Comeback victories a rarity at this World Cup
By Emma McColl
In a World Cup full of upsets and surprises, following the form guide has not always been the most accurate way to predict winners.
But one way that has emerged as a highly probable indicator of the result has been the half-time score.
Up to and including the quarter-finals, 48 of the 60 matches that had been played resulted in a victory, and in just three of those matches, the team that trailed at half-time went on to win.
A further breakdown of the scoring statistics shows that in 22 matches, the team that went on to win was ahead at the break, while in another 23 matches, that team that went on win was at least level with their opponents.
In those three come-from-behind victories, Switzerland needed a 90th minute winner from Xhedran Shaqiri to beat Serbia and Germany’s match-winning goal from Toni Kroos came in the 95th minute.
The other team to fight back from a half-time deficit was Tunisia in its 2-1 win over Panama.
While only those three teams managed a win from behind, another statistic highlighted the importance of scoring first and being ahead at the break.
Only four teams out of 26 were able to come back from a half-time deficit to secure a draw.
The analysis of half-time scoreline statistics also revealed how much of the goal action in this World Cup has come in the second half with 62 percent of goals being scored after the break .
So, it was no surprise that of the 23 matches were locked at 0-0 at half-time, only one match – the Group C clash between France and Denmark – ended in a scoreless draw.
⚽ Quarter-finals here we come !! 😍
We believed in ourselves until the last minute ! #REDTOGETHER with our fans @Fanclub1895 ! Looking forward to face @CBF_Futebol #BRA
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None of these statistics pick up the most dramatic comeback of the tournament. Belgium and Japan were locked at 0-0 at half-time in their quarter-final match and when the Japanese went 2-0 up in the 52nd minute, the end looked near for the Europeans.
But three goals in the final 21 minutes for Belgium – including the winner four minutes into extra-time – sealed a memorable victory.
The statistics, so far, indicate we might not see too many more of those moments in this World Cup.