The week in numbers: w/e 25/9/11

Makau erased Gebreselassie's time from the record books

2:03:38 – Kenya’s Patrick Makau set a new world record time of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon, taking 21 seconds off the previous record held by Haile Gebreselassie.

1Sebastian Vettel requires just one point from the last five Formula 1 races of the season to clinch his back-to-back world titles after he dominated the Singapore Grand Prix to record his ninth win of the season.

0 – Number of times a car other than a Red Bull has been on pole position during the 14 races of this F1 season. Vettel has 11 poles, Mark Webber three.

2  Owen Hargreaves made only his second competitive start in three years, and scored as Manchester City knocked holders Birmingham out of the Carling Cup 2-1.

3 – Arsenal Ladies completed the domestic treble with a 4-1 League Cup final win over Birmingham. It was their 37th trophy in 24 years.

Cavendish sprinted to victory to take the rainbow jersey (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

2Mark Cavendish won the men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships to become only the second British rider ever to win the event. Tom Simpson was the other, in 1965 – he went on to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year that year.

3 – Three of the four senior (elite) races at the Road World Championships were won by riders from the HTC-Highroad team (Cavendish, Tony Martin, Judith Arndt). In addition, all three riders on the men’s road race podium rode for the team in 2010: Cavendish and Matt Goss remain with HTC, while bronze medalist André Greipel moved to Omega Pharma-Lotto this year. The team is disbanding at the end of the season.

7 – The West Indies lost seven wickets for just 21 runs as they collapsed to 125 all out in their first Twenty20 match against England at the Oval. England romped to victory by ten wickets.

4 – Run outs in England‘s innings in the second Twenty20 match as they slumped to 88 all out – their lowest ever score in this form of the game – and allowed the West Indies to level the series 1-1.

4 – The European ladies’ golf team defeated the USA 15-13 to regain the Solheim Cup after three consecutive defeats. It was only the fourth time Europe have won the competition, which the USA leads 8-4.

80 – Age of Donald’ Ginger’ McCain, trainer of three-time Grand National winner Red Rum, who died last week.

The Premier League in numbers

100Robin van Persie scored his 99th and 100th goals for Arsenal in the 3-0 win over Bolton.

Walcott links up particularly well with van Persie (image courtesy of

7Theo Walcott provided the assist for van Persie’s second goal. All seven of Walcott’s assists in 2011 have been for goals scored by van Persie.

43West Bromwich Albion‘s 0-0 draw with Fulham snapped a streak of 43 games since their previous goalless draw in a Premier League game.

63Chelsea‘s 4-1 win over Swansea extended their unbeaten streak against newly promoted sides to 63 games, dating back to 2001. They have won 56 of those 63 games.

27Manchester United opened the scoring in their 1-1 draw at Stoke with a 27th-minute goal by Nani. This was the third time in a row against Stoke that they have opened the scoring in the same minute.

6 – In scoring Stoke’s equaliser, Peter Crouch became only the sixth player to score for six different clubs in the Premier League. (The other five are Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Marcus Bent, Nicky Barmby and Craig Bellamy.)

9Queens Park Rangers‘ last-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa came courtesy of Richard Dunne‘s ninth Premier League own goal. He has two more than any other player.

The Rugby World Cup in numbers

9South Africa‘s 87-0 win over Namibia marked the ninth-biggest winning margin in a World Cup game and the third-highest score to nil.

14Namibia have now lost all 14 of their Rugby World Cup matches. No other side has lost as many without winning a single game.

Ashton's was one of two England hat-tricks against Romania (image courtesy of

5Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton both scored hat-tricks in England’s 67-3 win over Romania – the fifth time more than one player has scored a hat-trick in the same World Cup match.

14 – Australia scored 11 tries in their 67-5 win over the USA, the 14th time they have crossed for ten or more tries in a match.

25New Zealand‘s 37-17 victory against France extended their unbeaten run at Auckland’s Eden Park to 25 matches. The last team to beat them there was France, in 1994.

2Argentina‘s 13-12 victory over Scotland was only the second game at this World Cup with fewer than ten points in the first half. The other was Argentina vs England.

