Saturday, June 26, 2010

FIFA 2010 - a tournament of Humpty-Dumptys?

Football statisticians have a far easier job than their colleagues who keep track of cricket statistics. There is no end to cricket statistics. There are so many variable that you can just go on and on. In football matches, there are fewer variables - just the percentage possession, shots on target, corner kicks, fouls, and just about a few more. Hmmmm... is that all? No, there's more interesting stuff! Falling!!!
Source - Google/www.fifa.com
So I thought I must invent some new statistical variables for football. The inspiration for this brainless activity came from the just-concluded Spain-Chile match. The first half left an impression that players spent more time in falling down and getting up than trying to score goals. So during the second half, this is what I did.
I kept a count of how many times a player in possession of the ball had physical contact with another who was attempting to tackle. I decided to ignore the jostling that goes on in the 6-yard area during a corner kick or free kick. That is impossible to count. So out of the ones that I kept track of, I kept a count of how many times one or both players fell to the ground. And here are the astounding results.
Source - Google/www.zimbio.com
In 45 minutes, I counted 44 tackles, and as many as 21 of these results in 'ouch'. Roughly one out of every two times that a tackle happens, one or both players can be seen writhing on the pitch, clutching their knees (43%), ankles (29%) or just their foreheads (28%). OK, am kidding about the anatomy break-up. I didn't track that. But 21 out of 44 is real. No faking there!
So is football increasingly becoming a game of theatrical dives and play-acting than playing? There is much talk during FIFA 2010 of inconsistent refereeing. But what about inconsistencies in the game arising out of these fake dives? It is not surprising that www.despair.com even thought of making a poster on this theme. See this....


Source - www.despair.com
The often quoted inspirational bit about "its not important how many times you fall, but how quickly you get up" is proving to be rather irrelevant for football. Here, it does count how you fall!
A little search showed up these hilarious videos. Have fun!

video
Source: Youtube
If you thought that was funny, wait till you see this one...

video
Source: Youtube

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