Wednesday 08 December 2021, 11:00

The FIFA Arab Cup group stage in numbers

  • Goals, assists, shutouts and cards come into focus as the quarter-finals beckon

  • Morocco stand out with several impressive achievements

  • Seifeddine Jaziri and Akram Afif among the players highlighted

The curtain came down on the FIFA Arab Cup™ group stage yesterday, and with Morocco dazzling, more than a few cards shown and a tense, dramatic conclusion to Group D, it was a fitting note on which to end an action-packed opening phase.

With the quarter-finals now looming large on the horizon, takes a closer look at the teams and players who have already emerged as statistical standouts.

1267 – In winning all three of their matches during the group stage, Morocco continued a stunning run of form. In fact, excluding penalty shootouts, it’s now 31 matches and almost three-and-a-half years – 1267 days to be precise – since the Atlas Lions last lost a competitive game. The man to inflict that particular defeat was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, scorer of the only goal when the Moroccans met Portugal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

100 – Qatar and Morocco were the only teams to emerge from the group stage with a 100 per cent winning record. Both won all three of their matches, reinforcing their status among the tournament favourites.

64 – UAE dominated possession more than any other team in the group stage, enjoying an average of 64 per cent – peaking at 70 per cent in their 1-0 victory over Mauritania. Morocco ranked second in this respect with an average of 60.3 per cent.

61 – A total of 61 goals have been scored across the 24 matches thus far, establishing an average of 2.54 per game.

28 – Morocco won a tournament-high 28 corners during the group stage, including 16 in a single match (their 4-0 win over Jordan). The Moroccans also attempted more shots than anyone else (78), followed by Egypt on 75 and Tunisia on 72.

Match Referee, Matt Conger signals for Faris Abdalla of Sudan to leave the pitch after being sent off during the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Group D match between Sudan and Egypt.

13 – With 72 yellow cards shown and 13 players dismissed, it hasn’t exactly been a friendly and trouble-free tournament to date. Sudan proved - statistically at least – to be the worst offenders, with three players sent off in their final two group games alone.

9 – Nine goals, an impressive average of three per match, established Morocco as the highest scorers of the group stage. Algeria and Egypt follow on seven apiece, while UAE – with just three goals from their fixtures to date – are by some distance the lowest scorers of the eight teams still competing.

Akram Afif of Qatar celebrates with teammates Abdelkarim Hassan and Homam Ahmed after scoring their team's first goal during the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Group B match between Oman and Qatar at Education City Stadium on December 03, 2021 in Doha, Qatar.

4 – Hosts Qatar proved to be specialists in scoring late, with two thirds of their group-stage goals – four out of six in total – coming later than the 80th minute (82, 84, 90+3, 90+8).

3 – Three goals in as many matches have allowed Tunisia’s Seifeddine Jaziri to set the pace as the tournament’s top scorer, one clear of team-mate Firas Ben Larbi, Algeria’s Baghdad Bounedjah, Qatar’s Akram Afif, Oman’s Khalid Al-Hajri, Jordan’s Yazan Al-Naimat and Morocco duo Badr Benoun and Abdelilah Hafidi. Jaziri has been in fine form for his national team in 2021, with seven goals for the Eagles of Carthage across the year.

FAC2021 > Seifeddine Jaziri of Tunisia celebrates > 061221

2 – As well as scoring twice so far, the impressive Akram Afif also boasts two assists. This makes him the tournament’s joint-most potent creator as things stand, level with Oman’s Adbullah Fawaz. 2 – That Oman have found the net in each of their FIFA Arab Cup fixtures thus far should be no surprise. In their last 13 matches, the Reds have only failed to score twice.

Khalid Al Hajri of Oman celebrates with teammates

0 – Morocco ended the group stage as the only team yet to concede a goal at the FIFA Arab Cup. Defensive solidity is one of the foundations of an Atlas Lions side that has also conceded just once in their six 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers to date.