The joy of stats
After three thrilling weeks of football the World Cup is entering the business end of the tournament.
Just eight teams remain, so this week we take a look at the statistics of each from their four games so far, and what they might mean to their chances of advancing.
The first of tomorrow's quarterfinals pits two former champions, and European heavyweights, France and Germany against each other at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
France have undoubtedly been one of the form teams of the tournament so far. They scored eight unanswered goals in their first 163 minutes of playing time - beating Honduras 3-0 in the opening game and running out to a 5-0 lead against Fifa No 6-ranked side Switzerland before conceding two late goals to win 5-2.
Their final group game was a scoreless draw with Ecuador, but France still had the better of it statistically, racking up 20 shots to 11 and having 60 per cent possession.
They were pushed all the way in their quarterfinal against Nigeria before scoring two late goals to win 2-0.
A good stat: France's total shot ratio (TSR - explanation here) of 0.66 is the best of any team still at the World Cup.
A bad stat: France have only played one team inside the Fifa rankings' top 25, so they may have had a slightly easier route to the quarters than some of the other teams.
Key individual: Striker Karim Benzema had a hand in half of France's 10 goals (three goals, two assists).
TAB odds: To progress to semifinals: $2.05. To win outright: $8.50.
Germany also started their tournament in swashbuckling style, beating No 4-ranked Portugal 4-0.
The Germans have looked to dominate possession, they are averaging 60 per cent possession per game so far and their 84 per cent pass completion rate is the best of any remaining team.
From that base they appear to be relatively judicious about attempting to score, taking 70 per cent of their 66 shots from inside the box and shooting on target 70 per cent of the time.
A good stat: Germany have completed 2560 passes, about 600 more than France thus far in the tournament.
A bad stat: Tough to find a bad stat on Germany from the tournament so far, but France do edge Germany in head-to-heads historically, having won 11 of their 25 previous meetings. Germany have won eight and there have been six draws.
Key player: Thomas Muller has provided four goals and two assists out of the nine goals scored by Germany.
TAB odds: To progress to semifinals: $1.70. To win outright: $4.75
Brazil started the tournament as favourites at about $4 with most betting agencies. History suggests home advantage is massive for Brazil - they haven't lost a competitive game at home since 1975.
Despite maintaining that unbeaten record to date in the tournament, their odds of winning it outright haven't come in a whole lot suggesting Brazil haven't impressed as much as the bookies thought they would.
A look at the stats suggests this Brazilian team doesn't necessarily fit the historical stereotype of teams past, who relied on attacking flair across the park.
In fact, like a most of the other teams still in the hunt, Brazil have relied on miserly defence (conceding just three goals) and the individual brilliance of one player at the other other end of the pitch. Neymar has scored four of their nine goals.
A good stat: Brazil have given up only 18 shots on goal against in their four games so far, the fewest of any quarterfinalist.
A bad stat: They have launched 58 less attacks in total than fellow South American heavyweights Argentina (248 to 190).
Key player: Neymar has responded well to the weight of a nation so far.
TAB odds: To progress to semifinals: $1.37. To win outright: $3.60.
Colombia have conceded just two goals all tournament and like Brazil have a star attacking player, James (pronounced 'Harm-ez') Rodriguez, to thank for much of what's gone right at the attacking end.
Rodriguez leads the golden boot standings with five goals and has chipped in with two assists, playing a part in seven of Colombia's 11 goals.
The other attacking statistics don't suggest Colombia are one of the form teams, however.
They've completed the least number of passes of any quarterfinalist and are one of only two remaining teams with a TSR below 0.5. But goals are the only stat that matter in the end and if Colombia can continue to be miserly in defence, and Rodriguez produces a moment or two of brilliance, they can upset the hosts and favourites.
A good stat: Rodriguez has scored once for every three attempts on goal so far in the World Cup.
A bad stat: Colombia have given up the most shots (66) and shots on target (41) of any quarterfinal team.
Key player: You guessed it - James Rodriguez.
TAB odds: To advance to semifinals: $2.90. To win outright: $12.
Tomorrow we preview Sunday's quarterfinals - Argentina v Belgium and Netherlands v Costa Rica.
Use the chart below to compare all the quarterfinalists across statistical categories.
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