Scoring first in football project: two FIFA World Cups

This is a second post in the scoring first in football project. The first reported on six European leagues in the 2017-2018 season.

The methodology discussed in the first post was replicated in my analysis of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. My data came from the Wikipedia pages for the tournaments.

Here I share probabilities for:

  • score first win (SFW)
  • score first draw (SFD)
  • score first lose (SFL)
  • 0 v 0 game (0goals)
  • scoring first and not losing (SFNL)

I wondered if these measures could inform a naive Bayes approach to probabilistic behaviours in the upcoming World Cup.

For the 2010 World Cup my median probabilities are:

  • SFW 0.67 (Group 0.67, Knockout 0.69)
  • SFD 0.17 (Group 0.17, Knockout 0.13)
  • SFL 0.00 (Group 0.17, Knockout 0.06)
  • 0goals 0.17 (Group 0.17, Knockout 0.13)
  • SFNL 0.83 (Group 0.83, Knockout 0.82)

For the 2014 World Cup my median probabilities are:

SFW 0.67 (Group 0.67, Knockout 0.69)

SFD 0.00 (Group 0.00, Knockout 0.13)

SFL 0.17 (Group 0.17, Knockout 0.06)

0goals 0.17 (Group 0.17, Knockout 0.13)

SFNL 0.82 (Group 0.75, Knockout 0.82)

Note: for the purposes of this analysis, I have used the score at the end of regulation time. The data do not include any games won in extra time or in penalty shoot outs. I have recorded the 2010 World Cup final, for example, as a 0 v 0 (0goals) game. Spain scored the winning goal in the second period of extra time (Iniesta 116 minutes).

Photo Credit

Soccer City (Shine 2010, CC BY 2.0)

Performance at Sea Level and at Altitude at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa

I monitored the performance of teams at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. I was interested in goal scoring performance at sea level and altitude and summarised the data in Goals Scored at 2010 FIFA World Cup Venues.

Watching the 2010 Football World Cup took me back to the 1995 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in South Africa. I was a member of the Welsh Rugby Union’s management team at the 1995 RWC and was there as a performance analyst. It was the last tournament at world level before the professional rugby union era. Invictus dramatises some of the events at that RWC. It remains the only RWC tournament to be played in part at altitude.

I have revisited performances at the 1995 RWC and present some data here about points scoring performance at sea level and altitude. There were 32 games played at the 1995 RWC, 24 Group Games and 8 Knockout Games. The results from these games can be found here.

These are the data from the games played (averages with .66 and .5 are rounded up and averages with .33 rounded down):

Qualifying Stage: Total Points Scored Each Game

Sea Level (Groups A and B)

Points Scored

VenueGame 1Game 2Game 3TotalAverage
East London60585617458
Durban42476615552
Stellenbosch454545
Cape Town45297437
Port Elizabeth3738209532

Altitude (Groups C and D)

Points Scored

VenueGame 1Game 2Game 3TotalAverage
Bloemfontein6778162307102
Rustenberg89724019164
Johannesburg62434715251
Pretoria48464113545

Note: Japan played all three pool games at Bloemfontein. New Zealand scored 145 points in the game against Japan. Cote d’Ivoire played all three pool games at Rustenberg and conceded 89 points to Scotland in their first game.

Knockout Stages: Total Points Scored Each Game

Sea Level

Points Scored

VenueGame 1Game 2TotalAverage
Cape Town477412161
Durban48348241

Altitude

Points Scored

VenueGame 1Game 2TotalAverage
Pretoria782810653
Johannesburg56278342

Qualifying Stage: Total Points Difference Each Game

Sea Level (Groups A and B)

Points Difference

VenueGame 1Game 2Game 3TotalAverage
Stellenbosch393939
Port Elizabeth3116206722
East London24663612
Durban67223512
Cape Town9132211

Note: only one game was played at Stellenbosch. Australia defeated Romania.

Altitude (Groups C and D)

Points Difference

VenueGame 1Game 2Game 3TotalAverage
Bloemfontein472212819766
Rustenberg89361814348
Pretoria283636723
Johannesburg242515017

Note: Japan played all three pool games at Bloemfontein. New Zealand scored 145 points in the game against Japan. Cote d’Ivoire played all three pool games at Rustenberg and conceded 89 points to Scotland in their first game.

Knockout Stages: Total Points Difference Each Game

Sea Level

Points Difference

VenueGame 1Game 2TotalAverage
Durban2442814
Cape Town3161910

Altitude

Points Difference

VenueGame 1Game 2TotalAverage
Johannesburg2833116
Pretoria18102814

Literature

Sport Science support for rugby union performance was emerging in the mid 1990s. There is very little digital literature available on the support players received in the early years in the 1990s. From personal experience the biggest development was in strength and conditioning support. This situation was transformed by the professionalisation of the game after RWC 1995 and there was an explosion of interest in supporting athletic performance thereafter. 

Ronan O’Carroll and Donald MacLeod (1997) presented some findings on the Scottish rugby team that participated in the 1995 RWC (Scotland played all three of its RWC at altitude in Group D). Michael Hamlin and his colleagues (2008) note that “Repetitive explosive power (∼−16%) and 20-m shuttle performance (∼−3%) decreased substantially at altitude compared to sea level. Acclimatisation to hypoxia had a beneficial effect on sub-maximum heart rate and lactate speed but little effect on other performance measures. In conclusion, 1550-m altitude substantially impaired some measures of performance and the effects of prior adaptation via 9–13 sessions of intermittent hypoxia were mostly unclear.” (Some related articles here.)

Ross Tucker (2010) has provided further insights into playing rugby at altitude (see here also).

Penalty Shoot Outs at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The 2010 World Cup Regulations stipulate that:

In the knockout stages, if a match is level at the end of normal playing time, extra time of two periods of 15 minutes each will be played. If the score is level after extra time, penalty kicks will be taken to determine the winner in accordance with the procedure described in the Laws of the Game.

There were 2 penalty shoot outs in the Knockout Stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Game 55 Paraguay v Japan

Paraguay took the first penalty, Japan the second. The scoring sequence of this shoot out was:

1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, Japan miss, 4-2, 4-3, 5-3. Paraguay win.

Game 58 Uruguay v Ghana

Uruguay took the first penalty, Ghana the second. The scoring sequence of this shoot out was:

1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, Ghana miss, Uruguay miss, Ghana miss, 4-2. Uruguay win.

Outcomes of Shoot Out

Higher FIFA Ranking Team

Wins 2

Loses 0

Team that takes the first penalty in the shoot out

Wins 2

Loses 0

Team that scores the first goal in the shoot out

Wins 2

Loses 0

Photo Credit

Santa Maradona