to take too much risk,” said Sunday Oliseh, a former Nigeria international and a member of the expert panel who researches league trends.
“Clearly many teams rely on a cautious approach,” added his colleague Alberto Zaccheroni, who won Serie A with AC Milan and the Asian Cup while coaching Japan.
“There are some teams that throw in five defenders and play very tight and tight. They want to secure the minimum number of points from the opening game and if given the opportunity, try to take advantage to win the game. “But as the tournament goes on, we’ll see some teams get a little braver,” he predicted.
FIFA says the early games have sparked some interesting tactical trends, including more counter-pressurization with more players and an increased likelihood of successful attacks from crosses. There have been 14 goals at the tournament in Qatar from crosses compared to 3 at the same stadium at the last World Cup four years ago.
Oliseh also said he expects the intensity shown at the tournament to continue despite an energy-intensive schedule with one game every four days at the start of the group stage. “It was a very different World Cup in that the players slept in the same bed every night and each team had its own base. There is no movement from place to place.
“Like all of them are playing at home. They don’t have to deal with the fatigue of constantly moving and I don’t see the players getting tired any time soon,” he added.
- Goalless World Cup draws are the result of a careful approach
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