As 2015 draws to a close, FIFA.com looks over some of the year’s most eye-catching football stats.
2 different continental titles were won by the same men's team for the first time when Australia lifted the AFC Asian Cup in February. The Socceroos had previously lifted the OFC Nations Cup, and beating Korea Republic also enabled Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano - the two survivors of Australia's most recent triumph in Oceania in 2004 - to become the first male players to pick up winner's medals from two different continental championships.
8 Bundesliga titles was the record-equalling tally reached by Bastian Schweinsteiger in April, taking him level with benchmark-setters Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl. What all three have in common is that every one of their championships was won in the colours of Bayern Munich, who fortified their position as Germany’s pre-eminent force with a 25th league crown. Bayern racked up three successive titles for the fourth time in their history, with Gladbach the only other German side to have managed this particular feat.
3 FIFA Women's World Cups™ was the new record haul USA secured with a spectacular win in July’s Canada 2015 Final. The Stars & Stripes' Carli Lloyd-inspired 5-2 victory over Japan took them past Germany into outright first place in the all-time standings, with all manner of records rewritten in the process. The match itself was comfortably the highest-scoring Women's World Cup final of all time, eclipsing inside 27 minutes the previous benchmark of four - set by the same teams four years earlier. And in a fixture in which no-one had previously scored before the 20-minute mark, USA established a 4-0 lead inside an incredible opening 16. It was during that period that Lloyd, the tournament's outstanding player, became the first women to net a hat-trick in a World Cup Final.
105 years of waiting ended for Chile in July when they won their first major trophy: the Copa America. Perhaps fittingly, La Roja's opponents were Argentina, the same team they had faced in their first-ever match in May 1910. This long-awaited success came after 173 matches in this tournament for the Chileans, dating back to the Copa America's first edition in 1916. But while one drought ended, another continued, with Argentina extending past 22 years their wait for a major trophy.
78 was the combined age at which beach soccer stalwarts Alan and Madjer finally got their hands on a world title in July. Both Portugal stars were again among the end of tournament award winners at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with Madjer taking his remarkable tally of individual honours to eight (two adidas Golden Balls, one Bronze Ball, three Golden Scorer and two Silver Scorer awards). His latest honours were earned by an impressive eight-goal haul over the course of the latest edition, boosting to 85 the veteran's already tournament-record tally.
1501 days after being relegated to Argentina’s second tier for the first time, River Plate became champions of South America and completed a unique treble. A resounding 3-0 win over Tigres in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final in August left Los Millonarios holding all three CONMEBOL titles simultaneously – a feat never before achieved.
50 goals was the figure Wayne Rooney became the first England player to reach, breaking the record Sir Bobby Charlton set in 1970. The Manchester United striker became his country’s all-time leading scorer with a penalty in a 2-0 defeat of Switzerland at Wembley in September.
5 Robert Lewandowski goals in eight minutes and 59 seconds was the feat that stunned football in September. Bayern Munich’s Polish striker came off the bench with his team 1-0 down to Wolfsburg only to single-handedly turn that deficit into a 5-1 lead between the 51st and 60th minutes. In the space of this remarkable burst, Lewandowski went from scoring from the fastest Bundesliga hat-trick - three minutes and 22 seconds – to setting new records for speedy four and five-goal hauls. The 27-year-old also became the first Bundesliga player in 24 years – since Duisburg’s Michael Tonnies managed it against a certain Oliver Kahn – to find the net five times in a single game, and is the first to do so as a substitute.
52 years to the month after their first bid ended, Albania finally reached a major tournament at the 23rd time of asking in October. Gianni De Biasi’s rank outsiders had begun their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign beneath each one of their Group I rivals on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – and with a stunning 1-0 success in Portugal. They concluded it by pipping Denmark to second spot with a 3-0 win away to Armenia, equalling their biggest-ever competitive win in the process.
324 Real Madrid goals was the record tally to which Cristiano Ronaldo ascended in October. The Portuguese surpassed Raul’s erstwhile record in a 3-0 win over Levante, and did so in just his 310th appearance for the club. To put that achievement in context, Raul scored his 323 goals over 741 games.
10 goals in seven appearances was the impressive tally that earned Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen a new FIFA U-17 World Cup record in November. The Golden Eaglets star found the net at least once in every one of his outings at Chile 2015, with his final haul eclipsing the previous benchmark of nine set by France’s Florent Sinama Pongolle in 2001 and equalled by Souleymane Coulibaly of Côte d’Ivoire a decade later. The strike that broke the record also propelled Nigeria towards a fifth U-17 World Cup crown, bolstering their already-preeminent tally with a 2-0 win over a Mali side appearing in their nation's first-ever FIFA final.
100 international clean sheets was the amazing milestone reached by Iker Casillas in November, establishing him as the first keeper in history to reach a century. The Spain captain reached this landmark in a dominant 2-0 win over England that also saw the 34-year-old earn his 165th cap – matching the European record held by Latvia’s Vitalijs Astafjevs. What’s more, his shutout helped secure a sixth straight win without conceding for La Roja, equalling their best-ever run in this respect.
11 successive English Premier League matches were marked with a Jamie Vardy goal, earning the Leicester City striker a new record. The 28-year-old, who was playing in England’s sixth tier just four years ago, surpassed Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record with a goal against the Red Devils in November.
184 international goals was the world-record haul on which Abby Wambach retired in December, bowing out after her 255th USA appearance. The legendary striker, who also contributed 73 assists to the national team’s cause, bid farewell as another run came to an end, with the US losing 1-0 to China PR – their first home defeat since November 2004, a streak spanning 104 matches.