The NFL in numbers

11 – 11 of Sunday’s 15 games were decided by seven points or fewer.

3 – Baltimore rookie Torrey Smith took his first three career receptions for touchdowns of 74, 41 and 18 yards, all in the first quarter of the Ravens’ 37-7 rout of the St Louis Rams. He finished with five catches for 152 yards.

18 – The Buffalo Bills became the first team in NFL history to win consecutive games in which they trailed by at least 18 points in each game, as they overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat the New England Patriots 34-31 on a field goal as time expired.

15Buffalo‘s victory ended a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots, dating back to 2003.

Brees has now thrown a TD pass in each of his last 30 games (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

4 – New Orelans’ Drew Brees became only the fourth player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in 30 consecutive games, joining Johnny Unitas (47), Brett Favre (36) and Dan Marino (30). The Saints outlasted the Houston Texans 40-33 in an offensive shootout.

20 – The Detroit Lions were outscored 20-0 in the first half by the Minnesota Vikings, but rallied to win 26-23 when Jason Hanson hit a 32-yard field goal in overtime.

1 – Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson became the first player ever to have at least two TD catches in each of his team’s first three games of the season. He had seven receptions for 108 yards, scoring from 32 and five yards.

553 – The Ravens accumulated 553 yards on offense, 406 of which came in the first half. Both marks were new franchise records.

3 – In a wild finish, the lead changed hands three times in the last 5½ minutes of the game as Pittsburgh beat Indianapolis 23-20.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times, StatManJon, Infostrada, and

The week in numbers: w/e 18/9/11

Djokovic improved his record against Nadal in 2011 to 6-0 in winning the US Open

6Novak Djokovic‘s 6-2 6-4 6-6 6-1 victory over Rafael Nadal in Monday’s US Open men’s singles final improved his 2011 record against the Spaniard to 6-0 and made him only the sixth man to win three Grand Slam singles titles in the same year, joining Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Roger Federer (three times) and Nadal.

97.0%Djokovic‘s win percentage in 2011, currently the best single-year record ever. He has lost just twice in 66 matches this year.

26Federer (12), Nadal (10) and Djokovic (four) have now won 26 of the last 27 Slams between them, dating back to the 2005 French Open. The only man to break the sequence is Juan Martín del Potro, who won the US Open in 2009.

77Lancashire won their first County Championship in 77 years after beating Somerset by eight wickets.

3AC Milan became only the third team in Champions League history to score in the first and last minutes, as they drew 2-2 at Barcelona. Alexandro Pato‘s opening goal after 24 seconds was the fifth-fastest in the history of the competition.

17 – Borussia Dortmund’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw extended Arsenal‘s run of Champions League away games without a clean sheet to 17 games.

Giggs has now scored in 16 separate Champions League campaigns

16Ryan Giggs‘ goal for Manchester United in the 1-1 draw at Benfica means he has now scored in a record 16 of the 17 Champions League campaigns he has played in, failing only in 2007-08.

2Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake recorded the fastest times of 2011 in the 100 and 200 metres respectively at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels. Bolt clocked 9.76s in the 100 metres, while Blake’s 19.26s in the 200 metres was also the second-fastest run ever, 0.07s behind Bolt’s world record.

1Jonathan Trott became the first ever English cricketer to win the ICC Cricketer of the Year award outright. (Andrew Flintoff shared the award with Jacques Kallis in 2005.) Alastair Cook also won Test Player of the Year.

8Barcelona‘s 8-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday night marked the first time they had scored eight times in a game at the Camp Nou since October 2003. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick.

3 – The HTC-Highroad pair of Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw recorded three one-two wins during the Tour of Britain‘s eight stages. Cavendish won the final sprint in London to claim his second stage. Dutchman Lars Boom won the overall race by 36 seconds.

58:56 – Kenya’s Martin Mathathi broke the men’s record for the Great North Run, winning in a time of 58:56 – nine seconds faster than the previous record and the sixth-best half-marathon time ever.

The Premier League in numbers

3 – All three promoted sides won on Saturday: Swansea beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0, while QPR and Norwich won 3-0 at Wolves and 2-1 at Bolton respectively.

