Using World Cup Facts to Find Winning Trends

Patrick Lynch
By Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert
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Updated Nov 15, 2022
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Read time 17 min

Many bettors realize they can use World Cup facts to improve their chances of winning. In the investment world, an old saying claims that “the trend is your friend.” This also applies to sports betting, particularly major events such as the World Cup, which has had many editions.

The process involves analyzing World Cup history to determine if you see any prevailing trends. For example, you might find that certain nations only perform well when the tournament occurs on a specific continent. From there, you try to determine the trend’s strength and check relevant markets. At that point, you have to decide if the odds are tempting enough to place a bet.

This article analyzes wonderful and weird World Cup facts, examining the data to see if there are useful betting trends.

Five Fascinating World Cup Fun Facts

World Cup history features some remarkable achievements, not to mention plenty of embarrassing moments for individuals and nations. You might not realize it, but analyzing what seem to be World Cup curiosities could provide you with useful information to guide your wagers.

Here are five interesting FIFA World Cup facts that could give you an angle to attack the bookies.

1. Young Guns

At 17 years and 41 days, Norman Whiteside remains the youngest player to participate in a World Cup when he played for Northern Ireland in 1982. The legendary Pele has the record for the youngest goalscorer. He was 17 years and 239 days young when he netted for Brazil against Wales in the 1958 World Cup quarter-final. Pele scored a hat-trick in the semi-final and two goals in the final!

Talented youngsters likely to play in the 2022 edition (age in brackets) include:

  • Youssoufa Moukoko (17) – Germany
  • Gavi (18) – Spain
  • Yunus Musah (19 – Turns 20 during the tournament) – United States
  • Jude Bellingham (19) – England
  • Eduardo Camavinga (20) – France

Of the above, Bellingham, an attacking midfielder, is arguably the most likely to be the youngest goalscorer in the tournament.

2. Old Stagers

Essam El Hadary is the oldest player to compete in a World Cup game. He was 45 years and 161 days old when he played in goal for Egypt at the 2018 World Cup. Meanwhile, Roger Milla is the oldest World Cup goalscorer. Milla was 42 years and 39 days old when he got a consolation in Cameroon’s thrashing against Russia in the 1994 event.

Here are a few aging stars who may get to represent their countries in a World Cup for the last time:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (37) – Portugal
  • Thiago Silva (38) – Brazil
  • Dani Alves (39) – Brazil
  • Luka Modric (37) – Croatia
  • Olivier Giroud (36) – France

Of the above, the legendary striker Ronaldo is the most likely to be the tournament’s oldest goalscorer.

3. Fast Starters

Hakan Sukur holds the record for the quickest-ever World Cup goal. Incredibly, he struck for Turkey against South Korea in just 10.89 seconds during the 2002 World Cup third-place playoffs. There have been five occasions where a player scored in the first 30 seconds of a World Cup match.

What games are the most likely to feature early action? It is easy to stick to possible mismatches, but it can happen in almost any game. A prime example is Bryan Robson’s goal for England versus France in 1982 after just 27 seconds. However, a few possible options for quick goals include:

  • Belgium versus Canada
  • England versus Iran
  • Netherlands versus Qatar
  • Germany versus Costa Rica
  • France versus Tunisia

4. We Have Lift Off

World Cup facts from the early tournaments are always fun to know. Lucien Laurent has the honor of scoring the first-ever World Cup goal. He scored for France against Uruguay in 1930. The tournament’s first goal is always a relief, a sign that the World Cup has really started.

Recently, the opening game features the hosts, a tradition that only began in 2006. From 1950 to 1970, the first match usually included the host. From 1974 to 2002, the holders played in the first game.

Until the last few tournaments, the opening game was often cagey. The four games from 1966 to 1978 were all 0-0 draws, with three goals only happening once between 1966 and 2002.

