An analysis of results involving the 32 teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup shows that Belgium have been the most attacking and Morocco the most defensive team over the past three years, reports Hindustan Times.
Data from the football website eloratings.net for the period January 1, 2015 to June 6, 2018 shows that Belgium have scored 100 goals in 37 matches at a rate of 2.7 goals scored per game. Morocco in the 36 matches they have played since then have only conceded 0.47 goals per game. That's around one goal conceded every two games.
Among the 32 teams, Nigeria played the least number of games (29) during this period, while Mexico played the most (67).
One reason this may be so is because of the kind of qualifiers European and South American teams play to get to the World Cup. The 10-team South American qualifying group is one of the toughest with each team playing each other home and away in a round robin format.
The European teams on the other hand have to qualify out of five to six-team groups where some of the teams are very weak. For example, one of the teams that Belgium had to face in its group was Gibraltar. Belgium are currently 3rd in the FIFA men's national team rankings while Gibraltar are at a lowly 195th.
Predictably, one of the matches between the two turned into a drubbing for the minnows Gibraltar, with Belgium beating them 9-0 back in September 2017.
Now let's take a look about defensive World Cup teams over the past three years, sorted by how few goals they've conceded per game.
Morocco's place at the very top is intriguing. A lot of the games this African nation would have played over the past three years would have been qualifiers for the World Cup as well as the continental tournament, the African Cup of Nations.
This might lead us to think that the quality of the opposition in Africa might not be much, because of which there are so few goals scored against Morocco. But if we look at the qualifying group that Morocco emerged from, it was actually placed with two teams that were higher than them in the then FIFA rankings.
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