Soccer player productivity

I am reliably informed that there is a big soccer tournament on the go.

So for soccer fans – here is an open thread to discuss this important event.

In addition, some gratuitous advertising for some very important research.

On the eve of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, RMIT University researchers have investigated the productivity of top goal scorers in international football.

The researchers applied advanced econometric techniques to a sample of 66 top goal scorers in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League between 1991 and 2011.

The study found that a player’s height and being left footed had a positive effect on the probability of scoring a goal – and that carefully timed substitutions were crucial.

Unsurprisingly, the research also found evidence of a concave relationship between age and productivity, which suggests that teams should be seeking young goal scorers who are less than 25 years old.

Dr Alberto Posso, Professor Tim Fry and Guillaume Galanos, from RMIT’s School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, have had their findings published in the Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

“These results have important implications for managers both in looking to sign on new players and to maximise their potential during a competitive match,” Dr Posso said.

“Recruiting top-quality strikers based on their previous performance may be an imperfect strategy, when these players have been around for too long.

“Managers should be careful to pick players that are yet to peak.”

Dr Posso said that, along with team selection, tactics need to be implemented and conducted in a manner that enhanced the chances of a team winning.

“Managers must carefully consider the timing of substitutions to successfully influence a game’s result,” he said.
“Our research indicates that substituting a player at any time during a match will not increase the team’s probability of winning, all things being equal.

“Our research showed player productivity reaches a peak late in a game.

“Managers should think twice about substituting players late in the second half – when the productivity of their goal scorers will be at its highest.”

Ungated version of the paper here.

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87 Responses to Soccer player productivity

  1. nerblnob

    Haven’t time to read it, but did it allow for the the proportional numbers of left & right-footers?

    You might be lucky to have one good left-foot forward on the team but several equally talented right-footers, who will naturally be rotated more and subsituted more and share the goals between them.

  2. Rabz

    Nerbs – left footed players are essential in various positions, particularly being able to swing wide balls in to the box if moving forward – i.e. lefties out on the left.

    Interestingly, players such as Robben (left footer) and Ribery play on the opposite of their ‘natural’ side, as they tend to move from out wide in to a more central position so as to attack the goal by striking with their stronger foot.

  3. nerblnob

    Nerbs – left footed players are essential in various positions, particularly being able to swing wide balls in to the box if moving forward – i.e. lefties out on the left.

    Sure, but there are always fewer of them to start with, so they can command higher fees and are not so easy to sub.

  4. Rabz

    teams should be seeking young goal scorers who are less than 25 years old

    Great. Australia’s top goal scorer is 34 years old. Mind you, he is playing in his third World Cup.

  5. JC

    Fine Sinc. Have you’re way and pollute the Cat with soccer.

    But could you please lifetime ban anyone who breaks out of here and starts commenting on this disgraceful game on other threads.

    Rabz, you know I love you like a brother, but please keep soccer discussions here. It’s your only failing and it’s a big one.

  6. JC

    On second thoughts, kill it Sinc. Kill the thread.

  7. Gab

    By 2011, soccer had more participants nationally than any other football code with Australian rules football coming in second.

    Onya, Rabz.

  8. Peter from SA

    Sinc … you are just poking a bear, no?

    Why doesn’t the Australian government “just” use these stats to invest in a market-beating Socceroos, to win the World Cup and ….

  9. Rabz

    JC – I requested the thread so that you wouldn’t need to worry yourself about the game for the next month.

    Sinc has very kindly granted that request.

  10. JC

    hahahahahah strong proof the US is not going the way of the Roman Empire just yet.

    100:1 to take out the cup. That’s wonderful news.

  11. Robert Blair

    There was a joke a long time ago about English soccer:

    Which three Premier League teams have four letter words in their names?

  12. nerblnob

    By 2011, soccer had more participants nationally than any other football code with Australian rules football coming in second.

    Mostly kids. How many male adult participants? How many live in rugby places?

    And Aussie Rules wins the crowds , live and broadcast, by about 100/1 , year in, year out.

  13. Combine_Dave

    On second thoughts, kill it Sinc. Kill the thread

    +1

  14. nerblnob

    Which three Premier League teams have four letter words in their names?

