All 32 World Cup teams broken down by age, caps and goals


Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, right, and midfielder Xavi Hernandez wait for the start of a practice session at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Shawn Thew/EPA)

With less than a week to go before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil on Thursday, there’s not much time left to pick your favorite team. But how? Sure, you can follow a team based solely superficial criteria, such as who’s the most attractive, but that’s silly. Kind of.

In any case, for those who want to follow teams based more on their ability than their looks, the Guardian has come out with some interesting analysis of the 736 players who make up the 32 World Cup teams that might enlighten your viewing experience, especially if you plan on betting on it.

Perhaps you think age should be a factor. Here are the Top 5 and Bottom 5 teams, according to the average age of their players.

Surprisingly, the tournament’s oldest player, 43-year-old Faryd Mondragon of Colombia, did not tip the scales enough to get his country on the top end of that list. Nor did the tournament’s youngest player, 18-year-old Fabrice Olinga of Cameroon.

What about international appearances, or as they’re called in soccer, caps? Here are the total numbers of all the teams’ caps arranged from the Top 5 most to the Bottom 5 least.

Spain’s Iker Casillas helped his country reach the top in terms of caps with 153, the most of any player in the World Cup. Twenty-eight of this year’s participants, however, will only earn their first cap during the World Cup. They come in with zero.

Finally, let’s take a look at the number of goals teams have scored in international play. Here are the Top 10:

Could Germany be the favorite? The Guardian is weary, writing:

“Be careful with these numbers/ … [G]oals on their own give little indication of danger in front of goal without being contextualized by overall time played and how many of them were penalties.”

What criteria are you using to pick your favorite? While you think about it, here is the entire list of stats for all 32 World Cup teams to ruminate over.

More on the World Cup:

The biggest single-event sports competition on Earth kicks off once again. From the reign in Spain to the United States’s fierce competition, here’s what you need to know. (Davin Coburn/The Washington Post)

Lights will stay on in Brazil, fingers crossed

Google Maps street view lets you see the World Cup stadiums

Jurgen Klinsmann knocks Kobe Bryant to explain why he left Landon Donovan off the team

Ronaldo is nursing thigh and knee injuries

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · June 6