Football / Preview / World Cup Team Goals

World Cup: Team Goals

Here we look at the Spreads being offered on Total Team Goals and achieve strong recommendations on three different nations.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Total Goals

The last 10 World Cups have averaged 162 goals. Not all World Cups have had the same number of matches but based on goals per match multiplied by the current number of matches (64), the highest total would have been Spain 1982 with 175 and the lowest Italy 1990 with 136. Since 170 goals were scored in France in 1998, there has been a decline with 158 in 2002 and 144 in Germany. Many forecast the last World Cup as low scorer because of a lack of quality strikers and the more defensively minded formation of 4-5-1 favoured by most teams. There are plenty of quality strikers this year, so we’d certainly expect the Germany total to be exceeded.

The closest indicator to how many total goals there may be comes from the average goals per game in second round of group matches. Since 1982 this average has been almost identical to the final average, except for 2002 when there were 2.12 GPM in the second round group of games compared to 2.47 for the tournament. As you might expect, average goals per game rises during the group matches and falls during the knockout stage.


1st half v 2nd half goals

Since 1970, there have never been more goals scored in the first half compared to the second period. 2008, 1994 and 1978 came close with a difference of less than 10 but otherwise at least 20% more have been scored after the break and in 1982 and 1990 it was close to a 100%. That difference is much more pronounced in the group stage than the knockout phase, where in the past four World Cups there has been little difference in goal activity pre and post 45 minutes.


Team Goals*

Past tournaments offer some guide to how teams are likely to do in this market and we’ve looked at those we feel are most relevant since the second group stage was abolished. Argentina have a current quote of 8.7-9.3 which only once have they comfortably cleared (14 in 1986) but in five of their last 10 World Cups they have scored four or more in one of the group matches which suggests they should be traded come the knockout stage.

Brazil (10.5-11.2) are expected to be heavy scorers and have covered that market only when winning in 2002 and reaching the final four years previously. They lack a striker to match those of the past and a strong group and a more defensively minded manager would make us wary of any buy.    

England’s (10.3-11)
quote is based on them going deep in the competition and scoring at the same level as they did in qualifying. They’ve never come close to scoring 11 goals in any of their World Cups since 1970 – the seven they scored in 1998 and 1986 being their highest return.

Germany (7-7.6) would have returned a profit in each of the last 10 World Cups largely because they’ve always played five or more matches. 1998 and 1986 was their lowest return (8) and they bucked the low scoring trend of Italia 90 by scoring 15 and nearly matched that in 2002 and 2006.Their low quote this year is based on the poor domestic scoring record of their main strikers Klose and Podorski and the perception that Germany may struggle to match their success at previous tournaments.  

Netherlands (7.6-8.2) while there are doubts about Arjen Robben’s participation; we’d still expect the Dutch to score goals just as they did in Euro 2008 (10). Germany was a disappointment when they scored just three but they were in the group of death and Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Robben were comparatively inexperienced 22-year-olds. Prior to Germany they scored 21 goals in their previous two World Cups

It’s no surprise that Spain (11.3 -12) are the highest quoted team and they scored eight goals in the Euro 2008 group matches as they did in the 2006 and 2002 World Cup group stages. Brazil scored 18 goals when they won the World Cup in 2002 and France 14 in 1998 but Italy only 10, fours years ago, and Brazil just 11 in 1994. Spain have come close to their current quote (11 in 1986, 10 in 1994 and 2002) despite never making a semi-final. Expect them to score at least three in one of their group matches which they’ve done in four of the last five World Cups.

The other teams make little appeal either because they haven’t reached the Finals on enough occasions or, like Italy, have proved to be too unreliable,.

*Only applies to goals scored in 90 minutes play.



Buy Germany total goals at 7.6 Sporting Index
Buy Netherlands total goals at 8.2 Sporting Index
Sell England total goals at 10.3 Sporting Index

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