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Stats wrap: A look back

Friday, July 6, 2018
Japan fans

Kuala Lumpur: Japan’s last-gasp elimination to Belgium in the Round of 16 ended Asia’s hopes at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, but the Continent’s five sides produced some excellent performances on the global stage. 

As the competition now enters the latter stages, looks back to highlight that stats and facts that stood out from our teams' thrilling contribution to football’s biggest showpiece.

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Record tally

Asia’s representatives amassed a record points total of 15 in Russia, with four of the five teams securing a win and every side gaining at least a point.

The previous highest had been set in 2002, when Japan and Korea Republic gained seven points apiece, and in 2010, when the points were shared between the East Asian pair and Australia.

In good company

Saudi Arabia grew into the competition after a late start, no one more so than midfielder Salman Al Faraj, who created 11 chances for his teammates in the group stage.

Only four players in the whole tournament (Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Carlos Vela and Kieran Trippier) are currently above Al Faraj – and they have all played a game more.

Mr. Dependable

Japan defender Maya Yoshida was kept busy at the back, playing a huge part in his side’s run to the knockout rounds, and making 33 clearances over the Samurai Blue’s four games.

Not only is that more than his Asian counterparts, it is also a tournament-leading total. Yoshida is two ahead of Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich and four in front of Denmark’s Simon Kjaer.

The main man

Son Heung-min is out on front when it comes to efforts on goal, with the Taeguk Warrior trying his luck a total of 13 times in just three games, three more than Australia’s Matthew Leckie.

The forward enhanced his reputation with a stunning late strike against Sweden, before rounding off one of the shocks of the tournament with a 97th-minute goal in the 2-0 win over Germany.

Defensive masterclass

The Islamic Republic of Iran showed the world just how stubborn their defence can be, with their supremely organised backline conceding just twice, despite the caliber of opposition they faced.

Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was another who gained plenty plaudits, with the save from Ronaldo’s penalty the highlight of a tremendous display as the last line of defence.

From the spot

Asian sides found the back of the net a combined total of 15 times in Russia, with each team registering at least two goals and Japan out in front with six.

One third of the goals, meanwhile, were penalties as four of the five teams were awarded spot kicks. Australia’s Mile Jedinak netted both the Socceroos’ goals from 12 yards out.

Super savers

Eiji Kawashima’s 14 saves were more than any other goalkeeper from an Asian side, with Korea Republic’s Cho Hyun-woo (12) and Australia’s Mat Ryan (10) next, both having played a game less.

The Japanese custodian was third on the overall standings after the Round of 16, with only Mexico’s Ochoa Guillermo (25) and Denmark’s Kasper Schmeichel (17) above him.

Leaving in late

Iran, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia scored seven goals between them and, amazingly, all of them came in added time, with Morocco’s own-goal against the Iranians starting the trend.

Salem Al Dawsari’s 95th-minute strike gave the Saudis three points against Egypt, while Kim Young-gwon and Son sealed victory over Germany in stoppage time.

Photos: Getty Images

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