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The trivial game

The gap between good and bad teams at the World Cup finals has narrowed dramatically over time. One measure of this is the average number of goals scored each game. Large differences in ability will be reflected in games in which teams are defeated by many goals. The average was 3.89 in the first competition in 1930, rising to a record 5.38 in 1954. There was then a sharp fall to 2.78 in 1962, and ever since it has fluctuated around 2.5. This is despite a big expansion in the number of teams in the finals…

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