How Common Are Own Goals At The FIFA World Cup?

own goal definition dictionaryOwn goals can be pretty funny for some spectators, frustrating for others and humiliating for the guilty party. But how common are they?

At the most recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar there were just two own goals in the whole tournament.  This was in stark contrast to Russia 2018 when there were five own goals scored in the opening 20 group stage games. That made for 11% of all the total number of goals scored up until that point.

While own goals do affect the outcomes of football matches, they do not count towards a first goal scorer bet which will simply move on to the next goal (always bet on no goalscorer not 0-0 for this reason).  They do, however, count towards correct score, both teams to score, over/under and other markets.

Nevertheless, because of the impact own goals have on matches many bettors like to know the stats around such on field occurrences and with World Cup 2026 coming into view we thought we see how common own goals were in the biggest event in football.

World Cup of Own Goals

world cup trophy and ballThere have been 22 renewals of the FIFA World Cup with 964 matches and more than 2,670 goals scored in that time.

Of those goals scored, only 55 have been own goals.

In 1997, FIFA published new guidelines for classifying an own goal as

“when a player plays the ball directly into his own net or when he redirects an opponent’s shot, cross or pass into his own goal”, and excludes “shots that are on target (i.e. goal-bound) and touch a defender or rebound from the goal frame and bounce off a defender or goalkeeper”.

There is no case of one single player scoring more than one World Cup own goal, although there are teams that have scored more one own goal.

Mexico, who also scored the first ever World Cup own goal in its inaugural hosting, hold the record of scoring the most World Cup own goals, having netted home between their own sticks on four separate occasions.

The biggest beneficiaries from others’ misfortune are France who have lucked out from opponents scoring own goals in six different World Cup matches.

Out of the 55 matches where an own goal was scored, only eight have ended as wins for the team that scored them.

Eight other games have ended as draws meaning that on 39 occasions the team that scored the own goal went on to lose and because only 13 of these have been scored in the first stages of the tournament, these errors have proved extremely costly in the past.

In fact, football has even seen tragedy previously when, after scoring an own goal for Colombia against the USA in the American World Cup of 1994, Andres Escobar was fatally shot on a night out in Medellin, which was said to be as retaliation for Colombia’s elimination from that year’s competition.

Record Was Set In 2018

YearOwn GoalsMatchesOwn Goals / Game% Matches With Own Goals
Total / Average539000.065.6%

The World Cup own goal record was set at Russia 2018 when 12 unfortunate souls slotted home at the wrong end. In fact, after 17 games OG was the leading goal scorer in the tournament. Of course, FIFA’s new criteria might have had something to do with the increase.

In Russia, own goals were particularly impactful as every one of them was scored by the team that would go on to lose. As an example, Aziz Behich was eventually deemed to have hit one into his own net when Paul Pogba, who was originally awarded the goal, deflected off the ball Australian defender in what was eventually a 2-1 win for Les Bleus.

Deflections are unfortunate as players struggle to avoid what would otherwise be an errant shot. That was certainly the case when the ball deflected wickedly off of Nigerian Oghenekaro Etebo’s leg to give Croatia a 1-0 lead four years ago.

In Italy 90 there were no own goals scored at all, a first since 1962.

Own Goals Scored At The FIFA World Cup Tournaments

YearHostsOwn Goal ScorerNationalityOpponentRoundWin Or Lose
1930UruguayManuel RosasMexicoChileGroup StageLose
1938FranceErnst LörtscherSwitzerlandGermanyFirst RoundWin
1938FranceSven JacobssonSwedenHungarySemi FinalLose
1950BrazilJosé ParraSpainBrazilFinal RoundLose
1954SwitzerlandJimmy DickinsonEnglandBelgiumGroup StageLose
1954SwitzerlandRaúl CárdenasMexicoFranceGroup StageLose
1954SwitzerlandIvica HorvatYugoslaviaWest GermanyQuarter FinalLose
1954SwitzerlandLuis CruzUruguayAustria3rd Place Play OffLose
1966EnglandIvan VutsovBulgariaPortugalGroup StageLose
1966EnglandIvan DavidovBulgariaHungaryGroup StageLose
1970MexicoJavier GuzmánMexicoItalyQuarter FinalLose
1974West GermanyColin CurranAustraliaEast GermanyGroup StageLose
1974West GermanyRoberto PerfumoArgentinaItalyGroup StageDraw
1974West GermanyRuud KrolNetherlandsBulgariaGroup StageWin
1978ArgentinaAndranik EskandarianIranScotlandGroup StageDraw
1978ArgentinaErnie BrandtsNetherlandsItalySecond RoundWin
1978ArgentinaBerti VogtsWest GermanyAustriaSecond RoundLose
1982SpainJozef BarmošCzechoslovakiaEnglandGroup StageLose
1986MexicoLászló DajkaHungarySoviet UnionGroup StageLose
1986MexicoCho Kwang-raeSouth KoreaItalyGroup StageLose
1994United StatesAndrés EscobarColombiaUnited StatesGroup StageLose
1998FranceTom BoydScotlandBrazilGroup StageLose
1998FranceYoussef ChippoMoroccoNorwayGroup StageDraw
1998FrancePierre IssaSouth AfricaFranceGroup StageLose
1998FranceAndoni ZubizarretaSpainNigeriaGroup StageLose
1998FranceSiniša MihajlovićYugoslaviaGermanyGroup StageDraw
1998FranceGeorgi BachevBulgariaSpainGroup StageLose
2002South Korea and JapanJeff AgoosUnited StatesPortugalGroup StageWin
2002South Korea and JapanCarles PuyolSpainParaguayGroup StageWin
2002South Korea and JapanJorge CostaPortugalUnited StatesGroup Stagewin
2006GermanyCarlos GamarraParaguayEnglandGroup StageLose
2006GermanyCristian ZaccardoItalyUnited StatesGroup StageDraw
2006GermanyBrent SanchoTrinidad and TobagoParaguayGroup StageLose
2006GermanyPetitPortugalGermany3rd Place Play OffLose
2010South AfricaDaniel AggerDenmarkNetherlandsGroup StageLose
2010South AfricaPark Chu-youngSouth KoreaArgentinaGroup StageWin
2014BrazilMarceloBrazilCroatiaGroup StageWin
2014BrazilNoel ValladaresHondurasFranceGroup StageLose
2014BrazilSead KolašinacBosnia and HerzegovinaArgentinaGroup StageLose
2014BrazilJohn BoyeGhanaPortugalGroup StageLose
2014BrazilJoseph YoboNigeriaFranceRound of 16Lose
2018RussiaAziz BouhaddouzMoroccoIranGroup StageLose
2018RussiaAziz BehichAustraliaFranceGroup StageLose
2018RussiaOghenekaro EteboNigeriaCroatiaGroup StageLose
2018RussiaThiago CionekPolandSenegalGroup Stagelose
2018RussiaAhmed FathiEgyptRussiaGroup StageLose
2018RussiaDenis CheryshevRussiaUruguayGroup StageLose
2018RussiaEdson ÁlvarezMexicoSwedenGroup StageLose
2018RussiaYann SommerSwitzerlandCosta RicaGroup StageDraw
2018RussiaYassine MeriahTunisiaPanamaGroup StageWin
2018RussiaSergei IgnashevichRussiaSpainRound Of 16Win
2018RussiaFernandinhoBrazilBelgiumQuarter FinalLose
2018RussiaMario MandžukićCroatiaFranceFinalLose
2022QatarNayef AguerdMoroccoCanadaGroup StageLose
2022QatarEnzo FernándezArgentinaAustraliaRound Of 16Win

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