Arteta has scored for both Everton and Arsenal at Ewood Park this season (image courtesy of

2Mikel Arteta‘s goal in Arsenal’s 4-3 defeat at Blackburn marked the second time he has scored in the Premier League at Ewood Park this season. He had already scored the only goal when Everton won 1-0 in August.

3 – Shots on target by Blackburn, who scored four goals.

373 – Scott Sinclair’s 14th-minute opener for Swansea was their first Premier League goal, ending a run of 373 minutes without scoring.

5Bolton‘s 2-1 defeat at home to Norwich means they have lost five consecutive top-flight home matches for the first time ever.

5Norwich equalled Wimbledon’s feat (in the 1999-2000 season) of conceding a penalty in each of the first five games of a season.

14Liverpool‘s 4-0 defeat at Tottenham, in which they finished with just nine men, was the 14th consecutive away game in which they have gone on to lose after trailing at half-time.

4Stoke‘s 4-0 defeat at Sunderland means they have failed to score in their four Premier League visits to the Stadium of Light.

5Wayne Rooney became only the second player to score in each of first five matches of a season, scoring the last of Manchester United’s goals in the 3-1 win over Chelsea. Former Arsenal player José Antonio Reyes was the first to achieve the feat, in 2004/05.

6Martin Jol remains unbeaten as a manager against Manchester City as Fulham recovered from two goals down to draw 2-2. However, the draw did end his perfect record of six wins out of six against City prior to yesterday’s game.

1 – Four of the five teams who started the weekend winless – Blackburn, Swansea, Sunderland, Norwich – won their matches. Only Fulham remain waiting for their first victory.

The Rugby World Cup in numbers

11 – Penalties committed by England in an ill-disciplined first half of their 41-10 win over Georgia. They conceded just three after the interval.

Shaw became England's oldest ever World Cup player

38 – At 38 years and 17 days, Simon Shaw became the oldest player to play for England at a Rugby World Cup.

0 – Number of tries scored in Scotland‘s 15-6 win over Romania.

1Russia lost 13-6 to the USA in their debut World Cup match, as Mike Petri scored the only try in the first half. It was also only the third ever win in the competition for the USA.

83New Zealand‘s 83 points in their 83-7 win over Japan was the 14th highest score in Rugby World Cup history. In total, they have posted six of the top 14 individual scores.

3Australia‘s 15-6 defeat to Ireland was only the third time they had failed to score a try in their 36 World Cup matches.

6South Africa and Argentina both scored six tries from six different players as they beat Fiji 49-3 and Romania 43-8 respectively.

The NFL in numbers

11 – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became only the 11th man to pass for over 500 yards in a single game as he registered 517 yards and four touchdown passes in a 38-24 Monday night win over the Miami Dolphins. One of Brady’s four touchdown passes was a 99-yarder to Wes Welker, a former Dolphin.

358 – However Brady did throw one interception, ending his NFL record streak without an interception at 358 pass attempts.

Janikowski tied the NFL record with a towering 63-yard FG (image courtesy of

63 – The Oakland Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski tied the NFL record by kicking a 63-yard field goal in their 23-20 win over the Denver Broncos. New Orleans’ Tom Dempsey (in 1970) and Denver’s Jason Elam (1998) also landed 63-yarders.

5 – The Buffalo Bills scored on all five second half possessions as they overcame a 21-3 half-time deficit to beat the Oakland Raiders 38-35. The lead changed hands five times in the last 14:10, the last on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to David Nelson with 14 seconds remaining.

45 – The Detroit Lions‘ margin of victory in their 48-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs was the largest in the team’s history.

16Santonio Holmes‘ first quarter score in the New York Jets‘ 32-3 win over Jacksonville broke his team’s streak of 16 consecutive games without an offensive touchdown in the opening period.

11 – Rookie running back Ben Tate became only the 11th player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in his first two games as the Houston Texans defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-13. Tate gained 107 yards on the ground.

7 – Both Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton and New England’s Tom Brady had their second consecutive 400-yard passing days, becoming only the sixth and seventh quarterbacks ever to achieve the feat. Carolina have lost both games (they lost 30-23 to the Green Bay Packers last night); New England have won both (they beat San Diego 35-21).

