How Many Corners on Average Per World Cup Game?

football cornerCorner kicks can lead to some exceptional moments of football. In fact, 76% of the goals scored from corner kicks in the 2018 World Cup determined the match result. This is also why it is a popular betting market for punters to back.

It is good to know what the average number of corner kicks awarded in the World Cup is, though. After all, if you know this, you will likely be able to place a more informed bet. At the same time, it stands out as being interesting knowledge to have in general. This is information we will look into here.

We’ll also look into the circumstances surrounding when a corner kick occurs. Plus, we’ll offer some top moments up when such events happened at the World Cup. Often times, the World Cup corners lead to goals. Join us if you want to know more about the average number of corners awarded in the World Cup.

When Is a Corner Kick Awarded in Football?

2018 world cup corner egypt v uruguay
Soul Train, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Corner kicks are, of course, kick of the ball that come from the corner of the pitch. Corner kicks can only come from official authorisation of the referee. They are one of the easier outcomes to witness, though. A corner kick occurs when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line. This can be in the ground or in the air, and it has to have last touched a player from the defending team. It does not occur if a goal takes place, though.

The procedure for this takes place as follows:

  1. The player must place the ball in the corner nearest to the point where it left the pitch.
  2. The ball has to remain in a stationary position and is then kicked by the player.
  3. The ball is in-play when it is kicked and moves. It does not need to leave the corner area for this to be the case.
  4. The corner flag post should not be moved.
  5. Opponents have to remain at least 10 yards from the corner arc until the ball is in-play.

Certain offences and sanctions can also occur during a corner kick. They are as follows:

  • If once the ball is in-play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player, an indirect free kick takes place.
  • If the kicker commits a handball offence, a direct free kick is awarded. Or, if the offence occurred inside the kicker’s penalty area, then a penalty kick is awarded.

Average Number of Corners in a World Cup Game

ronaldinho takes a corner kick during the World Cup in Germany
Ronaldinho takes a corner kick during the World Cup in Germany – whistlebettyboop, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is difficult to determine the exact number of corner kicks at a World Cup. We can look at how things progressed in the 2022 World Cup on corners. The team with the highest number of corner kicks was Denmark, averaging out at 11.7 per game. Of course, the team only played three games before being knocked out. One against Tunisia (a 0-0 draw), one against France (a 2-1 loss) and one Australia (1-0 loss).

Tunisia is next in line with 10.78, then losing finalists France took 10.4 corners per game and Ghana follows on with 9.9. Serbia was the team that received the fewest corners, averaging at 6.9 per game.

What we can also take a look at is the average corner kicks per game for some of the biggest divisions around the world. If we look at the Premier League in England, 10.19 corners occur per game on average. The Scottish Premiership features 10.52 corners on average. Meanwhile, La Liga of Spain usually has 9.44 corners taking place. The Bundesliga features 9.7 on average per game.

You could also factor those figures in when speaking of the World Cup. The biggest divisions in these countries feature the best players and teams. The World Cup also features the world’s best teams competing against one another. Therefore, there is likely to be a similar number of corners occurring on average, too.

The University of Alicante does have a study on corners taken during the World Cup 2018, Russia. That study revealed that 606 corners took place in 64 matches from the competition. It also focused on specific features of the corners. This saw it highlight whether the corner occurred from the left or right position. It also looked at the time when the corners happened, and so on.

The results of this analysis determined that right and left corner kicks were even. At least, when it came to their distribution. Unlike previous matches though, corner kicks from the left occurred between the 16th and 30th minutes. From the right, most occurred between the 61st and 75th minutes.

It is also true to say that in 2014, there were 358 corner kicks. Of those corner kicks, 16 of them resulted in a goal for a team. Working that out in a percentage format, it stands at 4.5% conversion into goals.

Do Olympic Goals Occur in the World Cup?

Cesáreo Onzari olympic goal 1924
First goal scored direct from a corner kick, shot by Argentine player Cesáreo Onzari against Uruguay – Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Olympic Goal’, then allows us to explain. It is actually quite the rarity in football. Scoring a goal from the corner setup is a common enough occurrence. This sees the ball kicked in from the corner and one or more other players knock it into the goal. Yet it is a lot less frequent that a direct corner kick ends up in a goal occurring. This type of goal utilises the name of an ‘Olympic Goal’.

The origin of this name goes back to the last Olympics to take place in Paris. That was in 1924. Those games also doubled as a World Cup of sorts. There were 22 countries partaking in the event altogether. It was the first time that Egypt, Turkey, Uruguay and the USA entered the competition.  Uruguay became the champions that year.

One month after that, the team faced Argentina in a double-header friendly match. It is the second of those games that made history. In the 15th minute, Cesáreo Onzari, playing for Argentina, took a corner kick. This flew straight into the net of the Uruguayan team without anyone else touching it. That served as the first goal of this type in history.

In those early days, the goal received the name of ‘Onzari’s Goal Against the Olympians’. Over time, this name shortened down to the “Olympic Goal”. Onzari spent the rest of his life claiming that the goal was something he did on purpose. Yet many dispute this and call it a lucky fluke.

It’s quite the complex goal to score, and so it has not featured in a frequent way at World Cups. In fact, the only time an Olympic Goal did occur is at the 1962 edition. Chile hosted the seventh edition of the tournament. Yet it was Colombia that left an impression. On June 3, 1962, the Colombian team took on the Soviet Union in a Group 1 battle. In the 8th, 10th and 11th minutes, the Soviets had scored goals. Colombia battled back with their first goal at 21 minutes by German Aceros. Yet the Soviet Union scored a fourth at 56 minutes, thanks to Viktor Ponedelnik.

Things went by at a 4-1 score for several minutes before a corner arrived for Colombia at 68 minutes. Marco Coll stepped up to take it and marked his name in the history books. Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin mounted his defence, imposing authority on the defenders. Coll noticed the height difference of the Soviet team. He had little ability to pick out a teammate to kick the ball towards.

Instead, an idea came to him. As Yashin crept out of his goal line (thinking he could catch the ball in an easy way), Coll struck. A quick shot at the near goal post saw the ball drift past the keeper and into the net. This remains as the only time an Olympic Goal has taken place at the World Cup.

Coll’s version of the goal didn’t have the dramatic effect of Onzari’s in 1924. Yet it left everyone stunned and a huge roar of approval from the Colombian fans. Yashin would end up berating a defender for letting the ball past him. Colombia, meanwhile, went on to score two more goals. They came from Jose Rada and Marino Salazar in the 72nd and 86th minutes.

The final score? 4-4. Colombia didn’t make it past the group stage in that World Cup, having lost to Uruguay and Yugoslavia. Yet the Olympic Goal against the Soviet Union has gone down in history.

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