World Cup's dirtiest player?

According to Opta Sports, this player registered the most number of fouls at the ongoing World Cup in Brazil. While two others managed to get cautioned without even featuring.
By Bhas Kunju | Chief Editor, Goal Singapore

19 fouls from five matches played, three more than the next closest player, makes Marouane Fellaini the leader in fouls conceded at the World Cup.

The Belgium midfielder featured in every match in Brazil, and managed to get on the scoresheet once as well.

Heralded as one of the tournament's darkhorses, the young European side eased their way into the quarter-finals before getting knocked out by Argentina. Fellaini served as a defensive lynchpin in Belgium's World Cup run, partnering Axel Witsel in midfield.

Surprisingly, despite recording the most fouls, the Mancheter United player was never booked.

Robin Van Persie and Fernandinho, of Netherlands and Brazil respectively, are the remaining active players in the competition with the highest foul count, with 12 recorded offences.

However, having played 415 minutes, Fellaini's statistic of 19 fouls averages an infringement every 22 minutes of play. A high number, but still lower than other players.

Iran's Reza Ghoochannejhad, managed to concede 16 fouls from 270 minutes of play, making him the second highest player to concede fouls. Unusually, unlike Fellaini, Reza played as a forward, proving it's not just defensive players who are prone to fouling.

Costa Rican duo, Christian Bolanos and Bryan Ruiz, are the next highest with 14 and 13 fouls each, with Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri also registering 13 offences.

But the player with the highest number of fouls relative to game time, is Netherland's Jeremain Lens.

The Dutch forward managed to foul nine times from just 127 minutes of play, averaging an offence every 14 minutes. In comparison, Fellaini, registered a foul every 22 minutes ,and Reza every 16 minutes.

One could also make a case for the duo of Liassinie Cadamuro-Bentaiba and Oscar Granados, who were both recepients of a yellow card without even stepping on the pitch.

Cadamuro-Bentaiba, was booked for time wasting while sitting on the Algerian bench and Costa Rican Granados was cautioned for protesting a referee's decision.

Croatia's Eduardo, meanwhile, somehow found himself on the referee's bad side, going into the books from just 21 minutes of playing time.

Fellaini, is also not the only Belgium player with an unwanted distinction.

Steven Defour's red card for a reckless challenge in the game against South Korea came after seeing 44 minutes of World Cup action, the shortest red card to playing time ratio. Ante Rebic of Croatia registers a similar statistic as well, after his sending off against Mexico.

Probably, one of the most dubious honours at the World Cup has to go to England's Rickie Lambert. The 32-year-old has been one of the fairytales of modern English football, and was rewarded with a trip to Brazil.

Despite England looking less than sharp in front of goal, the new Liverpool forward never started any of the three matches at the World Cup. He did, however, come off the bench in the 2-1 loss to Uruguay, where he still somehow managed to concede a foul - from just three minutes of playing time.

Lambert failed to feature again for England, sitting out the last Group Stage game against Costa Rica.

Ivory Coast's Giovanni Sio, will be taking home a similar legacy as well from the World Cup. The forward recorded two fouls from seven minutes of action.