A Comparative Tournament Analysis of Attacking Performance Variable in Opening Round Fixtures of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to examine opening round fixtures in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup (N=32) to assess the differences, which may have occurred between tournaments and between winning, drawing an losing teams. The difference in the number of goals scored between the samples was a key indicator, which suggested something radically changed in relation to style of play, defensive capabilities or attacking intent. Lapsed time, match analysis was conducted after creating a specifically designed code window in StudioCode (Sportstec, Australia) computerised analysis software. Selected performance indicators (PIs) associated with successful performance in football were recorded as a means to measure the differences between tournaments and within tournament. Altman’s (1991) Kappa coefficient score was used to measures intra-observe reliability of the analyst. Kappa scores all reached ‘good levels of agreement’ or higher. One-way ANOVA revealed no significant differences (p>0.05) in association with the length of time teams spent in possession, between tournaments or between subgroups. A significant difference was observed after conducting a non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test (p<0.05) on the total number of possessions between samples, 2014 teams made significantly fewer possessions than 2010 teams. Significantly more goals were scored in the 2014 tournament (p<0.05) compared to the 2010 tournament, whilst teams in the 2014 samples also had a significantly higher shot on target ratio that of teams 4 years earlier. The number of corners was also shown to be significantly difference between tournaments (p<0.05). In both tournaments, winning teams had a greater shot on target ratio than losing teams and drawing teams along with shot supremacy ratio. No significant differences were found between winning teams between tournaments, whilst a number of differences between losing teams were found. Number of goals, final third entries, attempts off target and shot on target ratio were all significantly difference between losing teams between tournaments (p<0.05). iii In conclusion, the differences associated between tournaments were predominantly associated between losing teams. The 2010 losing teams performance significantly worse on many performance indicators than losing teams 4 years later. The reason for lower performance levels of the 2010 losing teams could be attributed to a number of factors. The quality of the opposition in relation to FIFA ranking was far greater in the 2010 tournament, teams were often playing teams ranked much higher than them, which may have resulted in team playing a more cautious style of football, as teams were wary of committing too many men to attacking opportunities. A second possible explanation could be because the losing teams were simply of a lower calibre and failed to capitalise of goal scoring opportunities and limit the attacking chances of the opposition.
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