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Opta’s 22 Best Sports Facts of 2022

A vintage year for sport – that’s the verdict on 2022. Once again, there to record it in all its glory, database it and turn it into fascinating facts and figures were sports tech company Stats Perform and its global Opta stats team.

The world’s leading provider of sports information covers dozens of sports and competitions across the globe and works with the media, teams, federations, sponsors and bookmakers to produce millions of pieces of insight every year to inform, educate and entertain sports fans, professionals and gamblers alike.

We asked Opta to delve into their treasure trove of facts and pull out 22 highlights to honour 2022 and spur some fun conversations as the new year kicks off.

Men’s Soccer

The year ended with arguably the greatest men’s World Cup final in history as Lionel Messi lifted the trophy and added more fuel to the never-ending debate over who is the greatest player of all time.

  1. Messi made his 26th appearance in a World Cup match, becoming the all-time record holder for most games played at the tournament, overtaking Lothar Matthäus.
  2. Messi was directly involved in 21 goals at the World Cup (13 goals, 8 assists), the most of any player at the finals on record.
  3. There were 172 goals scored at the 2022 World Cup, a new all-time competition record. There were five penalty shootouts in Qatar, the most of any single edition in the history of the competition.
  4. Morocco became the first African team to qualify for the semi-final of the World Cup.
  5. There were 15 cards shown to players that entered the field of play in the Argentina and Netherlands match — the most in a World Cup game.
  6. Brazil became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated from a knockout match in which they scored the opening goal during extra time.

Women’s Soccer

  1. England’s women’s side went through 2022 without losing a match (W16, D4), including their run to EUROs glory in the summer where they became the fifth nation to win the championship.
  2. Boss Sarina Wiegman became the first manager to win the trophy with two different sides (P12, W12).

Cricket

  1. In cricket, England travelled to Pakistan for a Test series for the first time since 2005. In the 1st Test there were 1,768 runs scored, the most ever in a 5-day Test match, England’s tally of 506 runs on day one was also a record.
  2. In April, Australia claimed a 7th Women’s World Cup title. In doing so, Alyssa Healy (509) became the first player to score 500+ runs in an edition of the competition.

Rugby Union

  1. In Rugby Union, New Zealand’s Portia Woodman topped the charts for tries (7), metres gained (494), defenders beaten (30) and line breaks (12) at the Rugby World Cup this year, after having also topped the charts for each of those categories in the 2017 edition; Woodman (20) overtook Sue Day (19) as the top try scorer in RWC history at this year’s tournament.

Rugby League

  1. Australia won the men’s Rugby League World Cup for the third time in a row and the 12th time overall. The Kangaroos’ Josh Addo-Carr scored 12 tries – tied for the most by any player in an edition of the Rugby League World Cup.

Golf

  1. Matt Fitzpatrick’s victory at the 2022 U.S. Open golf tournament was his first major championship, his victory came at Brookline where he became US Amateur champion in 2013, becoming just the second male golfer after Jack Nicklaus to win the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur title at the same course.

Cycling

  1. In 2022, for the first time in Tour de France history, three cyclists (Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard) won at least one stage with the yellow jersey.

F1

  1. Lewis Hamilton failed to win an F1 race in 2022, ending a run of 15 consecutive years with at least one win in a season, while rival Max Verstappen won 15 races, the highest tally by a driver in a single year in Formula One.

MLB

  1. In baseball, 73-year-old manager Dusty Baker became the oldest manager or head coach of an MLB/NBA/NHL/NFL/MLS team to win a championship as the Houston Astros won the World Series.
  2. Aaron Judge, who set an American League record with 62 home runs this season, also won AL MVP, becoming the only player in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year (2017), be named MVP and hit 60 homers in a season in his career.

NBA

  1. The Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in six games in the NBA Finals with all six games being decided by at least 10 points. It was the first NBA Finals ever to go at least six games and not have any games decided by single digits.
  2. Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets was named NBA MVP after a season in which he became the first player since Kevin Garnett in 2002-03 (with Minnesota) to lead his team in points, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in the same season

NFL

  1. The Los Angeles Rams became the first team in NFL history to win three games by three or fewer points in a single postseason, culminating in a 23-20 win in Super Bowl LVII.

Tennis

  1. Iga Swiatek stayed unbeaten for 135 days between February and July 2022, winning 37 matches in a row and six consecutive titles. That equalled Martina Hingis’ longest winning streak in the WTA Tour since 1990.
  2. Rafael Nadal became the oldest winner of the French Open at Roland Garros, and he has lost just three of his 115 matches in the tournament’s history. The Spaniard has won 63 titles on clay courts, at least 14 more than any other player in the Open Era.

There will be plenty of magic next year, too — and Opta will be there capture it all. Roll on 2023!

Check out ten highlights from Stats Perform’s stellar 2022 here and their new product finder tool here.

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