Need the toilet during the footy? Here’s when you’re statistically least likely to miss a goal

World Cup 2018 Goals Stats

Because nobody likes to miss a World Cup goal.

We’ve all been there. There’s been no action for at least twenty minutes. In theory, anything could happen, but you’re pretty sure it won’t, so you go to the bathroom.

As you unzip you hear the familiar roar of your fellow supporters as an unexpected goal hits the back of the net, and you curse yourself for thinking you could slip out even for a few minutes.

We’ve attempted to make sure that situation never happens to you again. How you ask? By analyzing every world cup goal since 1986, to see when you’re most likely safe to pop off to the loos without missing a goal.


Image : TimeOut

Take a look at when the data says you’re safest to pop off for a minute or two. Note: this can also be applied to heading to the bar, obviously.

Stay put: 80’ – 85’

Don’t even think about heading off to take a leak here. 7.7% of all world cup goals in the past three decades have been scored in this five minute period, and the stats tell us you’re more likely to miss the action than any other time in the game.

In general, goals are scored more often as you get towards the end of the match – so the earlier you need to disappear, the better. Take a look at our graph below, where you can goals scored by the minute of the match:


Image: World Cup goals scored between 1986 and 2018.

Runner up: 1’ – 5’

It may seem fairly obvious, but on average only 4% of world cup goals are scored in the first five minutes of the game. This is the second least busy period for goal scoring, so you’re unlikely to miss anything if you make yourself scarce here.

Fun fact: three goals have been scored in the first minute of a world cup match since 1998. These were by Hakan Şükür for Turkey, Wilson Oruma for Nigeria, and Clint Dempsey for the USA.

Go for it: 30’-35’

This is five minutes you can probably afford to miss. Only 3.6% of goals have been scored between minute 30 and 35, which is half as many as 80-85. This is your golden opportunity to sneak off to the bog or replenish at the bar.

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Breakdown by half

First Half: 39.2% of all goals scored

Second Half: 52.8 of all goals scored

Extra time: 8% of all goals scored

There’s not much in this one. On average, if you need to risk it, you’re better off in the first half of the game, but there’s not a big gap between the first and second half.

So there you have it. If you need to go, you know when to hold it til! Now all you need is your team to hold their own.

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Daniel Cody

Daniel Cody is SEO Editor at the New Statesman, and the creator of No Majesty. He is the host of the podcast Britain on the Rocks.