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The group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia is over and the world’s best 16 teams now prepare for the second round. We review the key statistics of how they got there, or in Germany’s case how they didn’t...

Records to admire, records that are dire

Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay underscored their pedigree by winning all three of their matches to top Group A without conceding a goal. Croatia and Belgium are the only other teams to have won all three of their group matches. At the other end of the spectrum, Egypt and Panama lost all three of their matches, with Panama also notching up the worst defensive record by conceding nine goals.

The first-round curse strikes Germany

Germany could only score two goals and win one match, which left them at the foot of Group F. Remarkably, it’s the fourth time in the last five World Cups that the defending champions have failed to advance from the first round. This embarrassment befell 1998 title holders France in 2002, and Italy, the winners in 2006, were knocked out of the first round in 2010. Spain, meanwhile, who won the tournament in South Africa, were disgraced four years later in Brazil, also failing to advance to the last 16.

Goals, goals, goals...and more own goals

Belgium are the tournament’s leading scorers with nine goals in the group stage, while Harry Kane is the top scorer with five, despite only featuring in two of England’s three matches. He is shaded by the number of own goals scored, which stands at a tournament record of nine. Yet no player has more than two assists. Colombian duo Juan Fernando Quintero and James Rodriguez both have two assists apiece, as do Russia’s Aleksandr Golovin, Sweden’s Viktor Claesson, and Uruguay’s Carlos Sanchez.

Africa endures worst World Cup since 1982

Nigeria were just five minutes away from qualifying from Group D and Senegal were eliminated from Group H by the cruellest of metrics: their disciplinary record. This after the Lions of Teranga finished level with Japan on points, goals scored, goals against, and goal difference. The net result is that no African side has made it to the second round for the first time since 1982 when Algeria won two matches but failed to progress. It’s a step back for the continent, which had two teams in the last 16 four years ago.  

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