November 14, 2022 10:42 AM
Last modified date: December 19, 2022 2:36 PM
Alex Lawes

What is the goals per game average of FIFA World Cup knockout games?

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At the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Brazil, the goals per game average fell off dramatically between the group stages and the knockout stages.

The overall rate for the tournament ended up at 2.67 goals per game. However, that number in the group stages was 2.83 before falling to 2.19 in the knockout stages – with that number being boosted considerably by Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semi-finals. Without that historic evening, the other 15 knockout matches consisted of just 27 goals; a rate of just 1.8.

With that in mind, this is a look at the history of the goals per game rate in the knockout stages of every FIFA World Cup…

*The 1950 FIFA World Cup did not have a knockout stage with just a final group stage format. So, for that reason, it has been left out of the following graph. The same goes for the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cup’s, which just had a second group stage and then a final.

What the graph shows is that the knockout goal rate has fallen fairly dramatically between 1982 and the tournament in the 21st century. Despite that, though, there was an up-tick in the goals per game rate at the previous FIFA World Cup in 2018, in Russia.

With sophisticated styles of play becoming more prominent and prevalent in modern football, especially in attack as shown in the higher goals per game averages in the UEFA Champions League in recent seasons, it will be intriguing to see whether that number rises again this time around in Qatar.

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