Qatar 2022: The Dirtiest Players At The World Cup
Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenković is the most ill-disciplined player set to take to the park at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to research undertaken by Gambling.com.
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 UK 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 them to their third qualification for the world’s greatest tournament since they became an independent nation back 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.
The Fiorentina man 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:
Milenković is followed on the list by a familiar name to Premier League fans, 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.
Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi is just behind him in the standings 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 them from surprise second placers in Tunisia, as Jalel Kadri’s side ended up with an average score of 4.21.
Plenty of World Cup free bets are likely to be used on the number two rated side in the FIFA rankings, Belgium.
And given that they are number three in our table, it may be the case that the no nonsense style that Roberto Martínez has implemented may 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 Sunday, November 20.
Surprisingly, given the fiery nature of South American qualifiers, World Cup favourites Brazil find themselves all the way down at 23rd in the ill-discipline stakes. Which may just be a good thing for Tite’s men ahead of the big kick-off.
Of the other fancied teams, France can be found in 16th place, Germany in 25th and the Netherlands all the way back in 27th spot.
However, Costa Rica are officially the cleanest team heading to Qatar as they picked up a lowly average of 1.98 leading into the competition, they are the only team to dip under a mark of two out of the 32 teams to qualify.
What about England, you ask? Well perhaps they need to get down and dirty if they want to keep Gareth Southgate in a job.
Declan Rice was the only player to hold an index score of three or higher after the Qualifiers were over, while their team average of only 2.31 makes them the third cleanest country getting on the plane to the Middle East.
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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.
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 totalled up using a points system similar to that used by UK 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 are the hosts, and thus did not need to qualify for the tournament, games from their shadow participation in Group A of European World Cup qualifiers were used to calculate their scores.
The data was compiled using statistics curated by Wyscout, who are a world leading football scouting company for Player Agents, Scouts, Players, Journalists and Referees.
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