    Scunthorpe, Arsenal and fucking Liverpool.

  15. Gab

    I’m not sure if you’ve heard, nerblob, but kids grow into adults and can actually continue to play the sport they played at school. :)

  16. Gab

    oops, nerblnob NOT nerblob. Apologies.

  17. ar

    Only wogs call it soccer. The proper name is kickball.

  18. Demosthenes

    And Aussie Rules wins the crowds , live and broadcast, by about 100/1 , year in, year out.

    Because AFL is much more fun to watch. I ignore soccer except for the World Cup. Nationalism feels good sometimes :-)

  19. Combine_Dave

    I’m not sure if you’ve heard, nerblob, but kids grow into adults and can actually continue to play the sport they played at school.

    Can, but won’t. ’cause of the social stigma :)

  20. nerblnob

    Soccer’s what your mum makes you play because she’s worried that Aussie Rules is will hurt you.
    Rugby’s if you’re too slow or clumsy for Aussie Rules, or you went to a boarding school.

  21. Every dog has its day

    why this left wing (ok left foot) bias?

  22. Ant

    Thank you, Sinc.

    Finally, I can stop salivating. The greatest show on earth is shortly here.

    Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany and a couple of the other usual perennial favourites will be all good to watch, but as far as outsiders go I’m keeping my eyes also on Portugal, Belgium, Chile and Uruguay to go far if the draw works out for them.

    As for us, well, my heart’s there but I’m bracing myself for a walloping.

  23. sabrina

    Who funded this research?

  24. nerblnob

    Who funded this research?

    Dunno but it’s $35 for a download. Can’t see it costing much – all the stats could be found online.

  25. Rabz

    Brazil concede an own goal – we have lift off!

  26. Pat K

    Hey Rabs. Any stats on the amount of taxpayer funds finding its way directly and indirectly in the hands of the various codes?

  27. Rabz

    Pat – check the budget or annual report of the relevant portfolio department. State governments would probably sling money as well. I heard something recently about subsidies for ALPFL clubs using a particular stadium.

  28. nerblnob

    As usual, refs treating Brazil like protected species.

  29. Demosthenes

    Bloody divers! Don’t celebrate your cheating, cheaters.

  30. JohnA

    Date check: April First: True/False?

  31. caveman

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!

  32. nerblnob

    Disallowed. Ridiculous.

  33. David

    Soccer – an extension of a country’s Academy of Dramatic Arts.

    :-)

  34. Fibro

    Remove this grubs funding please and give it to someone who might do something useful.

  35. Rabz

    So the home team gets up 3-1 thanks to a late goal from Oscar and two from the Neymar, whose first goal was a beauty.

    Next big match will a replay of the 2010 final, La Furia Roja and the Oranje.

  36. Rabz

    As usual, refs treating Brazil like protected species.

    Yes – expect a lot more of it throughout the tournament.

  37. jupes

    Soccer is un-Australian, therefore it is un-Australian to barrack for Australia in the world cup.

    Go the Poms.

  38. Grigory M

    The finals might be worth a look. There will be lots of acting and pretend injuries between now and then, though, and lots of unfair outcomes as a result.

  39. nerblnob

    I was barracking for Croatia, which I admit used to be Australia B.

  40. Rabz

    Go the Poms.

    This shows how little you know about soccer.

    Attempting to watch the poms is absolutely frigging excruciating – worse than pulling teeth.

  41. jupes

    Attempting to watch the poms is absolutely frigging excruciating – worse than pulling teeth.

    Good grief!

    I never said I was going to watch them.

  42. Token

    Croatia can’t complain too hard, their goalie had a shocker.

    If he’d actually been awake during the 1st & 3rd goals the win wouldn’t have been half as bad. He did well with the penalty, but after all that failed to stop it.

    They could finish 2nd if they show similar form & defend better in the final 2 games.

  43. Token

    Good grief!

    I never said I was going to watch them.

    I commend you to watch them as the world’s best forwards seem to find a way lift themselves and score wonder goals against them. Usually due to the crazy unrealistic expectations of their supporters winding up the other team.

  44. Rabz

    jupes – FFS, I take it back – if you watch any of the world cup, make sure you only watch the games that the poms are playing in.

