25 interesting stats from 2014 World Cup UEFA qualifying

-53 – San Marino had the worst goal difference amongst the 53 nations in qualifying.

0 – Spain didn’t concede a single goal in their away qualifiers, but kept just one clean sheet in four home matches.

0 – Andorra and San Marino failed to pick up a single point in qualifying.

1 – Bosnia & Herzegovina are the only group winners who qualified for the World Cup for the first time.

1 – Alessandro Della Valle scored San Marino’s only goal in qualifying. He also scored an own goal.

3 – Spain conceded the fewest goals.

3 – Denmark, Serbia and Slovakia all won their qualifying groups for the 2010 World Cup that failed to reach the 2014 World Cup.

4 – Croatia, Greece, Norway and Portugal were the four nations who were top seeds in the draw who did not win their group. Croatia, Greece and Portugal all reached the playoffs whilst Norway finished fourth in their group.

4 – Cristiano Ronaldo scored 4 goals in qualifying. 3 of these came in a single game versus Northern Ireland.

6 – England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland have all won their groups for each of the last two World Cup qualifying campaigns.

6 – David Alaba, Eden Ben Basat, Tomer Hemed, Robbie Keane all scored the most goals (6) amongst players who failed to finish in the top two in their group. Both Hélder Postiga and Zlatan Ibrahimović also scored 6 goals and will compete in November’s playoffs to determine whether they and their country progress to the 2014 World Cup.

9 – The nine group winners in Europe and therefore qualifying for the 2014 World Cup were: Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.

9 – Ukraine’s 9-0 win over San Marino was the biggest margin of victory.

9th – Denmark picked up the fewest points amongst the nine group runners-up and therefore missed out on the playoffs.

11 – Robin van Persie was the top scorer in qualifying.

13 – Ukraine had more different goalscorers than any European nation in qualifying.

16 – Belgium were the most-improved nation from the previous World Cup qualifying group; improving by 16 points from 10 to 26 from their 10 matches.

28 – Germany and the Netherlands picked up the most points in qualifying, each dropping just 2, drawing with Sweden and Estonia respectively.

28 – Only four nations scored more goals than Ukraine in qualifying, but the Eastern European nation still failed to win their group, finishing behind England.

+29 – The Netherlands had the best goal difference.

36 – Germany scored the most goals in their 10 matches.

73% – No group winner picked up a lower percentage of points than England or Italy.

80% – 4 of the top 5 goalscorers in qualifying (Robin van Persie, Edin Džeko, Mesut Özil and Wayne Rooney) play in the Premier League. Vedad Ibišević of VfB Stuttgart was the exception.

386 – There were 386 different goalscorers (excluding own goals) in qualifying.

730 – 730 goals were scored in the 260 qualifying matches, averaging 2.81 goals per game.

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