THERE have been three major surprises at this World Cup. Costa Rica’s unlikely success, the number of goals that have been scored – at least in the group stages – and the leniency showed by the referees.
There were an average of 2.8 goals per game throughout the group stages and we’ve already seen the total goals haul from South Africa four years ago beaten. Having predicted a total of 158 goals pre-tournament, Sporting Index will be relieved that the lack of goals in the second round has seen the tide slowly turn.
With eight games left and all quarter-finals looking affairs with the potential to be settled by the odd goal, there may even still be mileage in selling total goals at the revised figure of 165.7.
The third-place play-off could be the one high-scoring fixture as teams let their hair down, but almost every other tie looks set to be tight.
The rationale behind an original prediction of total yellow cards at 275 was that referees were expected to clamp down on dissent, diving and bad tackles. The heat was also expected to be a factor in tempers flaring on the pitch.
But a real reluctance from the officials to dip their fingers into their pockets has seen only 147 yellows issued, at a rate of just 2.6 a game.
This has left Sporting Index massively short and the quote has been forced right down to 175-178 now. Selling is advised.