We analyse the distributions of the number of goals scored by home teams, away teams, and the total scored in the match, in domestic football games from 169 countries between 1999 and 2001. The probability density functions (PDFs) of goals scored are too heavy-tailed to be fitted over their entire ranges by Poisson or negative binomial distributions which would be expected for uncorrelated processes. Log-normal distributions cannot include zero scores and here we find that the PDFs are consistent with those arising from extremal statistics. In addition, we show that it is sufficient to model English top division and FA Cup matches in the seasons of 1970/712000/01 on Poisson or negative binomial distributions, as reported in analyses of earlier seasons, and that these are not consistent with extremal statistics. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved
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