Home > Tournament Statistics, World Cup > U.S. v. England — Let’s Talk Ball Possession

U.S. v. England — Let’s Talk Ball Possession

Now that FIFA’s maintaining (and providing) detailed statistics, it’s time to bring back one of our most popular features: “Let’s Talk Ball Possession.”  Here’s how it works — we take the Ball Possession Heat Map compiled by FIFA for a match, crunch the numbers, and present the results.  In the past, we used Ball Possession % multiplied it by 90 minutes, but that was rough.  After all, there are plenty of lulls in the action.  For the World Cup, FIFA has added a statistic “Actual Playing Time” that tracks each team’s total time in possession of the ball.  Against England, the US was actually in possession of the ball for 28 minutes, compared to England’s 32 minutes.

The Ball in the U.S. Back Third:  15.24 Minutes

The U.S. spent 19% of its time in possession of the ball in its own back third.  11% of its time in front of its goal.  England spent 31% of its possession in our third, half of which (15%) was directly in front of our goal.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Total Minutes in U.S. back third: 15.24
  • U.S. in Possession:  5.32 minutes
  • England in Possession: 9.92 minutes
  • England in Possession on Wings:  5.12 min.
  • On U.S. left:  3.72 minutes
  • In U.S. center: 7.88 minutes
  • On U.S. right: 3.64 minutes

The Ball in the Midfield:  29.24 min.

The U.S. spent 53% of its possession in the middle of the field.  England spent 45% of its possession in the middle of the field (16% on left; 17% in center; 12% on right).

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Total minutes in midfield: 29.24 min.
  • U.S. in Possession:  14.84 min.
  • England in Possession: 14.4 min.
  • On the U.S.’s Left:  6.92 min.
  • In the Center of the field:  11.6 min.
  • On the U.S.’s Right:  10.72 min.

The Ball in England’s Back Third:  15.52 min.

The U.S. spent 28% of its possession in England’s back third.  England spent 24% of its possession in its own back third.  14% of the U.S.’s possession (3.92 min.) was in front of the England goal.  13% of England’s possession (4.16 min) was in front of its goal.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Total minutes in England’s back third: 15.24 min.
  • U.S. in Possession:  7.84 min.
  • U.S. in Possession on Wings:  3.92 min.
  • England in Possession: 7.68 min.
  • On the U.S.’s Left:  3.64 min.
  • In the Center of the field:  8.08 min.
  • On the U.S.’s Right:  3.8 min.

Attacking Summary for U.S.

If we add up the numbers for the front and the middle and sort them by side of the field, we can see how much time the U.S. spent in possession ostensibly on the offensive.

  • Total time:  22.68 min.
  • Total % of ball possession: 81%
  • On the Left:  4.48 min. (16% of possession)
  • In the Center:  10.08 min. (36% of possession)
  • On the Right:  8.12 min. (29% of possession)
  • Shots (on goal):  13(4)
  • Minutes in Possession per Shot: 2.2 min/shot
  • Minutes in Possession per Shot on Goal: 7 min/SOG 

Attacking Summary for England

  • Total time:  24.32 min.
  • Total % of ball possession: 76%
  • On the Left:  7.36 min. (23% of possession)
  • In the Center: 10.24 min. (32% of possession)
  • On the Right:  6.72 min. (21% of possession)
  • Shots (on goal):  18(8)
  • Minutes in Possession per Shot: 1.8 min/shot
  • Minutes in Possession per Shot on Goal: 4 min/SOG 
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