SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Players from the Premier League and the Spanish league scored nearly half of the goals at the World Cup in the group stage.
Of the 122 goals in the 48 matches so far, 31 came from players in England’s top league and 29 from players in Spain. Four other goals came from players on teams in those country’s second division.
The Premier League has two of the top scorers: Tottenham striker Harry Kane with five goals for England and Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku with four for Belgium.
The Spanish league has Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo with four goals for Portugal, Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa with three for Spain and Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev with another three for Russia.
Kane and Lukaku were left out of their teams’ final group match on Thursday as both had already reached the next round. The top five leading scorers will continue playing in the knockout stage.
Players from the French league scored nine goals, one more than players from the German Bundesliga. The Italian league was next with its players scoring seven goals.
The top four clubs releasing players to the World Cup were from the Premier League (Manchester City and Chelsea) and the Spanish league (Real Madrid and Barcelona).
Real Madrid led the club list with nine goals from its players, followed by Barcelona and Tottenham, with eight goals each.
Among the teams with the most players at the World Cup, Bayern Munich was the only one without any goals from its players in Russia. Bayern was the top scoring team four years ago in Brazil, with its players finding the net 18 times.
Major League Soccer has seen two of its players score — Carlos Vela of Los Angeles FC for Mexico and Kendall Waston of the Vancouver Whitecaps for Costa Rica.
A total of 86 players scored in the group stage, which ended with a goal average of 2.5 per match. Four years ago in Brazil, 136 goals were scored in the group stage, with an average of 2.8 per game.
There were nine own-goals in the tournament in Russia, a World Cup record.
The only scoreless game came when Denmark played France in Moscow on Tuesday.
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