Ball to blame for fewer goals?

The Jabulani ball: Is that shot in or going off target again?

It is interesting to note that the downward total goals in the last four World Cup tournaments has continued.

In 1994, there were 2.7 goals per game, 2.6 in 1998, 2.5 in 2002 and 2.3 in 2006. At the moment with four games left, it stands at 133 goals, which is an average of 2.2 goals a game.

It seems that the so-called lesser teams have gotten stronger, and defenses have overall gotten better over the years.

There was a consensus that the new Jabulani ball from Adidias might help reverse the trend, making it more difficult for goalies to deal with. However, it might actually have had the opposite effect, with some plain awful shooting from long — and not so long — distances.

I was curious to find out if this was indeed the case, and dug up some eye opening statistics.

According to FIFA, there have been 1,704 shots at this tournament so far, and 638 have been on target (37.4 percent).

In 2006, there were fewer shots at 1,534, but 734 of those were on target. That’s 47 percent, meaning there has been a significant 10 percent decline in accurate shooting, when you consider accuracy was 49.2 percent in 2002 (total shots 1,445; on target 615).

So either the Jabulani and the climate is to blame, defenses are providing less open opportunities for attackers, or those shooting the ball are becoming increasingly rubbish.

I’ll let you decide.


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