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times, StatManJon, Infostrada, and

The week in numbers: w/e 11/9/11

Marsh scored 141 on debut, surpassing his father's Test best

141 – In his debut Test innings Australia’s Shaun Marsh scored 141, surpassing his father Geoff’s top score of 138, which he accumulated over a 50-Test career.

13 – The top four men’s singles seeds at the US Open (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray) all reached the semi-finals, only the 13th time in history this has been achieved at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era.

4Andy Murray reached the semis at all four Grand Slams this year, the first time he has achieved this. Having reached the final in Australia, he lost his semi-final matches at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

0 – Sets lost by Serena Williams in reaching the US Open final. However, she lost 6-2 6-3 to Australian Sam Stosur.

2Stosur became only the second Australian woman to win the US Open singles title. (Margaret Court won five times between 1962 and 1973.) She is also the first Australian winner of any of the four Grand Slam women’s singles titles since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon 1980

Vettel has already all but clinched his second F1 title (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

112 – Points advantage of Sebastian Vettel over his nearest challenger, Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, after the German clinched his eighth win of the season at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. There are only 150 points still available, meaning Vettel could clinch his second consecutive Formula 1 drivers’ title in Singapore in two weeks’ time.

5 – The five world champions currently on the F1 grid occupied the first five places at Monza: Vettel, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.

9 – Overall Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo was the ninth different rider to wear the red leader’s jersey during this year’s race, one more than the previous record of eight in 2008.

19 – Runner-up Chris Froome actually completed the 21-stage course 19 seconds faster than Cobo, but the Spaniard had a net 32-second gain in time bonuses to take victory by 13 seconds.

1 Ashley Young‘s goal in England‘s 1-0 win over Wales was the only shot on target of the entire match.

0England are the only side yet to concede a goal from inside the area in Euro 2012 qualifying.

Toseland was forced into retirement after his hand injury (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

30 – Age of double World Superbike champion James Toseland, who retired last week after being left permanently disabled by a crash which damaged his right wrist in March.

500Mark Cavendish‘s victory at stage one of the Tour of Britain was the 500th win for HTC-Highroad since the team’s formation in 2008. The most successful squad in the sport during that period is disbanding at the end of this year.

3 – Three Warwickshire batsmen scored centuries in the same innings (Ian Westwood 171, Jim Troughton 151, Rikki Clarke 126) as Nottinghamshire were defeated by an innings and 114 runs at Liverpool.

11Ryan Sidebottom recorded match figures of 11 for 98 in Yorkshire’s six-wicket win over Somerset at Headingley.

2Alistair Brownlee secured his second world triathlon title in three seasons after winning the event in Beijing. Brother Jonathan was third, but finished as the overall runner-up.

Rookie Cobb made an immediate impact with an NFL record-tying kick return (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

108 – In the opening game of the 2011 NFL season on Thursday night, Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, tying the all-time NFL record. He also caught a 32-yard touchdown pass as the Packers defeated the New Orleans Saints 42-34.

12 Green Bay‘s win means the defending Super Bowl champions have won their last 11 season openers. The last opening day loss was by the Denver Broncos in 1999.

422 – Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passed for 422 yards (with two TDs and one interception) in the 28-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. This was a record total for a rookie quarterback on his NFL debut, and tied the best single-game total by a rookie.

59 – Seconds between the San Francisco 49ers’ Ted Ginn Jr returning first a kickoff 102 yards and then a punt 55 yards for touchdowns in the 49ers’ 33-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The Premier League in numbers

15Tottenham‘s 2-0 win at Wolves broke a run of 15 winless away games in the Premier League in the month of September, dating back to 2001.

Six goals in two games for Rooney

4Wayne Rooney‘s hat-trick in Manchester United’s 5-0 win at Bolton made him the fourth player in Premier League history to score consecutive hat-tricks (after Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright and Didier Drogba).

18Manchester United have scored 18 goals in their opening four league game, a new Premier League record.

7Chelsea‘s 2-1 win means they have now won on each of their last seven visits to Sunderland.

6Sergio Agüero‘s hat-trick in Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Wigan gave him six league goals so far this season, the same as teammate Edin Džeko. 15 of the 20 Premier League teams have scored fewer than six goals.

