It’s important to have an aggressive defender eager to steal the ball or make that critical tackle when needed, but if the manager gives the nod to the wrong man for the job then it might just cost your country a chance at hoisting the Cup.
In fact this World Cup following the first 34 matches, only 6 experienced a player receiving the deadly straight red card. Of those 6 matches, 5 resulted in the team losing the match due to the disadvantage of playing the rest of the match a man down and only 1 resulted with the team achieving a draw.
The goal differential between the teams that played a man down verses those that had the advantage is obviously a disheartening one as well. Straight red carded teams lost by a combined total score of 3-13. Australia was the only team that suffered a straight red card in their first two matches this World Cup and the Socceroos were trounced by Germany 4-0 (the worst loss this Cup down a man) and they also fought their way to a 1-1 tie with Ghana (the best result of any straight red carded team) despite playing an entire half minus one man, but they did score their lone goal of the match in the initial minutes when the sides number of players was still equal.
The only other two matches that resulted in a team drawing or winning despite playing a man down was when Uruguay tied an ineffective France squad 0-0 in their debut match and the Frenchman only had around a 10 minute advantage due to a late second yellow card for Sky Blue defender Lukovic. Brazil did win a match over the Ivory Coast 3-1 despite Kaka suffering a double yellow exit, but that poor call and dismissal was very late in the match and following Brazil’s three goals. The team held on to the victory despite the great acting of the Ivory Coast player.
But straight red cards usually have a greater effect on the match at hand then two yellows because they are often suffered in the first half of the competition meaning offenses will have more time to score against the undermanned squad. And the likelihood of the team becoming exhausted due to expending the extra effort begins to factor in as well; whereas the second yellow card is usually suffered near the end of the match and has a less significant affect on the game. Australia is the only team in their first two matches that was able to play an entire half down a man and not allow a goal, but the overall record of any team red carded in a match (not including Brazil’s Kaka) is 0-2-8. And the overall goal deficit of the undermanned squad is a lowly 3-17.
And the deeper your favorite team goes in the Cup the greater the chance they will be playing against a powerhouse offense eager to take advantage of the extra player on the pitch.