Football was now a truly global, visible sport as the 1970s had proven, and the World Cup its most significant event both in terms of prestige and viewing figures. However, while the first six World Cups saw an average of 4.28 goals per game, peaking in Switzerland in 1954 with 5.38, the 1960s onwards saw a general trend of decline that reached its lowest ebb in Italia ’90, where a paltry 2.21 goals per game were scored. Defence was king as the free-scoring ‘50s receded from view, but Spain ’82 did provide some respite from the doldrums.
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