TACTICAL AND TECHNICAL COMPARISON OF AND UNSUCCESSFUL TEAMS IN THE 2012 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Match analysis have a tendency to concentrate on one element of technical or tactical play, and overlook a range of performance indicators that could influence a performance. During previous studies of the European Championships and soccer World Cups, unsuccessful teams are largely considered to be those who fail to reach the knockout phase, however this does not give a true understanding of the sides that performed badly in the competition. During the course of the current study a wide range of performance indicators were analysed, both technical and tactical, in order to discover any substantial differences between the successful and unsuccessful sides. Intra-observer reliability tests were conducted on the system, which produced a high Kappa Value, therefore deeming the system to be reliable. Sixteen matches from the 2012 European Championships were chosen for analysis, four successful sides and four unsuccessful teams were analysed, using a hand notation system to note down the relevant data. Among the unsuccessful sides were France, Russia, England and the Netherlands as a result of their poor performances and early exits from the tournament. Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal were chosen as successful teams having all reached the last four of the 2012 European Championships. A Mann-Whitney U test was conducted in order to report any significant differences between the both sets of teams. Successful teams were far superior with regards to their tackling outcomes, with more turnovers and less failed tackles (p<0.05). Unsuccessful teams also showed an inferior ability when it came to pass completion rates, with significant differences in lateral passes, and in passes that were attempted in the right hand side areas, both defensively and attacking (p<0.05). In conclusion, successful teams gained the upper hand in thirteen different performance indicators, which emphasises their dominance and the relationship between performance indicators and success.
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