Glut of last-gasp goals spice up the World Cup

The 2018 World Cup has been demonstrative of everything that's great about football, but it has also been extra special.

Nacer Chadli turned out to be the hero for Belgium after netting the last-gasp winner (94th minute) against Japan in the last-16.   -  (Getty Images)

The World Cup is special for many reasons, among them: people are emotionally invested in the tournament, pride of the countries is involved (in certain cases because football stands as a country's identity) and the significance is raised by the fact that it is the most popular sport and the World Cup is the most-watched sporting event.

The 2018 World Cup has been demonstrative of everything that's great about football, but it has also been extra special. The reason is goals scored in the dying moments of matches — at times, with the last kick of the match (like Nacer Chadli's 94th-minute winner against Japan to help Belgium progress to the quarterfinals).

Read: Mandzukic powers Croatia to summit clash

Sportstar has put together an analysis of the last-gasp goals scored at this World Cup and how the number has compared to the previous editions.

When Russia's Denis Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin scored two goals in stoppage time against Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, little would anyone have known that this was going to herald a new trend across World Cups.

The visualisation shows overall goals and the number of crunch-time goals across World Cups.

 

Exactly 22.15 per cent of all goals scored so far in the World Cup have been scored in crunch-time — defined as the last 10 minutes of the game, including stoppage time and goals scored in the last 10 minutes of extra time, if the game extended that far. That is the highest ever proportion of crunch-time goals since the 1938 World Cup, which registered 22.62 per cent of such goals.

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In absolute numbers — 35 goals — this is the highest ever, suggesting that this World Cup has had the most climactic moments compared to the past. 22 of those 35 goals were in stoppage time alone. Clearly in Russia, the edge-of-the-seat affairs are not over until the fat lady begins to sing. 

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