Memorable opening games include Senegal beating France 1-0 in 2002 (Bouba Diop with the goal) and Cameroon defeating Argentina 1-0 in 1990 (Omam Biyik scored) despite ending the game with nine players.

Who will score the first goal in the Qatar versus Ecuador match? The South American team is allowed to play. They were at risk of being expelled from the tournament for fielding an ineligible player in a qualifier against Chile. With 35 goals in 74 appearances, veteran striker Enner Valencia is Ecuador’s biggest threat.

For the hosts, Almoez Ali is their main goal threat, with 42 goals in 85 appearances. However, a low-scoring game is on the cards. Therefore, we may need to wait until England versus Iran or even Senegal against the Netherlands for our first goal!

5. Mismatches

Although the World Cup brings together some of the best teams on the planet, there is usually a mismatch or two in every tournament. Three teams have won matches by nine-goal margins:

  • Hungary 9 – 0 South Korea (1954)
  • Yugoslavia 9 – 0 Zaire (1974)
  • Hungary 10- 1 El Salvador (1982)

Russia’s 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia and England’s 6-1 romp against Panama were the biggest wins in the 2018 event.

You might be in luck if you look for similar mismatches in the 2022 World Cup. Possible candidates for big wins for the favorite include:

  • Argentina versus Saudi Arabia
  • France versus Australia
  • Brazil versus Cameroon

General World Cup Facts & Trends to Help You Beat the Bookie

With a little research, we uncovered a few strong trends that may point toward successful wagers.

1. European Dominance

Here’s one of the most relevant World Cup facts. There have been 21 World Cup finals, 19 of which have featured at least one European nation. Indeed, you have to go back to 1950 to find one that didn’t feature a team from Europe. Three of the last four finals have been all European affairs, and the last South American team to win the tournament was Brazil in 2002.

There’s a possibility that this could change in 2022. The draw keeps Argentina and Brazil apart until the final if both sides win their groups. In this case, is it worth betting on an Argentina versus Brazil final to snap the dominance of European teams? Of course, for this to happen, the South American giants will have to navigate games against the likes of France, Spain, Germany, and England.

2. Eight-Nation Army

European sides have enjoyed success for much of the history of the World Cup. However, a handful of teams account for the continent’s dominance. Germany, Italy, and France account for 10 of the continent’s 12 wins. Overall, just eight nations have won the World Cup, with Brazil being the most successful team with five triumphs.

Will the name of a ninth nation be written into folklore in 2022? Of the teams yet to win it, Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium are the most likely victors. However, those looking for an outsider may look towards Senegal to finally break Africa’s duck.

3. The Champion’s Curse

In recent times, winning the World Cup has guaranteed poor performance in the subsequent tournament. Incredibly, the 2006, 2010, and 2014 winners all failed to make it out of their respective groups in the following World Cup!

Will the holders, France, meet the same fate? It seems unlikely, given that their group contains Tunisia, Denmark, and Australia. However, when Les Bleus entered the 2002 tournament as the reigning champions, they finished bottom of a group containing Denmark, Senegal, and Uruguay!

4. An Underdog Story

The World Cup contains stories of underdog teams marching further than anyone thought possible. These include:

  • Croatia – Runners-Up (2018)
  • Costa Rica – Quarter-Finals (2014)
  • Uruguay – Semi-Finals & Ghana – Quarter-Finals (2010)
  • Portugal – Semi-Finals (2006)
  • Turkey and South Korea – Semi-Finals & Senegal and United States – Quarter-Finals (2002)

Usually, at least one team defies expectations in the tournament. Which team will it be this year? Remember, you can bet on teams to make the knockout stages. You can even try an each-way wager on a team to win the World Cup and profit if they make the semi-finals. Make sure the bookmaker pays out on four places in this instance. Possible success stories in 2022 include:

  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Uruguay

5. Host Performance

Historically, the host of the World Cup enjoys a modicum of success. Indeed, South Africa remains the only host nation NOT to reach the round of 16. We recently saw Russia make the quarter-final, and South Korea shocked the world by reaching the last four. Previous good host performances from unfancied teams include:

  • Mexico making the quarter-finals in 1986
  • Chile getting to the semi-finals in 1962
  • Sweden’s shock journey to the final in 1958

The question is: “Will Qatar make it out of their group?” Since they play Ecuador, Netherlands, and Senegal, the likely answer is ‘no.’ However, with home advantage, they could shock the world, and the odds of them doing so are fairly generous.

