World Cup 2014

World Cup stats: CONCACAF holding their own in Brazil, have been third best region since 1998

So far, the 2014 World Cup has been great for CONCACAF. No one can argue that, really.

Nations from the North American confederation have gone 3-1-1 so far in the tournament, easily outperforming the African and Asian confederations. They are even averaging more points per game and have a better goal differential, than the European contingent.

Shocked?

Don't be. This is actually not as far out of the ordinary as you might think.

In the four World Cups from 1998 to 2010, CONCACAF was the third best confederation during the group stage. This is evidenced by the confederation's output in terms of points per game and goal differential.

When we take a look (see table below) we can see that CONCACAF doesn't challenge Europe or South America. But it has been better than Asia and Africa -- despite not having the benefit of hosting the tournament, the way both Asia (2002) and Africa (2010) has.

REGION GAMES PLAYED POINTS PER GAME GOAL DIFFERENTIAL
CONMEBOL 57 1.88 46
UEFA 171 1.59 68
CONCACAF 39 1 -21
CAF 63 .89 -32
AFC 48 .83 -68

It's important to remember that CONCACAF's strong numbers come from only two teams, USA and Mexico. The longtime rivals combined for 1.25 points per game from 1998 to 2010, while the five other CONCACAF entrants have managed just nine points in 15 games.

When looking at goal differential the situation is quite different. CONCACAF really has only one team to rely on: Mexico.

Even though the USA advanced out of the group stage twice in four tries, their total goal differential in the four tournaments was -8. Meanwhile, El Tri advanced out of the group all four times and had a positive goal differential each time. Their overall goal differential for the four tournaments is +6.

CONCACAF will look to continue their winning ways in Brazil on Friday when Honduras, the region's only winless side, face off against Ecuador