The FIFA World Cup 2022 is entering its business stage from today as the knockout rounds start. Group games are concluded and half of the sides have already packed their bags for an early departure from Qatar.
In the group stage matches, we have seen many records created. The stats say this World Cup has broken many old feats and it only promises to create further in the coming weeks.
Manchester City quartet John Stones, Nathan Ake, Rodri and Manuel Akanji have already engraved their names in a unique stat after the group stage fixtures. Man City have the traditional style of passing football that coincides with a hold of possession in the games. They also have a playing out-of-the-back regime, which has been implemented under the tutelage of current manager Pep Guardiola.
And the habits have continued with the aforementioned players in the World Cup. The four players are top of the pile when it comes to players with the most ball carries. This is the first time four players representing a single club have taken the first four positions of a particular stat in World Cup football.
Stones, Ake, Rodri and Akanji have travelled the farthest with the ball in this World Cup after the group stages, and all of them wear the sky blue of Manchester City.
England centre back John Stones tops the list as he has travelled 1080 metres with the ball in the three games that he has played. Netherlands' Nathan Ake is second, covering 1001 metres. The duo have had the ball in their feet and have ran more than a km in the matches, which is an astonishing stat.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Rodri is 3rd in the list with 992 metres covered. The Spanish defensive midfielder has honed defensive duties in Qatar and has glided in the defensive to the midfield region with Spain. He also stands 2nd in the rank with the most passes per 90 minutes, with more than 143 passes to his name. His Spanish compatriot Pau Torres lead the list with 173 passes.
Switzerland's Manuel Akanji sits fourth, travelling 883 metres with the ball.
Quite simply, centre-backs dominate this list due to much more freedom for them to move with the ball at their own defensive third while the build-up. But four Manchester City players at the same time is not a mere coincidence, but a reflection of their playing style at the club level.
All the players will have the chance to enhance their stats in the upcoming knockout fixtures. England take on Senegal, while the Netherlands are up against USA. Spain will be squaring off against Morocco as Switzerland prepares a date with Portugal.