In the World Cup, goalless draws come cautiously.
FIFA’s technical study group said on Saturday that a cautious approach by many teams in the opening round of the World Cup was behind the record number of goalless draws at the tournament in Qatar.
But he predicted that the games would become more elaborate, and the goals would begin to flow, once teams had the chance to qualify for the knockout stages or face the prospect of an early exit.
Four of the opening 16 matches were played without a goal – an unprecedented return of 25% in the first round of group games – and a fifth on Friday as England and the United States deadlocked in their second game of the tournament in Qatar.
The record number of 0-0 draws at the World Cup is seven, which has occurred in four different editions of the tournament, but Qatar 2022 is already close to that number with just 20 of the 64 scheduled games completed before Saturday’s matches. At the last World Cup in Russia, there was a goalless draw, when Denmark and France failed to score in the group stage contest.
“Teams don’t want to take too much risk,” said former Nigeria international Sunday Olesia, part of a FIFA panel of experts studying tournament trends.
“The statistics from the past show that about 70 percent of the teams that lose their first match at the World Cup are out after the first round and I think the teams are aware of that,” he told a news briefing on Saturday. added.
“Clearly a lot of teams are relying on a cautious approach,” added teammate Alberto Zaccroni, who won Serie A with AC Milan and the Asian Cup when he was Japan coach.
“There were several teams who fielded five defenders and played very tight and compact. They wanted to at least secure a point from their opening game and try to win the game if the opportunity arose. “But as As the tournament progresses we will see teams get a little braver,” he predicted.
FIFA said that the opening matches had given rise to several interesting tactical trends, particularly counter-pressing with multiple players and increased attacking success from crosses. There have been 14 goals from crosses in the tournament in Qatar compared to three goals in the same phase in the previous World Cup four years ago.
Olesya also said that he expects the high intensity on display in the tournament even if the initial group stage has an energy-sapping schedule of one match every four days.
“It’s a very different World Cup with the players sleeping in the same bed every night and each team has its own base. There is no traveling from venue to venue.
“They all seem to be playing at home. They don’t face the fatigue that comes from constantly moving around and I don’t see the players getting tired early,” he added.