Qatar 2022: The Dirtiest Players At The World Cup

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Qatar 2022: The Dirtiest Players At The World Cup
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Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenković is the most ill-disciplined player set to play at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to research by

The Serbian international topped a poll containing a whopping 274 players who featured in the recent World Cup qualifiers that took place across the globe in the last few years. 

Serbia shocked bookmakers to top Group A of the European qualifiers, besting Portugal and qualifying directly for the World Cup as a result.

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And the tough tackling Milenković helped Serbia to its third qualification for the world’s greatest soccer tournament since they became an independent nation in 2006. 

Milenković came out on top of a data poll we conducted, factoring in the number of cards shown, the colour of each card and the number of fouls committed throughout the World Cup qualifying campaign.

The defender certainly put his body on the line for the cause, but he was also able to rack up an enormous index score of 8.6 out of 10. 

Milenković ended up on that tally after somehow managing to pick up one red card, a yellow card and eight fouls in just five qualifiers and you can expect him to come to the attention of plenty of referees at the World Cup. You can check out his stats below: 

Nikola Milenković World Cup Discipline Stats: Qatar Qualifiers

Qualification Matches playedYellow CardsRed CardsFoulsIndex score (Card Index + Fouls / Matches No)

Milenković is followed on the list by Kieffer Moore of Bournemouth. 

The Wales international received three yellow cards and forced referees to whistle 17 times for fouls during the course of the six World Cup qualifiers he took part in, amassing an index score of 7.83 in the process. 

Top 20 Dirtiest Players At The 2022 World Cup

Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi is just behind Moore with a score of 7.8, veteran star Pepe of Portugal is next on 7.6 and Qatar midfielder Assim Madabo rounds out the top five dirtiest players selected to take part in the World Cup with a total of 6.71.

The top 20 rankings feature three players from Serbia (more on them later), as well as two players each from Belgium, Canada, Ecuador and the hosts Qatar.

If you are following our hints above, you’ll have figured out that Serbia (4.22) is the country topping the charts when it comes to having petulant players due to appear in Qatar 2022 on average. 

However, only 0.01 separates the Serbians from Tunisia, a surprise second placer, as Jalel Kadri’s side ended up with an average score of 4.21.

Plenty of World Cup bets are likely to be used on the number two rated side in the FIFA rankings, Belgium. 

And given that they are No. 3 in our table, it may be the case that the no-nonsense style that Roberto Martínez has implemented might finally get the job done for the country’s so-called ‘golden generation.’

Heavy hitters like Portugal (3.61), Switzerland (3.5), Wales (3.5) and Poland (3.44) also find themselves near the top of the table when it comes to getting in trouble, and it may be something their respective managers will want to address ahead of the World Cup starting on Nov. 20. 

Top 10 Dirtiest Teams At The 2022 World Cup

Surprisingly, given the fiery nature of South American qualifiers, World Cup favourites Brazil in 23rd in the ill-discipline stakes. Which may just be a good thing for Tite’s men ahead of the kick-off. 

France is 16th on the list, Germany is 25th and the Netherlands is 27th. 

However, Costa Rica is officially the cleanest team heading to Qatar as it picked up a lowly average of 1.98 leading into the competition, and is the only team to dip under a mark of two out of the 32 teams to qualify. 

Most Disciplined Countries At Qatar 2022

RankTeamDiscipline Average
1Costa Rica1.98
5South Korea2.43

What about Canada, you ask? Well, perhaps they need to get down and dirty to make an impact at the World Cup. 

Only four of its players (Steven Vitória, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Richie Laryea and Tajon Buchanan) hold an index score of three or higher after the Qualifiers were over, while the team average of only 2.94 makes the Canadians just the 18th dirtiest country getting on the plane to the Middle East. 

For the stats fans out there, Rodrigo Bentancur of Uruguay and Tottenham picked up the most yellow cards of any player in World Cup qualifying with a total of six. Meanwhile, no player managed to be sent off more than once in all of the confederations. 

Finally, if you are wondering who committed the most fouls, that honour goes to Jung Woo-young - he caused a stunning 34 of them in the 11 matches he was part of for South Korea. 

Ranked: The Dirtiest Teams At The World Cup

RankTeamTeam Discipline Average
10 Ecuador3.34
13United States3.17
26Saudi Arabia2.52
28South Korea2.43
29 Australia2.33
32Costa Rica1.98


To determine who the dirtiest players at the World Cup are, we analysed three key statistics on each of the 274 eligible players who reached our threshold ahead of the FIFA tournament in Qatar. 

We collected figures for the number of Qatar World Cup qualifiers they featured in, how many cards they were shown, what colour the cards were and how many fouls they committed in those qualifiers. 

To be eligible for consideration, players had to have been shown at least one card in qualifying and have appeared in at least 50 per cent of their country’s qualifiers for the World Cup (where total number of eligible matches ended in ‘.5’, the lower number of games was deemed to be the qualifying mark).

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The three metrics used to tally index scores were yellow cards, red cards and fouls committed and they were totaled using a points system similar to that used by bookmakers on card betting markets – whereby 10 points were ‘awarded’ for each yellow card, 25 points for each red card and one point for every foul. 

Each individual tally was then divided by the number of games played to give an overall Index Score out of 10.

Team scores are calculated as an average of the scores of eligible players from each of the 32 countries involved in the World Cup.

* As Qatar is the host, and thus did not need to qualify for the tournament, games from its shadow participation in Group A of European World Cup qualifiers were used to calculate its scores. 


The data was compiled using statistics curated by Wyscout, who is a world-leading soccer scouting company for Player Agents, Scouts, Players, Journalists and Referees.

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