Final Analytics Post: Soccer World Cup 2010!

July 11, 2010
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In a few hours, Holland and Spain will challenge each other for the Soccer World Cup title in South Africa. 

The tournament has been punctuated by political drama (France), amazing athletic surprises (South Africa, Uruguay, Ghana) and controversial calls (US-Slovenia, UK-Germany games to name a few).

Holland and Spain have met 9 times in FIFA tournaments since 1920, have each has won 4 times and tied once!  This game, the tenth in their common history, will tip the balance!

In a few hours, Holland and Spain will challenge each other for the Soccer World Cup title in South Africa. 

The tournament has been punctuated by political drama (France), amazing athletic surprises (South Africa, Uruguay, Ghana) and controversial calls (US-Slovenia, UK-Germany games to name a few).

Holland and Spain have met 9 times in FIFA tournaments since 1920, have each has won 4 times and tied once!  This game, the tenth in their common history, will tip the balance!

It’s always difficult to use historical information dating to 1920 to determine who will win though.

As I discussed in a world cup radio interview here, team’s performance is the result of players’ performance.  Fixtures and formations on each side vary from games to games and from cup to cup so, analytical supporters are better off using recent history.

To this effect, I created “Soccer Mood Analytics” – which indicate how a team should feel about their performance as they get into their upcoming game. 

You can see Spain’s “Mood Analytic” here and Holland’s here

In my definition, Mood is influenced by a team’s performance in recent games with similar fixtures/formations and the rank difference between the team assessed and their opponent (More on “Mood Analytics” here).  My analytics indicate that Spain has had more challenging opponents collectively (Germany and Portugal in particular).   Holland did win against Brazil and, contrary to Spain, has not lost a single game since the beginning (Spain lost against Switzerland).   Both teams have great players of course, but Spain seems to have relied on David Villa disproportionality so far.  Villa scored 5 of all of 7 Spanish goals – in contrast, Holland’s 12 goals came from 6 different players. 

If the games goes into penalty kicks – you’ll hope that the Spanish team will be using the “penalitycs” I refer to in this video (@ 1:02 min).   According to Castrol Analysis, David Villa has failed to convert 4 of the last 8 penalties he took and 9 of the last 11 penalties missed by the Spaniards were taken by center forwards.

There are also social media analytics to consider.  While Holland gets most of the positive social media attention here, the crowd seems to think Spain has an advantage (Castrol Football index here).  For more on social media analytics buzz, check out http://extendedresults.com/worldcup/

This game should be fun and I hope that many of you will get to enjoy it.  May the best team win…and everything is possible…any given Sunday!

Bruno Aziza

Author, Drive Business Performance

On twitter @brunoaziza

Sources:

Prior article: The Future of Soccer is in its Analytics: http://smartdatacollective.com/Home/27719

Fifa Analytics: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/statistics/teams/

Castrol Analytics: http://www.castrolfootball.com/penaltyanalysis/