Five astonishing World Cup stats: Arsenal star had more touches than Messi - Part 2

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With the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup finals about to get underway, in the second of our two-part series, we look back at five of the most astonishing stats of the tournament so far.

1) Javier Mascherano’s name is not always mentioned when one talks about the best footballers in the world.

However, the Argentina international is one of the most versatile and consistent players on the planet, and it is no surprise that the 30-year-old Barcelona star leads the charts for the most tackles committed and most tackles won.

What does come as a surprise is the fact that Brazil and Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar is second in the list with 16 tackles won out of 21 made – same as many as Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland.

  TeamPosTotal TackleWon TackleAppsMins
Javier Mascherano Argentina MF 22 18 4 390
Oscar Brazil MF 21 16 4 369
Ricardo Rodriguez Switzerland DF 20 16 4 390

2) Alexis Sanchez may not be featuring in Brazil anymore, but the Chile international has left a lasting impression on the World Cup.

The Barcelona forward, who has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal and Liverpool this summer, was one of the most entertaining and effective footballers on the pitch.

This is evident in the fact that the 25-year-old won 53 of his duels. What is interesting is that former Manchester City attacker Georgios Samaras comes second with 48 duels won for Greece, ahead of Argentina star Lionel Messi.

  TeamPosDuel WonAppsMins
Alexis Sánchez Chile FW 53 4 390
Georgios Samaras Greece FW 48 4 390
Jermaine Jones USA MF 42 4 390
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 42 4 363

3) Andrea Pirlo may be 35 years of age and Italy may have been knocked out of the World Cup at the group stage, but that still does not undermine the Juventus playmaker's creativity.

The former AC Milan star leads the category of accurate through-balls with four. Of the players who are joint-second in the list, one name sticks out: Makoto Hasebe.

The 30-year-old is actually a defensive midfielder, but the Japan international still was more incisive than any of the Spain players.

  TeamPosAccurate Through BallAppsMins
Andrea Pirlo Italy MF 4 3 270
Karim Benzema France FW 3 4 360
Makoto Hasebe Japan MF 3 3 189
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 3 4 363
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland MF 3 4 387

4) Germany international midfielder Toni Kroos has the most number of touches at the World Cup so far with 473, while his compatriot and Bayern Munich teammate Philipp Lahm is second with 437. Another German player, Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker, has 337 touches – more than Lionel Messi (303) and Sanchez (279).

Toni Kroos Germany MF 473 4 390
Philipp Lahm Germany MF 437 4 390
Per Mertesacker Germany DF 337 4 390
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 303 4 363
Alexis Sánchez Chile FW 279 4 390

5) Belgium were deserved winners against the USA in their last-16 clash at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on July 1.

Although after the match, much of the talks centred on how Jurgen Klinsmann’s side had almost pulled off a shock upset, there was one stat that stuck out.

Wolfsburg attacker Kevin De Bruyne, who failed to make his mark at Chelsea, created a little history by, well, creating no fewer than 10 chances for Belgium against their American opponents.

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