4Norwich have now conceded a penalty in four successive Premier League games. Declan Rudd saved it, but West Bromwich Albion nonetheless won 1-0.

The Rugby World Cup in numbers

4Jonny Wilkinson missed four successive kicks during England’s 13-9 win over Argentina.

6 – Argentina’s Felipe Contepomi and Martín Rodríguez combined to miss six of nine kicks in the same match.

Winger Goneva got off to a flying start with four tries

4 – Tries scored by Fiji winger Vereniki Goneva in his country’s 49-25 victory over Namibia.

3 – Namibian fly-half Theuns Kotze kicked three drop goals against Fiji. No other player has yet kicked one.

21 – New Zealand-born James Arlidge scored all of Japan’s points in the 47-21 defeat by France (two tries, one conversion, three penalties). At one point in the second half Japan closed to 25-21 before France pulled away.

815 – Defending champions South Africa fielded the most-capped starting XV in rugby union history in their narrow 17-16 victory over Wales, with a combined total of 815 caps.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times, StatManJon, Infostrada, and

The week in numbers: w/e 12/9/10

Kim Clijsters won her third US Open title

14 – Since her return from retirement, Kim Clijsters has won all 14 of her singles matches at the US Open, winning back-to-back titles to add to her 2005 victory. She crushed Vera Zvonereva 6-2 6-1 in Saturday’s final.

3Roger Federer‘s new world ranking after his US Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic. It is the first time he has been out of the top two since 2003.

89Pakistan recorded their lowest ever Twenty20 total in Tuesday’s defeat to England in the second of their two T20 matches.

7 – England’s victory in that game was their seventh consecutive T20 win, equalling the best sequence in T20’s short history, set by both Pakistan and South Africa in 2009.

3.4 – In seconds, the length of time Fernando Alonso‘s Ferrari was stationary during his only pit stop in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix. Jenson Button had pitted a lap earlier, stopping for 4.2 seconds. The Ferrari pit crew’s speed was enough to leapfrog the Spaniard into a lead he would not relinquish.

24 – Number of points separating Formula 1 championship leader Mark Webber from his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel in fifth after yesterday’s race. There are 25 points available for a race win.

Mark Cavendish (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

2Mark Cavendish became only the second British rider (after Robert Millar) to record a stage win in each of cycling’s three Grand Tours by winning stage 12 of the Vuelta a España on Thursday. For good measure, he won the following day too.

967 Wayne Rooney‘s goal against Switzerland on Tuesday ended an international goal drought of 967 minutes stretching back 12 matches.

10 Emile Heskey‘s longest run of England starts without a goal. Rooney’s goalless sequence ended at 11.

1 – In his seventh England appearance, Darren Bent registered his first shot on target in international football – and scored from it.

23Jermain Defoe has still never played a full 90 minutes for England, after 23 caps.

Stephen McManus spared Scotland's blushes with a 97th-minute winner against Liechtenstein

97Scotland did not take the lead against Liechtenstein in Tuesday’s Euro 2012 qualifier until the 97th minute. They won 2-1, with Stephen McManus scoring the crucial late winner.

36,000 – The whole of Liechtenstein’s 36,000 population could fit into Scotland’s Hampden Park – and still leave 16,000 seats empty.

22Argentina beat Spain 4-1 in an international friendly in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, despite the losers registering 22 shots to just seven for the home side. It was the first time Spain had conceded four goals in a game since 2000.

10 – The All Blacks have now won their last ten meetings against Australia. They came from 22-9 down with 20 minutes left to win 23-22 in their final Tri-Nations encounter. New Zealand finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.

1Barcelona lost 2-0 at home to newly promoted Hércules, meaning they have already equalled the one defeat they suffered during the whole of their 2009/10 La Liga-winning campaign.

3Darren Ferguson‘s Preston North End were leading 3-1 at Burnley on Saturday, but conceded three goals in the last six minutes to lose 4-3.

The Premier League week in numbers

2Sir Alex Ferguson‘s Manchester United were leading 3-1 at Everton on Saturday, but conceded two goals in injury time to draw 3-3.

