Home > Tournament Statistics, World Cup > US v. England: Almost Australia v. Germany?

US v. England: Almost Australia v. Germany?

Easily my favorite new statistic from FIFA for this World Cup is the Actual Playing Time: the minutes a team actually has the ball during a match.  It can tell you the pace of the game at a glance and can give you a good sense of exactly how frenetic some teams’ attacks can be.

For example, out of the 90+ clock minutes in the US v. England match, the teams only controlled the ball for 60 minutes.  But in the South Korea v. Greece match, the teams controlled the ball for an astonishing 82 minutes.

In this site’s ongoing quest to find statistics that help us better understand the game, here’s a couple we propose:  Minutes in Possession per Shot and Shot on Goal and Opponent’s Minutes in Possession per Shot, Shot on Goal, and Fouls Committed.

Here are the statistics for two matches: US v. England and Australia v. Germany.

  SOG% Min/S Min/SOG Opp (Min/S)   Opp(Min/SOG)
Team A 63% 2.3 3.6 3.0 15.0
Team B 20% 3.0 15.0 2.3 3.6
Team C 44% 1.8 4.0 2.2 7.0
Team D 31% 2.2 7.0 1.8 4.0

Can you guess which match is US v. England and which is Germany v. Australia?

Team A was Germany, B was Australia, C was England, and D was the United States.

No team so far in the World Cup has allowed shots with the frequency which the U.S. did against England.  For every 1 minute and 48 seconds England had the ball, they got a shot off.  (Australia is second-worst in this category.)  And England put a shot on goal once every four minutes of its possession.  (Australia conceded a shot on goal every 3:36 of Germany’s possession.)


So what does this tell us?  First, that the United States allowed England to take way too many shots.  Had there been just a little less downtime — no match has had fewer minutes of actual play than the US v. England match — the U.S. could’ve been in trouble.  Second, that Tim Howard is world class (it could’ve been 4-1).  And third, if the U.S. can maintain possession long enough, they show some potential offensively.  After all, the only teams with fewer minutes of possession per shot on goal than the U.S. (7.0) are: Argentina (6.0), South Korea (5.9), South Africa (5.8), England (4.0), and Germany (3.6).  Not bad company for the U.S.

  1. July 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Both sides let down. USA gave the early one, fortunately for them, they go lucky.

    • Michael
      July 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      When you’ve got an unpredictable ball and a one-goal deficit, luck favors the side taking the shots. Gotta hand it to Dempsey: a fair number of US players either don’t attempt that shot or don’t put it on goal. But certainly not the decisive score that inspires your squad.

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