| by Victor Cherubim
( June 18, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Talk is cheap when it comes to Football around the globe. The eyes of the world are on Brazil, where “futebol” is a way of life. The current tournament is really living that great moment of time, as other sporting events pale in comparison to when Brazil plays in the World Cup in Brazil.
Yesterday, Brazil played Mexico at Fortaleza stadium. Many expected Brazil to stroll to victory, but the game ended in a goalless draw. Although Mexico had several chances to score a shock upset, “but the draw maintained Mexico’s recent record against Brazil”. We know Mexico is no pushover, having won the Olympic Gold Medal in London in 2012.But Brazil’s days of Pele, Zico, Ronaldino, has yet to be replicated.
There are 32 national teams, perhaps, the best in football- the event every four years competing for the FIFA World Cup, Brazil 2014
The days are gone when football was enjoyed just as a sport. Now every move, every action, every moment is magnified and dissection by match analysis and analytics. TV, Sponsors, the media and nations, all make it their “big business” to know what’s going on. It is called Big Data, as the data collected is relevant to each of them.
Big Data is transforming football. Sensors are everywhere collecting data about each team and about how the game is being played. In the current tournament, aerial reconnaissance by a “drone,” was said to monitor a nation’s practice session. Data collected has also suggested that most goals were scored from fewer than three direct passes. Besides, there is the “long and the short ball.”
The type of analysis
We note there are approx. as much or as little 10 different statistics that are collected on each game and each team. They are as follows:
1. Shots on target 6. Number of Red Cards
2. Shots off target 7. Passing success/Completed passes
3. Number of corners 8. Possession
4. Number of offside 9. Territorial advantage
5. Number of Yellow Cards 10. Penalties/Penalty shoot-outs
All this analytics, perhaps, makes the game, both clinical and loses the spirit of the sport, which is its unpredictable nature,
The most potent weapon in football and its real strength is attacking mid fielders. Wilmot of Belgium who played at four World Cup games, between 1990 and 2002 is quoted to have said:” it is important to honour the value of the team, instead of honouring personal value”. But the game cannot be without scorers, too.
Class Players to watch in Brazil
The one common factor in this year’s World Cup tournament is that most of the brilliant and graceful players participating representing their countries, are the very same players who have signed up for playing for Clubs in Europe.
The brilliant pass masters of the games in Brazil and the one’s to watch, in no order are: Daniel Sturridge of England, Van Persie of Holland, Neymar da Silva Santos of Brazil, Lionel Messi of Argentina, Eden Hazard of Belgium, Oribe Peralta of Mexico, Karim Benzema of France, Daniele De Rossi of Italy, Islam Slimani of Algeria, Thomas Muller of Germany, Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, Luis Suarez, the Uruguay striker, and Serge Aurier of Ivory Coast.
The Things to prove in the World Cup
There are many things to prove in the World Cup in Brazil. Russia defender Vasili Berezutski has urged his team to justify their place among the elite as they end 12 years in the World Cup wilderness.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Read Madrid star insists he has nothing to prove. “My career has been great so far and I just want that to continue, I believe that one player is not a team. I am here to help the team.”
The cult of personality in football is still there as in the days of Pele, but the destiny of nations in the World Cup, is in the team.