48 Everton have attempted 48 shots in their last two games (against Aston Villa and Man Utd) – but secured only one point.

8 Arsenal have now won their last eight Premier League games against Bolton, scoring 21 goals and conceding seven. Bogey team? Not any more.

Alex Song (image courtesy of

1,000 – In scoring the third goal in their 4-1 win over Bolton, Alex Song registered the 1,000th Premier League goal for Arsenal under Arsène Wenger.

24 Carlos Vela‘s goal for Arsenal ended a sequence of 24 passes, the most for any Premier League goal so far this season.

10 – Bolton forward Kevin Davies has been booked more times against Arsenal (ten) than any other opponent.

24Blackpool‘s 2-0 win at Newcastle ended their hosts’ run of 24 straight home league games without defeat.

4 – Newcastle’s James Perch became only the second player ever to be booked in each of his first four Premier League appearances.

4Sunderland have conceded four goals so far this season, all in the last 15 minutes of games. Wigan‘s Antolin Alcaraz scored his side’s goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the 87th minute.

5 – Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole was shown his fifth Premier League red card since the start of the 2008/09 season, more than any other player in that time.

4 – On the three previous occasions that Chelsea have won the Premier League, they have won their opening four games – a sequence they equalled with their 3-1 win at West Ham.

5 – Yesterday’s 0-0 result was the fifth consecutive Premier League draw between Birmingham and Liverpool.

The NFL week in numbers

New Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll

3 – The Seattle Seahawks‘ new head coach Pete Carroll completed a hat-trick of debut wins in his first game with his third NFL team (also New York Jets and New England Patriots). The Seahawks’ 31-6 win over the San Francisco 49ers meant he has won those three games by a combined score of 95-16.

48 – The Green Bay Packers recorded their first win at Philadelphia in 48 years, when Vince Lombardi was in his fourth season as Packers head coach.

12.2% – Percentage of games won by the St Louis Rams since the start of the 2007 season (won six, lost 43). The Rams lost 17-13 to the Arizona Cardinals last night.

9 – By beating Cincinnati 38-24, the New England Patriots raised their record in home openers at Gillette Stadium to 9-0.

Tom Brady (image courtesy of Keith Allison)

21 – New England quarterback Tom Brady has now won his last 21 starts in regular season home games.

5 – The Houston Texans recorded their fifth straight win (dating back to 2009) in outlasting the Indianapolis Colts 34-24, setting a new franchise record for consecutive wins.

31 – Despite losing, the Colts’ Peyton Manning had 40 pass completions, compared to just nine for Matt Schaub. It was the largest differential in completions by opposing quarterbacks who played the entire game since at least 1960.

50Rashard Mendenhall’s 50-yard scoring run was the longest overtime rushing TD run since Herschel Walker had a 60-yard score for Dallas in 1987. Final score: Pittsburgh 15 Atlanta 9.

8 – By losing 38-13 to Tennessee, the Oakland Raiders lost their eighth straight season opener, the longest active streak in the NFL.

151Matt Forte’s 151 receiving yards in Chicago‘s 17-14 win over Detroit was the second-highest total by a Bears’ running back in franchise history, and the most in nearly 63 years. (George McAfee had 157 receiving yards vs the Rams in December 1947).

(Some statistics courtesy of @OptaJoe@optajim@StatManJon and

There will be no ‘Week in numbers’ next week, as I am on holiday. Normal service will be resumed the following week.

World Cup quarter-finals 3 & 4: Two missed penalties and a German demolition job

Argentina 0 Germany 4

Miroslav Klose now has 14 World Cup goals, one short of Ronaldo's all-time record

We can now finally lay to rest the question of whether Germany are actually any good. They are, most emphatically.

In dismantling an Argentina side who many had tipped to reach the final, Joachim Löw‘s team played with style, desire and confidence, inflicting Argentina’s heaviest World Cup defeat since 1958.

