Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Winners and Losers in Top Level Soccer. How Do They Differ?

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Winners and Losers in Top Level Soccer. How Do They Differ?

Article excerpt


Soccer game reflects the potential and the performance characteristics of each team. Technical, tactical, physiological and psychological interactions determine team performance as well as the result of the game. Match analysis is defined as the objective recording and assessment of behavioral actions that occur during soccer games (Carling, Williams, & Reilly, 2005). Essentially it is considered as the primary source of information for the training staff regarding the strengths and weaknesses of own and opponent teams (Carling, Reilly, & Williams, 2008; Martinez & Lago, 2007; Zubillaga, Gorospe, Mendo, & Villaseñor, 2007). Researchers perform more and more complex qualitative and quantitative statistics for highly expertized analyses of defensive and attacking behaviors. The final results, qualifications, promotions, victories as well as the league rankings have been examined and correlated with a variety of performance indicators.

Ball Possession

The literature review showed that possession is frequently related to performance. In World Cup of 1990 (Hughes & Franks, 2005), in Euro of 2000 (Hook & Hughes, 2001), as well as in World Cups of 2002/2006/2010 (Castellano, Casamichana, & Lago, 2012) the most successful teams performed higher possession percentage than the less successful ones. Jankovic and colleagues (2011a) also added that in World Cup of 2010 the winners performed longer possession ratings than losers, while the opponent teams presented similar ratings after draws (Jankovic, Leontijevic, Pasic, & Jelusic, 2011a). Japheth and Hughes (2001) also added that the national team of France performed longer possession percentage than their opponents during Euro of 2000. Similarly, the most successful teams of 2001/2 English Premier League performed longer possession ratings than the less successful ones (Jones, James, & Mellalieu, 2004). They also added that both successful and unsuccessful teams had longer possession when they were losing matches compared to winning results. The 170 soccer matches of 2003/4 Spanish leagues showed that there is a possession advantage for the home teams (Lago & Martin, 2007). Furthermore, the researchers concluded that when teams are back on score, they increase their possession ratings during the game (Bloomfield, Polman, & O'Donoghue, 2005; Jones et al., 2004; Lago & Dellal, 2010; Lago & Martin, 2007; Sasaki, Nevill, & Reilly, 1999). In the same way, Lago and colleagues (2010) concluded an advantage of successful teams in possession ratings of 2008/9 Spanish leagues (Lago, Lago, Dellal, & Gomez, 2010). In Champions League analyses of 2007-2010 games it was found that winners performed higher possession ratings than defeated teams (Lago, Lago, & Rey, 2011). In contrast, it was found that in World Cup of 1994 the possession did not affect the result (Stanhope, 2001).


Literature review suggested that overall passes and passing accuracy are related to the final result of a game. It has been found that in 1998 and 2010 World Cup as well as in 2009/10 Champions League the successful teams performed greater overall passes and passing accuracy than the less successful ones (Jankovic et al., 2011a; Szwarc, 2007). Similarly, the qualified teams for that World Cup performed higher number of passes than the non-qualified (Reed, 2004). In 2000 Euro cup the winner covered longer distance by passing game than the other teams (Luhtanen, Belinskij, Hayrinen, & Vanttinen, 2001). Comparisons between more developed and less developed leagues showed great differences in overall passes and passing accuracy (Bekris et al., 2010). In the same way, in Bosnian and Herzegovina 2008/9 Premier League the winners performed around 50% more passes than the loser ones, but in 2008 Euro there were not significant differences between the two comparing groups (Kapidzic, Mejremic, Bilalic, & Becirovic, 2010). …

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