PASSING PATTERNS BEFORE AND AFTER SCORING IN THE 2012 UEFA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
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Research suggests the ability to control possession and pass frequently with accuracy is key to success in the modern game, with teams found to increase possession, passing frequency and territorial pressure prior to scoring. Recent studies used absolute five-minute periods that restricted the time available for possession by both teams, potentially influencing the results, and to date no published studies have considered the effective playing time (EPT). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the same patterns were found when applying Ridgewell‟s (2011) methods (NT) and a new method based on EPT to the 2012 UEFA European Championships (Euro 2012). Following institutional ethical approval, the 31 matches of Euro 2012 were analysed and for both scoring and conceding teams possession, passing frequency and passing success in the five minutes before and after a goal, and the five-minute half average were compared, using Friedman tests (significance level p<0.05) and Bonferroni adjusted post hoc Wilcoxon signed rank tests (significance level p<0.017). NT revealed that in the five minutes before scoring, teams had greater possession and passing frequency in their attacking third compared to the half average (p<0.017). Conceding teams had more possession in their defending third before conceding than after (p<0.001). After scoring, teams had more possession in their defending third (p<0.001), whilst conceding teams increased possession in the midfield third (p<0.001) and reduced possession in their defending third (p<0.001). EPT revealed no significant differences in passing or possession between conditions for scoring teams. After conceding, teams decreased possession in their defending third (p<0.017) and increased passing success in the midfield third (p<0.017) compared to the five minutes before. By investigating a previously unstudied competition the results provide further support for the assertion that scoring teams increase possession in the attacking and midfield thirds to apply territorial pressure that can lead to a goal. The study further adds to existing knowledge with the observation that EPT suggests scoring teams may not significantly adjust their approach before and after scoring. Further investigation of EPT should be conducted on larger samples to increase statistical power.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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