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World Cup 2022: Are we set for another penalty record in Qatar?

29 penalties were taken at the 2018 World Cup, an increase of 16 from the previous tournament
29 penalties were taken at the 2018 World Cup, an increase of 16 from the previous tournament

We are now just over seven weeks until the first-ever World Cup will be held in the winter. This renewal is sure to be different in many ways and today at BettingOdds we’ve decided to take a deep dive into some historical data from previous tournaments. 

In 2018, the World Cup was held in Russia, and was the first time that VAR had been implemented. We’ve therefore decided to put penalties under the microscope and have started with the total penalties awarded at each tournament. 

Total Penalties Awarded

The first World Cup was held in Uruguay all the way back in 1930 with a total of only four penalties awarded, with the host nation going on to lift their first title in Montevideo. Below we’ve listed each tournament, the host nation, and how many penalties were awarded in total.

  • 1930 - Uruguay - 4
  • 1934 - Italy - 5
  • 1938 - France - 5
  • 1950 - Brazil - 3
  • 1954 - Switzerland - 7
  • 1958 - Sweden - 10
  • 1962 - Chile - 8
  • 1966 - England - 8
  • 1970 - Mexico - 5
  • 1974 - Germany - 8
  • 1978 - Argentina - 14
  • 1982 - Spain - 10
  • 1986 - Mexico - 16
  • 1990 - Italy - 18
  • 1994 - USA - 15
  • 1998 - France - 18
  • 2002 - Korea/Japan - 18
  • 2006 - Germany - 17
  • 2010 -South Africa - 14
  • 2014 - Brazil - 13
  • 2018 - Russia - 29
World Cup 2022 Odds
World Cup Penalties Awarded Total

Penalties per game awarded

As we can see from the data above, the inclusion of VAR in 2018 led to an increase of more than 50% in the total penalties from the tournament prior. However, it’s worth noting that the amount of teams competing in the World Cup has increased over time, meaning we should naturally see a rise in the total number of penalties.

Between 1934 and 1978, only 16 sides competed in the World Cup finals. That figure was then increased to 24 sides in 1982 before rising to 32 in 1998 and if all goes as planned the 2026 renewal will include a whopping 48 teams from around the globe. 

We’ve therefore decided to take a look at how penalties awarded per match have averaged since 1930, and you can see the results below. 

  • 1930 - Uruguay - 0.22
  • 1934 - Italy - 0.29
  • 1938 - France - 0.28
  • 1950 - Brazil - 0.14
  • 1954 - Switzerland - 0.27
  • 1958 - Sweden - 0.28
  • 1962 - Chile - 0.25
  • 1966 - England - 0.25
  • 1970 - Mexico - 0.16
  • 1974 - Germany - 0.21
  • 1978 - Argentina - 0.37
  • 1982 - Spain - 0.19
  • 1986 - Mexico - 0.31
  • 1990 - Italy - 0.34
  • 1994 - USA - 0.28
  • 1998 - France - 0.27
  • 2002 - Korea/Japan - 0.27
  • 2006 - Germany - 0.26
  • 2010 -South Africa - 0.22
  • 2014 - Brazil - 0.21
  • 2018 - Russia - 0.45
World Cup   Penalties Awarded Per Game

How does this translate into betting?

So as we can see, 2018 set the record for the most penalties ever awarded at a World Cup tournament. This is no secret to the bookmakers, however it may still be worth giving a bit of extra thought or putting extra emphasis on certain players and markets when selecting your bets.

Top Goalscorer

First up, the top scorer market. In 2018 Harry Kane became the first Englishman since Gary Lineker to be awarded the Golden Boot at a World Cup. In total, Kane scored six goals in Russia, all of which came from inside the box however, 50% of those came from the penalty spot. With four places available each-way at 1/4 odds with most of the big players, it’s certainly worth identifying penalty takers for each side before placing your wagers.

Anytime Scorers

Another market where an increase in penalties could prove a profitable betting angle is when it comes to anytime scorers. Particularly in the group stages with the lower ranked nations, when bookmakers may be a little unsure on who will step up from twelve yards, this may create a situation where we have a player who represents value in the anytime scorer market. 

Shots on Target

Finally shots on target. At the most recent World Cup, the three players who registered the most shots on target were all penalty takers for their country. Neymar (13), Antoine Griezmann (11) and Cristiano Ronaldo (8), were the highest ranking players for shots on target. Again, punters should be aware of the correlation between this and penalty taking.

We’ll have a full list of set piece takers for each of the nations for the 2022 tournament available here on BettingOdds.com in the coming weeks.

World Cup Odds

Argentina
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Odds correct as of 2022-12-09 19:40 Odds subject to change.
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