The second round of fixtures saw some players rise astronomically, while others failed to build on their opening-day heroics, but overall, there are some interesting numbers coming out of a very successful round of matches for African teams.
The best performers at the Qatar 2022 World Cup so far
Kylian Mbappe and Bruno Fernandes have contributed to the most goals at the World Cup so far with four goal contributions each. Mbappe has scored three and assisted one, while Bruno has scored two and assisted two as well.
They have been part of important team performances as both France and Portugal have claimed maximum points from their opening group stage games and join Brazil as the only teams to qualify for the round of 16.
France have been especially dominant in their opening group games and have registered the most shots on goal at the World Cup so far with 44 efforts against Australia and Denmark, which is almost double what Portugal have managed (24). However, Portugal (5) have scored only one goal less than France (6) because they have been a lot less wasteful than the French.
Portugal have overperformed their expected goals by +1.7, which is currently the fifth-best overperformance in the World Cup. Spain have overperformed their expected goals by the biggest margin at the World Cup with +3.9 goals and have also scored the most goals at the World Cup (8), mostly thanks to their record-breaking 7-0 win over Costa Rica in the opening group game.
Two African countries, Ghana and Cameroon, have also entered the top six for the best finishing at the World Cup, with Ghana’s overperformance of +2.4 being the third best at the World Cup and the best among African teams.
Costa Rica, who were easily the worst team in the first round of matches, pulled off the biggest shock in the second round with a 1-0 win over Japan, who were on a high after beating Germany in their own opening game.
Keysher Fuller’s winner against Japan was Costa Rica’s first goal, and helped them leave the list of teams who are yet to score at the World Cup, which currently includes names like Uruguay, Mexico, and Tunisia.
Kylian Mbappe is having a ball in Qatar
On the player side of things, Kylian Mbappe leads the shooting charts with 13 efforts on goal, an xG of 2.3, and three goals scored, which are all the highest at the World Cup so far.
Joining him on three goals is Ecuador’s Enner Valencia, who scored twice against Qatar and once against the Netherlands with an xG of 2.2 across both games, while attempting only six shots on goal, which is less than half of what Mbappe has managed.
It really has been Mbappe’s World Cup so far, and his devastating pace has been a nightmare for defenders so far. Mbappe also leads the tournament in total ball carries (8), chance creating carries (4), and carries that end in shots (3).
In addition, he has created the joint third-most chances (6) at the World Cup, trailing only Iran’s Mehdi Taremi (9) and his teammate Theo Hernandez (8). And finally, he is in fifth place for the most expected assists at the World Cup.
The best goalkeepers at the World Cup so far
For the men between the sticks, Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny’s immense performance against Saudi Arabia shot him up to the top of the goals prevented standings, displacing Japan’s Shuichi Gonda from the first round.
Szczesny’s performance helped him maintain his position as one of only four goalkeepers in Qatar who has yet to concede. Brazil’s Alisson and the Moroccan duo of Munir and Yassine Bounou are the only other goalkeepers without blemishes after two rounds of incredible football.