Winning First: Women’s World Cup Football

Last week, I wrote about winning first in cricket (link). That post was informed by a generic interest in winning first in tournament play.

I did follow closely, the 2019 Women’s Football World Cup and have a Google Sheet of the tournament (link). One of my interests was how the Elo rated teams performed. My estimates for 2019 were informed by two priors from the 2015 tournament hosted in Canada (link). In 2015, in the Group Games, 86% of the games were not lost by the higher Elo rated scoring first (31 games out of 36). In the Knockout Phase, in 82% of games the higher Elo rated team that scored first did not lose (13 games out of 16).

Scoring first in tournament play is, I think, very important and has direct relevance about how teams prepare for the first game. There is only one home team and in 2019 it was France (link).

In the first round in France, 10 of the 12 games were won by the higher Elo rated teams. The two exceptions were: Australia v Italy; Japan v Argentina. Australia lost to Italy 1v2 and Japan drew with Argentina 0v0. At that time, Australia was rated 9 Elo ratings above Italy and Japan 30 above Argentina. I believe both results had profound implications for Australia and Japan. In Australia’s case, Australia scored first and lost.

In the remaining Group Games, 11 out of 12 games were won by the higher Elo rated team (the exception was Nigeria v Korea Republic) in the second round of games. The third round of games was much more volatile. 7 of the 12 games were won by higher Elo rated teams. These games saw teams looking to qualify for the knockout stages. In these games: Spain drew with China PR; Scotland drew with Argentina; Canada lost to the Netherlands; New Zealand lost to the Cameroon; and Thailand lost to Chile.

In total, 81% of Group Games in 2019 were not lost by the higher Elo rated team (the figure in 2015 was 86%). The percentages by Group Games were: Round 1, 83%; Round 2, 92%; Round 3, 58%.

Developing Women’s Football in Jordan

Nehad Makhadmeh presented her initial PhD seminar at the University of Canberra yesterday.

NM1

The aims of her research are to:

  1. Explore talent identification and development pathways in women’s sport in general and football in particular.
  2. Contribute to the flourishing of women’s football in Jordan, particularly in the north of the country (establish a club team in Al Ramtha).
  3. Evaluate the potential of an Australian talent identification and development process in two Jordanian communities (Amman and Al Ramtha).
  4. Investigate the relative age effect on selection processes in Jordanian sport.
  5. Establish talent selection criteria for women’s football in Jordan.
  6. Recommend long-term strategies for athlete development in women`s football that can inform other sports in Jordan.

IMG_0718Nehad’s research questions are:

  1. What does the extant literature tell us about talent identification and development pathways in women`s sport in general and football in particular?
  2. What are the opportunities and constraints in establishing a women’s club team in Al Ramtha?
  3. What is the potential of an Australian talent identification and development process for the development of women`s football in two Jordanian communities (Amman and Al Ramtha)?
  4. Is there any evidence of the prevalence of a relative age effect in selection process and on athlete retention in Jordanian sport?
  5. What are the most appropriate talent selection criteria for female football players in Jordan?
  6. What culturally sensitive, long term-strategies for athlete development in women`s football can inform other sports in Jordan?

The University of Canberra has close links with Capital Football and a growing connection with Football United. Nehad will work with these organisations to explore the development of women’s football.

This will be one of the first studies to explore talent development in north Jordan.  Nehad hopes to use Australian insights to enable a sustainable approach to talent development in women’s football in Jordan. She will focus on Al Ramtha and Amman. An aspiration for her research is that her findings offer a model for other sports within Jordan and the region.

I am supervising Nehad’s PhD along with Stuart Cathcart.

Women's Football Olympic Tournament 2012

The twelve teams that contested the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2012 were:

The FIFA rankings of these teams on 1 June 2012 were:

1 USA

2 Germany

3 Japan

4 Sweden

5 Brazil

6 France

7 Canada

8 DPR Korea

9 England

23 New Zealand

28 Colombia

50 Cameroon

61 South Africa

The results of the Group games were:

The Knockout stage results were:

Tournament data from the London 2012 web site: