What makes the difference? Analysis of the 2014 World Cup

Michel Dufour, John Phillips, Viviane Ernwein


FIFA World Cup tournements have historically been comprehensively analysed by numerous authors. The present study perpetuates the dissection of the biggest football event in analyzing some of indicators related to success during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. We sought to identify indicators which best discriminate between winning and losing teams and between qualified and non-qualified teams for the second round. We found that winning teams scored more goals (ES 0.57), had more attempts (ES 0.3), a lower rate of attempt per goal (ES 0.59), a lower rate of attempt on target per goal (ES 0.53), a higher rate of attempts on target per attempt (ES 0.34) and a lower number of yellow cards per game (ES 0.24). Qualified teams differentiated by scoring more goals (ES 0.50), a lower rate of attempts per goal (ES 0.50), a lower rate of attempts on target per goal (ES 0.48) and a higher rate of attempts on target per attempt (ES 0.29). These were the only indicators related to success among a list of 55. Possession, pass efficiency, defensive metrics or patterns of play were not a mark of success. None of the athletic indicators observed had an impact on winning or qualifying during the 2014 World Cup. This study revealed that shooting efficiency was the factor that made the difference during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.




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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2017.123.06