Goal records tumble in World Cup qualifiers

These European Qualifiers set new records for overall goals scored in FIFA World Cup preliminaries and for the highest-scoring individual and team campaigns.

Belgium, like Germany, scored a record 43 goals in their group
Belgium, like Germany, scored a record 43 goals in their group ©AFP/Getty Images

With 794 goals across the 270 group games, the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup were the highest-scoring ever.

The most goals previously scored during a full set of European World Cup qualifying groups was 760 in 2006, when 276 matches were played. UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying then set the record total for goals scored across the groups in a single European cycle when 839 were struck – though that took 310 matches (2.70 per game, compared with this campaign's 2.94).

Meanwhile Belgium and Germany's respective tallies of 43 goals were the most ever registered in a single European Qualifying group for a World Cup or EURO, as was Robert Lewandowski's personal haul of 16.

World Cup qualifying top-scoring teams
1= Belgium 43
1= Germany 43
3 Spain 36
4 Portugal 32
5 Poland 28
6 Sweden 26
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina 24
8 Switzerland 23
9= Italy 21
9= Netherlands 21

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