Argentina victory sees South America and Europe maintain grip on World Cup

Argentina Victory Sees South America And Europe Maintain Grip On World Cup
FIFA president Gianni Infantino, left, and The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, present Argentina captain Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophy, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Tom White, PA Sport Data Journalist

Goal records fell and South America and Europe remained the World Cup’s dominant forces as Argentina edged out France for glory in Qatar.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key statistics from the tournament and how it compares to previous editions.


Goals galore

Kylian Mbappe scores his and France's third goal in the final
Kylian Mbappe scores the 172nd goal of the 2022 World Cup (Martin Rickett/PA)

This tournament set a record goal tally for a single World Cup of 172 across the 64 matches.

That surpassed 2018’s goal tally of 169 while extra time in the final saw also the record of 171, set in 1998 and 2014, also eclipsed.


That meant an average of 2.69 goals per game – by way of comparison, Euro 2020 averaged 2.78 with 142 in a smaller 51-game schedule. There were 17 penalties scored, after the three in the final, and only three own goals compared to 22 and 12 last time out.

The 117 different goalscorers in the tournament were five shy of the World Cup record set four years ago, and surely set to be eclipsed in the new 48-team format from 2026.

With 225 yellow cards shown in the tournament, 2022 narrowly edged the 221 in 2018 while matching the four reds on that occasion.

The most striking difference has been stoppage time, with matches averaging 11 additional minutes due to FIFA’s stricter implementation of ball-in-play time. That is up from just over six minutes per match in 2018.


Mbappe matches Ronaldo

Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Belgium in the 2002 World Cup
Ronaldo was the last man to score eight goals at a World Cup (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick in the final saw him pip Lionel Messo to the Golden Boot with the highest goal tally in 20 years.

Since 1978 only former Brazil forward Ronaldo had scored more than six goals in a single World Cup, winning the prize with eight in 2002.


That was followed by two five-goal winners, Germany forwards Miroslav Klose in 2006 and Thomas Muller in 2010, but otherwise six has been the magic number.

Mbappe’s eight – and Messi’s seven – exceeded the tallies of Mario Kempes in 1978, Paolo Rossi and Gary Lineker in 1982 and 1986, Toto Schillaci, joint winners Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov, and Davor Suker in the 1990s and James Rodriguez and Harry Kane in the last two tournaments before this one.

Just Fontaine’s incredible 13 for France in the 1958 tournament remains the all-time record.



UEFA and CONMEBOL remain the only two FIFA confederations to have supplied a World Cup finalist, with 10 South American winners now to 12 from Europe – which has provided 17 runners-up to CONMEBOL’s five.

Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals but Croatia, by seeing them off in Saturday’s play-off, ensured third place went to a European country for the 11th tournament in a row. They joined Germany as the only repeated name on that list of nine different nations.

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