Raghu Srinivasan


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FIFA World Cup

If there's a sport that can claim to be truly international, it is neither Cricket nor Baseball nor Basketball. It is Football. More than 200 countries play the game across all 5 continents, though the game has been heavily dominated by teams from Europe and South America. This post is a data visualization exercise for the FIFA World Cup. It covers data from the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 through to the 2014 FIFA World cup but leaves out the 2018 tournament in Sochi, Russia.

This is based off a Kaggle Dataset with a liberal license.

Which country has played in the most FIFA World Cups?

A total of 82 countries have played in a FIFA World Cup at one time or another. Germany and Brazil have played the most often with over 100 matches each! The interesting thing is that the USA where Football is well behind Baseball, Basketball and (American) Football in popularity is in 15th place. Now 15th isn't impressive in itself but it is actually ahead of countries that are more Football-crazy such as Chile, Poland, Hungary etc.


Which country has won the most FIFA World Cups?

Only 8 of the 82 countries i.e. less than 10% have actually won it. Brazil tops this exclusive list with 5 wins with both Italy and Germany in 2nd place with 4 wins each.


How many goals have been scored in each edition of the FIFA World Cup?

It seems like the number of goals scored in each FIFA World Cup has steadily climbed from 70-ish in 1930 to 170-ish in 2014. The 'gap' years are when the FIFA World Cup was cancelled during World War II. Can the number of goals scored per game have actually gone up by 150%?


How many goals have been scored per match in each edition of the FIFA World Cup?

This graph tells the opposite story. Even if total goals have gone up because of more teams and more matches in each FIFA World Cup the average goals per match have gone down. In 1930 it was almost 4 goals/match rising to a peak of 5.5 goals/match in the 1954 edition (held in Switzerland) and have steadily dropped since to being under 3 goals/match now. Teams have become better at defense than at offense.


Stadium Attendance at the FIFA World Cup

As expected, the attendance for FIFA matches has steadily gone up over the past 85 years. The increase is primarily driven by the number of matches in each edition going up.


Hopefully that was interesting! If you liked this, please check out the IPL Cricket Visualization


email: raghu@raghusrinivasan.com