Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup 1998-2010: Fewest Minutes Leading in the Group Stage & Still Advanced

EDIT: The USA's next opponent, Ghana, joins the list after only leading for 5 minutes.

For the group stages in the 1998-2010 World Cups (with the current format, where only two teams advanced from each group rather than three). Stoppage time is counted as one minute, so each team has 270 minutes to work with.

1 2006 Australia 1
2006 Sweden 1
2010 United States 1
1998 Mexico 16
1998 Norway 21
2006 Mexico 22
2010 Mexico 26
1998 Paraguay 41
2002 Sweden 56

Due to not knowing the exact times in the matches, and also the ease of counting each match as 90 minutes, I've listed the US as tied for first. However, the goals in the other matches (Australia-Japan and Sweden-Paraguay) were both in the 89th minute. Landon Donovan's goal against Algeria was in stoppage time. Depending on the amount in each of the games, they could actually be first.

On the flip side, Algeria only trailed for 12 minutes in their three matches (1 vs USA, 11 vs Slovenia) and still didn't advance. The only country that can better that is 1998 Belgium, which drew three straight times and never trailed. So close to being the USA's fate this time around... Algeria also spent 258 minutes tied, which is the most from this time period.

Also, how about Mexico listed three times? They certainly get the job done every four years.

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