Qatar Data: Brazil make early mark on World Cup, Ronaldo breaks another record

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Qatar Data: Brazil make early mark on World Cup, Ronaldo breaks another record
Brazil celebrate Richarlison's goal
Brazil celebrate Richarlison's goal
Profimedia
Few have been as watched on arrival at the World Cup as Cristiano Ronaldo. An interview criticising Manchester United and then the termination of his contract at the English club doesn’t seem like the ideal warm up to the tournament. Ghana awaited Ronaldo in his first game in Qatar, but we'll go pretty chronological in our data recap.
QATAR DATA 24/11
Stats Perform, Reuters

The fifth day of the World Cup kicked off with Switzerland taking on Cameroon. The packed stands watched an evenly matched game, which was finally decided by a single goal just after the break by Bríl Embolo, a Cameroonian native. We can see the goal action in the graphic representation.

Embolo scored the only goal of the game
StatsPerform

It shows that the whole situation started from Switzerland's left touchline. With eight passes, the Europeans then managed to move the ball first to the right, then again to the left and in the final phase to the right side of the penalty area. This tore apart an otherwise fairly clogged Cameroon defence and gave Embolo the space to score.

That it was an even match is shown by the popular expected goals statistic. It was Embolo's chance from which the goal fell that was the only thing that differentiated the two teams in this metric. Cameroon can be very sorry that this momentary lack of concentration meant zero points for them on Thursday.

Switzerland Cameroon XG
StatsPerform

See Switzerland vs Cameroon at Flashscore

NEVER in history have eight teams entered a World Cup with a goalless draw. In Qatar, that historical truth was rewritten as Uruguay and South Korea recorded the fourth nil-nil result of the tournament. This was despite the fact that Uruguay fielded famous offensive aces, Luis Suarez, Liverpool's Darwin Nunez as well as Edinson Cavani off the bench 

Suarez will probably want to forget the game because he didn't have his best performance. Take a look at the heatmap of the Nacional striker. He was everywhere and nowhere, so to speak, and only recorded two touches with the ball in the opponent's penalty area in the entire match.

Suarez heat map
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For comparison, we can also look at the heatmap of Cavani, who replaced Suarez in the 64th minute. For him, the position of centre forward is much more noticeable by movement. Cavani also looked more carefree, but Uruguay could not get a goal out of either veteran.

Cavani heat map
StatsPerform

Even the ineptitude of the South American strikers led to one unflattering statistic. In fact, for the entire ninety minutes, the fans did not see a single shot on target. That has never happened in a World Cup this century.

Uruguay match stats
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See Uruguay vs South Korea at Flashscore

The goal fest during the fifth day of play came in Portugal's match against Ghana. After the first half, the score was nil-nil. But after half-time, everything changed, a total of five goals were contested and the Portuguese won 3-2. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in history to score in five World Cups with his goal from the penalty spot.

Ronaldo came close to scoring in the first half, but he was burning chances. The clear dominance of the Portuguese throughout the match is reflected in this graphic. Look how toothless the Ghanaians were in the first half and In the opening thirty minutes, they didn't have a single touch of the ball in the opposition's penalty area. Few would have expected them to score two goals in the second half.

Portgual Ghana momentum
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Let's take a look at Ronaldo's individual stats. Four shots and five duels won clearly show how much appetite the newly unemployed striker had in Qatar. On the other hand, the 1.3 expected goals are proof that Ronaldo still has room to move up in productivity later in the tournament.

Ronaldo stats
StatsPerform

See Portugal vs Ghana at Flashscore

The last match of the day was between Brazil and Serbia. In the first half, the Serbians fought off Brazil's attacking power, but after the break Brazil was able to capitalize. Two goals from Richarlison, who along with Saka, Taremi, Giroud, Valencia and Torres, leads the scorers' table of the tournament.

If you didn't see the match, the expected goals will best illuminate its course. You can see from the graph that the Brazilians, who are on the blue curve, only really got going in the second half. You will also notice that the Serbs did increase their offensive activity after the first goal, but this only led to the second Brazilian goal.

Brazil XG
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Comparing the two teams, it is clear that Aleksandar Mitrovic was not proving as much of a threat to the Brazilian goal. Compared to Richarlison, he got more passes into him and had to work harder for his team further back. Richarlison though showed great efficiency, two goals from just two shots.

Mitro vs Richarlison
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And let's take a look at the stats of another Brazilian star, Neymar. He had a good performance against Serbia, missing only a goal to cap a perfect night. Note the foul statistics. He has been fouled by his opponents a total of nine times and is the most fouled player of the tournament so far.  Hopefully, the injury he was subbed off for will not affect him for their next group game on Monday out of the next few games.

Neymar stats
StatsPerform

See Brazil vs Serbia at Flashscore

All the teams in the tournament have played their opening games. And finally, one encouraging statistic - no one has received a red card yet. That hasn't happened in the first round of a World Cup since 1986. Let's hope this trend continues!