31 July 2023

A statistical look as the Women’s World Cup reaches 1,000 goals

31 July 2023

Zambia’s Barbra Banda scored the 1,000th goal in Women’s World Cup history as her side signed off with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica.

Both teams had already been eliminated, but after Lushomo Mweemba scored Zambia’s first ever goal at a World Cup – men’s or women’s – star striker Banda tucked away a penalty to bring up another landmark.

Here, the PA news agency takes a statistical look at the first 1,000 goals.

Tournament totals

The 2015 and 2019 tournaments, having expanded to 24 teams, unsurprisingly hold the record for most goals overall with 146 apiece – a record that is almost certain to be broken this year after a further increase to 32 nations.

Three of the 16-team tournaments also racked up centuries, though, with 1999 being the highest-scoring edition on a goals-per-game basis with 123 in 32 matches, an average of 3.84.

There were 99 in 26 games at each of the first two stagings in 1991 and 1995, averaging 3.81 per match to sit just behind 1999 by that measure.

There were 107 goals in 2003 and 111 four years later, each in 32 games and averaging over three per match, with that average dipping to an all-time low of 2.69 in 2011 (86 in 32 games) and recovering only as far as 2.81 per game for the two 24-team events.

By the conclusion of Zambia’s game and Japan’s concurrent win over Spain, this summer’s tournament had seen 87 goals in 36 games for an average of 2.42 – meaning it is on track for the most goals (155) but the lowest average ever.

Top teams

The United States and Germany have been the two dominant teams in women’s football and have won six of the eight previous tournaments between them – four American wins and two for Germany.

The USA have scored 142 goals at the competition, including their four so far in Group E this year, while Germany’s 6-0 win over Morocco helped lift their all-time total to 128.

Norway, one of the remaining two champions along with Japan, beat the Philippines by the same scoreline to qualify from Group A and move within one of a century of their own.

Fellow Scandinavian side Sweden rank fourth with 78, hammering Italy 5-0 to open up a gap over Brazil (71).

China (54) were the only other side to contribute 50 or more of the 1,000 goals, with Japan on 48 at the time Banda’s landmark effort hit the net as they led Spain 2-0 before going on to complete their half-century in an eventual 4-0 win. England have 45, with Australia and Canada completing the top 10 even before their meeting in Group B on Monday.

Zambia were the 41st nation to score at a Women’s World Cup, with 44 having played and only 2023 debutants Haiti, Vietnam and Panama yet to find the net.

Record scorers

Brazil forward Marta is playing at her sixth World Cup, one short of compatriot Formiga’s record of seven, and is the competition’s record scorer with 17 goals.

That included winning the 2007 Golden Boot with seven, and leaves her three clear of Germany’s Birgit Prinz and American Abby Wambach at the top of the all-time charts.

Michelle Akers’ tally of 12 for the USA includes a record 10 at one tournament, in 1991, while China’s Sun Wen, Brazil’s Cristiane and Germany’s Bettina Wiegmann each scored 11.

Carli Lloyd (USA), Ann-Kristin Aarones (Norway), Heidi Mohr (Germany) and current Canada captain Christine Sinclair are the other players in double figures.

Banda pairs with former China defender Ma Li to book-end the scoring of the 1,000 goals. Ma headed in Wu Weiying’s free-kick against Norway in 1991 for the tournament’s first goal as China won the opening game 4-0 as hosts.

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