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Knockout stages

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, June 27, 2014

CRUNCH time!

With 12 teams confirmed for the second stage top 16 competition in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the true battle for the ultimate prize begins now.

Brazil will take on Chile in the opening knockout match followed by Colombia-Uruguay, France-Nigeria, Netherlands-Mexico, Croatia-Greece and Argentina-Switzerland matches.

While teams battle to remain in the World Cup, there is also duel between players for individual awards.

Most prominent of them is the Golden Boot which is awarded to the player who scores the most number of goals in the tournament.

As expected, Argentine Lionel Messi leads the race alongside Brazil's Neymar on four goals each.

Messi played 243 minutes in the three group matches. He scored all those four goals with his left foot.

The most valuable footballer took 11 shots out of which only five were on target.

Brazil star Neymar, who has also scored four goals in the group stage, is probably one of the most effective finishers. Out of the nine shots he took at the opposition goal, eight of them were on target. He has played 249 minutes in the last three matches and boasts an average of 62 minutes per goal. Neymar scored three goals with his right foot and one of his goals came through a spot kick.

The third most lethal finisher in this World Cup is Colombia's James Rodriguez. He has scored three goals and made two assists. Rodriguez played 225 minutes and during that, he hit five out of six shots on target. He scored two with his left foot and the other came through a header.

French finisher Karim Benzema also scored three goals and made two assists in the 270 minutes he played. He has 69 per cent shots on target rate and scored all three goals with his right foot.

Thomas Muller of Germany is likely to overtake Messi and Neymar in the scoring sheet after claiming three goals in only 172 minutes on the field - an average of 57 minutes per goal. He also provided one assist.

Top runner in this World Cup so far is Chilean Marcelo Diaz, who has covered a distance of 36, 687 metres while England number two goalkeeper Ben Foster heads the top saves.

Argentina's Javier Mascherano has completed the most passes on 278. His passes completion rate is 89.4 per cent of which 14 per cent were short passes, 69.1 per cent were medium and 16.9 per cent were long passes.

In team achievement, Netherlands is the top goal scoring side on 10 goals, all of which were scored through open play. Their average is more than three goals per game.

France is the best attacking team in the World Cup. From 62 attempts, they have scored seven goals, 13 shots were blocked, 19 shots were saved and 23 were off target.

Defending champions Spain, which has kissed the tournament goodbye, are the best passers with a completion rate of 82 per cent. The side completed 594 short passes, 969 medium passes and 145 long passes.

In defending, Iran tops the list with 72 tackles, 12 saves and eight blocks.

Switzerland versus France fixture, which the latter won 5-2, is the highest scoring match in this World Cup so far. Five goals were score through open play while two through set piece. The match also yielded the most number of attempts at goal on 39 of which 24 were on target.

France versus Honduras game, which the French won by 3-0, recorded the most number of yellow cards on six and a red following successive booking.

In passes completed, England versus Italy match had the highest on 1223.

* Stats from FIFA and BBC.





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