Passing Patterns within the 2010 World Cup in South Africa
University of Wales
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The present study investigated the passing patterns present within the 2010 World Cup held in South Africa. Every match in which goals were scored (n = 57; total goals - 144) has been analysed. The five minutes leading up to and that followed a goal were analysed, and the frequency of passing and the percentage of successful passes were compared between these periods. Performance indicators within a computerised system were used in order to deem a team’s successful and unsuccessful passes before and after a goal. Analyses were undertaken on group matches as a whole, the latter stages, the entire competition, and when comparing the four most successful and unsuccessful teams within the competition. Intra-observer reliability procedures were conducted on the system created, with results gathered from the Kappa statistic showing an almost perfect strength of agreement. A non-parametric statistical test (Mann-Whitney U test) reported no significant differences when testing the three hypotheses (all results – P > 0.05); however frequency differences emerged within results. The total passes and passing success rates (%) five minutes before a goal were found to be higher than after a goal was scored. When conceding, the teams notably increased passing success rates (%) during the five minute period after a goal was conceded. The four most successful and unsuccessful teams also showed frequency differences. The successful teams had a considerably higher passing success rate both when scoring and conceding a goal than the unsuccessful teams, and not much differentiation was apparent during the ten minute periods. Unsuccessful teams decreased in both total passes and success rates after scoring, however increased in success rates after conceding. Accurate passing not only retains possession but might also lead to scoring opportunities, as well as restricting opposition possession. Passing patterns provides a platform to centre further research.
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