Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:58
Reuters: In a World Cup packed with thrilling high-scoring matches, own goals are playing a prominent role as the drama unfolds in Brazil.
Indeed, after just 11 matches, own goals sit proudly at the top of the list of leading scorers in Brazil with a total of three. This is an unlikely achievement, given there have only been a total of 39 scored in 19 World Cups.
In the tournament’s opening match last Thursday, Brazil defender Marcelo diverted the ball into his own net to give Croatia a shock lead and become the first Brazilian to score for the opposition in World Cup finals history.
Three days later the own goal was back, this time with a double shot of calamity.
In the second game on Sunday, a shot by French forward Karim Benzema cannoned off the post and looked to be heading to safety before Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares inadvertently clawed the ball over his own goalline.
His desperate effort to scramble the ball away proved in vain, a decision confirmed after the first use of goalline technology at the World Cup.
Sead Kolasinac of Bosnia later claimed the fastest own goal in the tournament’s history when he stabbed the ball past his goalkeeper in the third minute of the Group F game against Argentina.
The record number of own goals in an individual tournament was six in 1998 in France but that record must be under threat with 53 games left in Brazil.
Bulgaria, Mexico and Spain are the World Cup own goal specialists with three each, while Trinidad & Tobago are the only country to have scored more own goals than regular goals.
The Caribbean team’s Brent Sancho netted for Paraguay in a group game at the 2006 World Cup and the Trinidadians failed to put the ball in their opponents’ net in three games at the tournament.