England’s Harry Kane scored two penalties against Panama to add to a World Cup spot-kick tally already well on its way to a record.
There have now been 13 penalties scored in Russia, already as many as in 2002 or 2006 and matching the entire number awarded in the 2014 tournament as the Video Assistant Referees make their presence felt.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a statistical look at the tournament’s penalties and how they compare to previous years.
In the six tournaments since the World Cup expanded to 32 teams, there have never been more penalties scored through the first two rounds of group games.
The only other edition to hit double figures by this stage was 2002, with 10 penalties representing 12.3 per cent of the 81 goals scored. There were only three more scored after that point, including just one in the knock-out stages.
That demonstrates that a new overall record is by no means certain – this year’s tally is 13 out of 85, or 15.3 per cent – though the presence of VAR would suggest it is more likely the rate will be maintained.
The 2014 group stage, despite producing 94 goals in the first 32 games, had seen only seven penalties converted. The lowest tally through the first two rounds of fixtures was three in 2006, out of 75 goals scored.
Hitting the spot
Kane and Australia’s Mile Jedinak have scored two penalties apiece, with the latter on target both in his side’s 2-1 loss to France and their 1-1 draw with Denmark. The Socceroos’ last three World Cup goals have now been Jedinak penalties after he also struck in 2014’s defeat to Holland.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the tournament’s first penalty in Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Spain, quickly followed the next day by France forward Antoine Griezmann, Jedinak and Croatia’s Luka Modric.
Group E, featuring Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica is the only group yet to see a penalty scored. Brazil’s Neymar was initially awarded one against Los Ticos only for the decision to be overturned by VAR.
What might have been…
The record for a whole tournament is 17 goals from penalties in 1998, which witnessed a 100 per cent conversion rate outside of shoot-outs.
Had this tournament’s penalty takers been equally clinical, 2018 would already be within one of that mark.
Two misses on the same day – Argentina’s hero Lionel Messi denied by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson before Peru’s Christian Cueva blazed over against Denmark – and another from Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson against Nigeria ensured the seemingly likely record will have to wait longer.