Wednesday 30 March 2016, 08:28

Record breakers and international icons

The most famous footballing sons of Mostoles, Rosario and Sydney feature in’slatest stats review, alongside a man who was delivering post a few years ago and one European behemoth ending a long drought against another.


Spain appearances is what Iker Casillas reached on Sunday to surpass Latvia’s Vitalijs Astafjevs and become the most-capped European in history. Only Egyptian pair Ahmed Hassan (184) and Hossam Hassan (178), Mexico’s Claudio Suarez (177), Saudi Arabian Mohamed Al-Deayea (172) and Ivan Hurtado of Ecuador outrank the 34-year-old Porto goalkeeper. Casillas commemorated the occasion by saving Spain in a 0-0 draw in Romania – a result which left them with back-to-back stalemates for the first time in 12 years. South Africa 2010’s adidas Golden Glove recipient has now kept clean sheets in eight consecutive internationals dating back to a 2-1 loss to Slovakia in October 2014.


years after last scoring more than thrice against Italy – and 21 years after last beating them – Germany ended these sequences with a 4-1 success in Munich. Only Stephan El Shaarawy’s late goal prevented Die Mannschaft eclipsing their record reverse of Gli Azzurri – a 5-2 win in 1939. The Germans’ last win in the fixture had been 2-0 in 1995. They had since gone seven matches without victory, during which the Italians had dumped them out of the UEFA European Championship of 1996 and 2012, as well as the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ semi-finals in an extra-time thriller.


per cent (27 goals in 36 appearances) is Tim Cahill’s scoring ratio in qualifiers for matches at the FIFA World Cup™ after his double in a 5-1 win over Jordan powered Australia into the final round of the Asian preliminaries. The 36-year-old has, by contrast, netted only 20 goals in 53 other games for his country. The Jordanians' 11th-hour consolation in Sydney was the first goal the Socceroos had conceded at home in over 580 minutes of World Cup qualifying action.


Argentina goals is the tally that Lionel Messi became just the second man to reach, this in his 107th international against Bolivia on Tuesday. Ironically, the 28-year-old did it at the same venue, the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes in Cordoba, in which Gabriel Batistuta joined the half-century club in just his 69th international. Messi’s first-half penalty left him just one goal shy of 500 career goals, while the 2-0 victory left Argentina having scored 15 goals without reply since Bolivia last netted against them. Furthermore, Tata Martino’s team registered the highest possession (80 per cent) and passing accuracy (90 per cent) of any team thus far in South American qualifying for the 21st World Cup.


games unbeaten is the run that Northern Ireland have strung together for the first time. Conor Washington, a 23-year-old who was working as a postman and playing non-league football until fairly recently, scored the only goal past Slovenia’s Jan Oblak - one of the most expensive goalkeepers in history - to extend this sequence on Monday. It saw the Northern Irish surpass the nine matches without defeat Pat Jennings, Sammy McIlroy, Norman Whiteside and Co managed before a 2-1 loss to Spain at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

Quick hits 100caps is the milestone Shinji Okazaki became only the fifth Japanese player to reach against Syria.

79international appearances is the tally on to which Fernando Muslera climbed against Peru to outrank Rodolfo Rodriguez as Uruguay’s most-capped keeper.

13home World Cup qualifiers without defeat is the record run Uruguay moved on to with a 1-0 victory over Peru.