How often does referees show yellow cards at the World Cup?
FIFA World Cup is not only about the exciting matches, wonderful dribbles and amazing goals, it is also about the harsh game and sometimes a very brutal fight between to teams from the first till the very last minute. During such important games, the referees are very busy and very often have to book the players with yellow or even red cards. How was it four years ago at World Cup in Brazil? Let’s find out.
In 64 matches at the previous World Cup, the referees showed an overall number of 187 yellow cards (average of 2.92 card per game) as well as 10 red cards (average of 0.16 card per game). What may be quite surprise for You, the most yellow cards were shown to the host team of National Team of Brazil and the most brutal game was that of Costa Rica vs Greece in which the referee had to show 8 yellow and one red card. When it comes to the individual statistics, the king of hunting was Thiago Silva. The referees showed the captain of the Brazil team three cards and it seems this is not a surprise as the Canarinhos played the most games and as a typical central defender, Silva was more prone to commit fouls, as in the case of any defensive player in opposite to the attackers. Continuing this thought,You will be surprised that after Thiago Silva, the majority of players with two cards were...attackers! The likes of Mario Balotelli, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie were only a few strikes that were booked in 2014 in Brazil. Sergio Ramos, Diego Godin, or maybe Neymar? Who will get the most cards this year?
And who will be the winner of the least-prestigious award of the russian tournament? As we already mentioned, the defensive players like central defenders have the best chances of getting the most cards. Especially those from the strong, quality national teams as those teams have better chances of progressing to the next rounds and the longer the team will play, the higher possibility that of of its players will get cards in those matches. The bookmakers favourite seems to be Javier Mascherano from national team of Argentina with the odds of 13/1 (14.00), despite him not being among the most aggressive defenders and his quite old age.
The rest of the candidates that bookmakers think can be booked more than few times are no surprise. Even though the English league is known for its harsh-tackle, aggressive game, after Mascherano, it is two central defenders from the Spanish La Liga that have best chances of getting many cards, namely Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid and Diego Godin from Atletico Madrid. Both sweepers are offered for 17/1 (18.00) odds which is quite good. At first glance, the presence of Neymar, an offensive, technically skilled player among these more “brutal” footballers may be a surprise, especially with his odds of 23/1 (24.00). But we are not surprised that much, wonder why?
Between 2009 and 2017, one of the most brutal, aggressive players in the top competitions was Real Madrid’s Pepe who was booked 124 times with yellow cards and received 6 red cards. At the same time as the Portuguese player was criticized for his harsh game, FC Barcelona's Neymar was booked with 131 yellow cards and 7 red cards! Although not very tall, strong or intimidating, the Brazilian winger (as his whole team) is known for many cheating simulations and arguing with the referee. The player is known for his short temper and very often gets booked for his childish behaviour. Furthermore, because of his weak physique, he is very easily fouled and when not happy about it (especially when his team is losing, or more importantly he did not score and is playing bad), he will seek revenge by kicking his rivals. We have seen countless situations in which his name was present at the scoreboard more often with yellow card than a goal.
Of course, this is all a funny novelty bet and it is quite difficult to predict what will happen. But if we have to choose, from the obvious reasons that we mentioned above, we will choose Neymar as the player who will receive the most bookings at the 2018 World Cup.