Facts About the World Cup in Qatar

The Qatar WC is unlike any other before it. Let’s explore a few issues that might affect the tournament and your betting decisions.  

Lack of Travel

In previous tournaments, some teams always had an advantage or disadvantage in terms of travel. This is not the case in 2022. There will be no physical toll from traveling as all eight stadiums are within a 20-mile radius of central Doha. The furthest gap between the stadiums is 35 miles, from the Al Wakrah Stadium to the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor City.

In Euro 2020, England ended up playing almost every game at home while their opponents traveled all over Europe. It played a big role in the English team making the final. However, no team will have this edge. Will this further reduce the chances of an underdog springing a surprise?

Is the Heat Really On?

Much was written about the tournament heat, with some group games taking place in temperatures of up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Group matches played at 1 pm and 4 pm local time will have the hottest temperatures. Knockout games will occur in the evening when temperatures fall to 66 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, every stadium is air-conditioned, so the temperature at the pitch level is 70 degrees.

Therefore, the heat in Qatar should prove no more of an issue than several previous World Cups. Temperatures during the 2014 edition in Brazil routinely exceeded 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Things were much worse during the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where pitch-side temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees for some games.

Consequently, the Qatari heat will probably cause less of an issue than many people realize.

Mid-Season Madness

One of the many criticisms of this World Cup is the scheduling. It takes place in the middle of the season in most of the globe’s biggest leagues. Typically, players participate in tournaments after enduring a long, hard full season.

However, the global pandemic caused a general squeezing of the football calendar. The summer break was extremely short, and there was little time between the end of domestic football and the start of the World Cup. This surely severely affects preparation.

Add in the near certainty of player fatigue, and the chances of upsets grow. It is also worth noting that the Qatar World Cup features more games condensed into the calendar than usual, increasing the risk of injuries. Perhaps the nation sustaining the fewest injuries to key players will win!

It also means the knockouts will be cagier than usual, with teams reluctant to attack and keen to preserve energy. Traditionally, the knockout stages feature low-scoring matches. You may want to think about betting on ‘under’ for match goals, not to mention backing the draw, and perhaps a bet or two on a game going to penalties.

A Different Atmosphere

Stadia are relatively small, and it isn’t clear whether fans of the teams playing or locals will fill them. If it is the latter, games may have a strange atmosphere which could also affect player concentration and performance. Therefore, you might find a few underdog teams available at nice odds to cause upsets.

Facts About the World Cup: Qatar Will Be a Historic Event

The 2022 version of the beautiful game’s most prestigious event in Qatar will be a unique tournament, for better or worse. Therefore, learning facts about the World Cup may not have the same effects as usual. Nonetheless, they can serve as a useful guide and help narrow your search.

Use trends to decide which teams are likely to go all the way, cause a sensation, or meekly excite the tournament. You can also use World Cup fun facts to make bets, such as backing a player to score extremely early in a match or selecting one nation to dominate another completely.

Bettors looking to investigate crypto gambling can sign up with one of several reputable providers. Doing so allows for anonymous betting on the 2022 World Cup.

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Patrick Lynch
Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert

Patrick has been a professional writer since 2009. He knows the issues players face when trying to find reputable casinos and performs forensic analysis on every site he reviews. Since joining in 2021, Patrick has had his eyes opened by the potential of the cryptocurrency market. With a background in sports betting, he realizes the possibilities afforded to successful bettors when using digital currency.