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Average Actual Playing Time

August 7, 2010 3 comments

I compiled the data from all of the match reports from the FIFA 2010 World Cup into a spreadsheet.  Here’s what I found in terms of Actual Playing Time:

In the average 90-minute match at the 2010 World Cup, the average actual playing time in a match that had a winner was 68.0 minutes.  The average actual playing time for matches that ended in a draw was 67.2 minutes, a difference of less than one minute.

What’s this mean?  Well, a couple things.  First, these APT calculations INCLUDE the stoppage time, so even when the referee adds in time to a match, teams generally play 22-23 minutes less than the “full 90.”  Second, the consistency between APT during matches with a winner and those ending in a draw is surprising.  It suggests that regardless of the score, there can be incentives for time wasting.

New Links to World Cup Numbers

August 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Just published another article on the USA 10 Kit: my overview of the averages for shots, APT, and fouls committed for teams that win, lose, or draw.  Check it out here.

While I was working on that article, I found a post on Attacking Soccer from last month that had a number of interesting quick-hit statistics about the World Cup.

Categories: General News, World Cup

Writing for The USA 10 Kit

July 28, 2010 1 comment

As I alluded to yesterday, the folks at The USA 10 Kit are giving me a chance to join them.  I’m really excited about this opportunity and look forward to your continued support.

My first story, What Made Charlie Davies Great?, is up on the site now.  It is a comparison of Davies’ stats from the Confederations Cup and Robbie Findley’s stats from the World Cup.  If you have a chance, please check it out.

Teams that foul less, win more

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Based on our calculations, you can determine who won a match in the 2010 World Cup knockout rounds by looking at who committed fewer fouls.  In 11 of the 16 matches, the cleaner team won.  (We define “win” as a victory without resorting to a shootout.)  One team, Paraguay, committed fewer fouls than its opponent, Japan, and won in the shootout.  Two matches had teams tie on fouls committed.  And two teams played cleaner than their opponent but still lost.

OUR DATA

If you define a positive outcome as either a non-shootout win or a tie (to be broken in a shootout), here are the odds that winning a statistic will coincide with a positive outcome.  Based, for the moment, on just the knockout round results. Read more…

Shots on Goal: Chance of being held scoreless

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Emboldened by FIFA’s recognition that players are rated based on what’s statistically likely to happen as the result of their actions and not necessarily what does, I thought I’d highlight an interesting piece of information: the value of a shot on goal.

As previously noted, it has been commonly and consistently observed that roughly 24% of shots on goal result in goals.  So I thought I’d take that information and calculate roughly your chance of being held scoreless based on the number of shots you put on goal.

                                     Shots on Goal
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7    8 12
76% 58% 44% 33% 25% 19% 15% 11% 4%

As you can see, the big action is statistically on the early shots on goal.  Take one SOG and you’ve got a 76% chance of being scoreless.  Take another one, you’ve got a 58% chance of being scoreless (an 18% drop).  The third shot drops you down another 14%.  And the fourth, another 11%.  Of course, each new SOG has its own 24% chance of going into the net, but if you are lucky enough to go 5-6 SOGs without conceding, you have to be thinking the soccer gods are smiling upon you.

The obvious limitation of this analysis is that momentum exists and can affect the outcome of matches.  When it’s in your favor, your goalie becomes superhuman.  When it’s against you, well, you know what happens.  For the time being, let’s assume that being scored upon shifts momentum against you and that you are less likely to both (a) score and (b) prevent a goal.  If this were true, teams like the U.S. that allow opponents to put together dangerous attacks early, are playing with statistical fire.  Give up the first three SOGs and six out of ten matches, you’re going to be behind at least one goal early.

The 2010 World Cup: Good Things from the U.S.

June 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Last summer, the United States made it to the Confederations Cup final.  Now, one year later, the U.S. won its group and advanced to the Round of 16 at the World Cup.  It might be hard to look at the U.S.’s performance: falling short against a team that it could (perhaps should) have beaten as a good sign, but perhaps it was.

Remember that the United States’ performance in the semi-finals and final of the Confederations Cup was other-worldly.  We scored goals 2.4x more frequently than the historical average (based on the rate of shots on goal that actually went into the goal).  And we were one of the most heavily penalized teams in FIFA tournament history.

But in this World Cup, we weren’t scoring with ridiculous frequency.  We played disciplined soccer most of the tournament, avoided too many dangerous plays, and created with a forward who didn’t get much playing time with his club team and others who are relatively new to the international game.  And Gooch and Bocanegra were both coming off injuries, meaning that neither were at 100%.

In short, things did not fall the United States’ way.  And we still (a) got out of the Group Stage and (b) played well against a very talented Ghana team led in part by a keeper who barely plays for his club(s) but is playing out of his mind at the World Cup (he’s rated higher than Tim Howard by the Casterol Index).

U.S. fans are (and should be) very proud of this team.  And particularly excited about its prospects for 2014.  It is a good time for American soccer and I hope that new fans to the Men’s National Team stick around long enough to enjoy it.

U.S. v. Ghana: Initial Impressions

June 26, 2010 4 comments

It ends in the same place it did in 2006: a 2-1 loss to Ghana.  But unlike 2006, there is no sense that the U.S. got cheated.  We earned our yellow cards.  Failed to put the ball in the net in the run of play.  And allowed a team that had only scored two goals (both on penalty kicks) to score twice on good strikes.

Will Bradley’s decision to start Clark be criticized?  Of course.  Even Bradley seemed to admit it, taking out Clark in the 31′ minute and brining in the man everyone expected to start: Maurice Edu.  (Bradley said in post-game interviews that the decision was based on the yellow card Clark earned after retaliating for the goal.)  Edu came into the match completing 76% of his passes.  Clark managed only 53%.  And today, while Edu completed 69% of his passes, Clark managed only 54%.  In the middle of the field, you need players who can move the ball well.  Michael Bradley can:  completing 68% of his passes and leading the squad with Jay DeMerit in passes completed (47).

But the score was tied from the 62′ minute until the 93′.  The U.S. clawed back from possessing the ball less than 33% of the time to a 51-49 split with Ghana.  And both teams completed roughly 60% of their passes (US-60%, Ghana-63%), put six shots on goal, though the US took more total shots (20 to Ghana’s 16), and averaged the same speed (14.3 mph).

So where’s the problem?  I’ve said it time and time again:  it’s passing.  Ghana passed 711 times to our 632.  Their two forwards (Gyan and Prince) totalled 59 completed passes.  As for Altidore, Findley, and Gomez?  19.  Altidore led the way with nine.

Combined, our forwards completed fewer passes than either of theirs.  In other words, when the ball got up to our forwards, they either shot it or lost it.  We didn’t do much better passing in the Confederations Cup:  where the U.S. lost in the final to Brazil.

Read more…

Categories: World Cup