Thomas Müller set the ball rolling, heading in Bastain Schweinsteiger‘s free kick after just 160 seconds, the fastest goal of the tournament. They had to wait until the final quarter of the game to score again as Argentina enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball while creating little in the way of genuine threat. But on 67 minutes Miroslav Klose scored his 13th career World Cup goal, tapping in strike partner Lukas Podolski‘s precise ball across the six-yard box, effectively ending the match as a contest. Seven minutes later, Schweinsteiger skipped past a succession of tackles on the left before pulling the ball back for Arne Friedrich to score his first international goal. And finally, the always influential Schweinsteiger sent Mesut Özil clear to cross for Klose to apply icing to cake with a fine volley.

Diego Maradona‘s team simply ran out of ideas, and steam. They dominated possession and asked questions of the German defence time and again, but they never really unlocked the door. And with Lionel Messi effectively shackled they lacked the creative spark to force it open. By the end they were a sorry side who looked anything but potential champions. Germany, on the other hand, are looking increasingly like a side who genuinely believe the greatest prize is within their grasp. The towels are being laid down at Soccer City as we speak.

Key numbers:

1 – Including this game, Argentina have won just one out of their six World Cup matches against Germany.

4Miroslav Klose has now scored four goals at the 2010 World Cup, one more than he did in the Bundesliga in the whole of last season.

4Thomas Müller has had four shots on target at this tournament – and has scored with all four of them.

2:40 – At two minutes and 40 seconds, Müller scored the fastest goal of the tournament so far.

20 – Germany have never gone more than 20 years without winning a World Cup. It is exactly 20 years since they last won it …

Paraguay 0 Spain 1

David Villa now has five goals and leads the Golden Boot competition

As a certain Scottish football manager once said: “Football, bloody hell!” Much of this quarter-final between Paraguay and Spain was instantly forgettable – but a four-minute cameo will be remembered forever.

Paraguay set out their stall to defend, in keeping with a formula which had conceded just one goal in four games to this point. Spain came to do what Spain do, namely move the ball around with pace, patience and precision. For 57 minutes, irresistible force met immovable object, with stalemate the inevitable result. This was not entertaining fare.

And then it all changed. Gerard Piqué cynically grabbed Oscar Cardozo as the Paraguay forward spun away from him at a corner. Cardozo himself got up to take the penalty, and he will wish he hadn’t bothered as his tame effort was far too close to Iker Casillas, who easily held on to the shot.

Almost immediately, Spain were up at the other end and David Villa went down under a challenge by Antolin Alcaraz. The penalty award looked a bit soft, but equally Alcaraz was arguably fortunate to avoid a straight red card for the clear denial of a goalscoring opportunity. Xabi Alonso swept home the spot kick, only for Guatemalan referee Carlos Batres to order it re-taken for (marginal) encroachment by a number of Spain players. This time Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar parried Alonso’s penalty. Cesc Fabregas followed up and was clearly upended by Villar, but the referee missed the infringement.

It was almost incidental when, with eight minutes remaining, Pedro‘s shot rebounded off the woodwork and David Villa followed up with a curling effort that cannoned off one post and then the other before rolling almost apologetically over the line for the goal which put Spain into the World Cup semi-final for the first time in their history. In the context of those mad four minutes, it was a positively mundane event.

So, it will now be Spain versus Germany – two of the tournament’s most attractive sides – on Wednesday evening for a place in what could be an all-European final. So much for the theory that the old continent is on the wane in a tournament which has seen an all-time low number of European teams in both the last 16 (six) and quarter-finals (three).

Key numbers:

6Paraguay became the first World Cup team to make six or more changes to their starting line-up from one knockout game to the next (excluding the 3rd/4th place playoff).

1 – This was Spain‘s first ever World Cup quarter-final win.

11 – 11 of Spain’s 15 shots against Paraguay (and all 4 on target) came in the 34 minutes after Cesc Fabregas came on as a substitute.

2 – This was only the second time in the World Cup’s history that two penalties (excluding shootouts) have been missed in the same match. The previous occasion was in the inaugural 1930 tournament, during Argentina’s 6-3 win over Mexico.

2:03 – There was a gap of just two minutes and three seconds between the two penalties being awarded in this match.

5David Villa is now the tournament’s highest goalscorer, having scored five in the last four games.

4 – This is the first World Cup in which Spain have won four games.

(Statistics courtesy of @optajoao, @optajose, @optajoe, @castrolfootball and FIFA statistics.)

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