    You won’t regret it, trust me!

  45. Rabz

    the world’s best forwards seem to find a way lift themselves and score wonder goals against them

    A certain Diego Maradonkey and the “paw of dog” comes to mind.

  46. caveman

    Does this become one of those sticky threads with the flame icon for the duration of the World Cup.

  47. Token

    Oh-ah Netherlands 3, Spain 1.

    It is great watching a game where you have 2 magnificent coaches in charge of 2 great teams.

  48. Token

    4 – 1, another goal due to a goalie error.

  49. nerblnob

    Cloggies on fire. We are so gunna get minced in this group.

  50. Rabz

    The more I think about what could go wrong in this match against Chile, the more worried I get.

    Let’s hope it’s not a repeat of the first game last world cup.

  51. Rabz

    Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh!!!!

    You fucking amateurs!

    :x

  52. Token

    Young & Naive defense let a 2nd in.

  53. Rabz

    If another goal goes in this half I’m switching off.

    My neighbours will think I’ve got Tourette’s.

  54. Rabz

    Gooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!!!!!!!

    :)

  55. Token

    Keeping control and playing with width results in Cahill getting another goal.

  56. Rabz

    They’ve really picked it up, Tokes.

  57. harrys on the boat

    Oops celebrated the goal on the OT!

  58. Rabz

    They’ve really started playing about a thousand times better in the last 15 minutes.

  59. calli

    Here’s where the soccer thread is hiding in plain sight!

    Not my game, but I’m here to be informed, educated and entertained, so I’ll shut my trap and watch. :D

  60. Rabz

    Last kick of the half…

  61. harrys on the boat

    Great response after going 2 down.

    The dutch result……. FMD

  62. Rabz

    Spain are in deep doo-doo after that result.

  63. Token

    The Dutch have 3 amazing attacking players, and the Spanish defense is getting old & creaky.

    We should see some changes in the Spanish team before we play them in our last group game

  64. Rabz

    I’m going to watch the Spain game this arvo as well as the earlier match (of which I haven’t heard the result).

  65. Rabz

    Leckie has been a revelation.

  66. harrys on the boat

    Great performance.

  67. Rabz

    Pity about the last goal, if only we’d got some shots off in the second half after creating all those chances.

  68. nerblnob

    Much better than expected. Good effort by all, Leckie especially.

  69. Token

    The 3rd goal is a consequence of the team having to go for a win. Leckie was excellent.

    The ball control and movement shows they have lifted and learned a lot since the game against Japan a few months back. There will always be a risk when you take a young & new defense into a tournament.

  70. Rabz

    Watching the replay of the Spain V Holland match – this could be the end of the Casillas as Spain’s keeper.

  71. Rabz

    More atrocious refereeing in the Mexico Cameroon game.

    Unbelievable – three incredibly wrong decisions.

  72. Des Deskperson

    ‘Any stats on the amount of taxpayer funds finding its way directly and indirectly in the hands of the various codes?’

    The ACT Government gives the Canberra Raiders a direct cash subsidy of around $1.5 million per annum. This described as appearance money, and supposedly commits them to playing a certain number of games in Canberra each season (otherwise they’ll presumable relocate to West Wyalong!!). There are various other concessions that bring the total direct annual cost of the Raiders to the ACT taxpayer to about $2 million.

    As far as I’m aware, this doesn’t include the Raiders’ ‘mates rates’ deal for rent of the Canberra Stadium, details of which are commercial in confidence.

  73. nerblnob

    The 3rd goal is a consequence of the team having to go for a win.

    Exactly. The one thing Australians will not forgive is failing to “have a go”.

    ITV (UK) commentators were commending Australia’s spirit and effort for making the game entertaining (once they woke up after the Chile 2-0) . “But they lacked quality in the final ball”

    Yeah, said wee Gordon Strachan, but if they had quality, they’d all be playing in the Premier League.

  74. Rabz

    Costa Rica looking to spring an upset against the loathsome uruguayans.

    2-1 up with around 15 minutes to go.

  75. Rabz

    Uruguay going down – Costa Rica with a third great goal.

  76. nerblnob

    This Sterling kid for England looks good.

  77. Token

    Sterling scares the Italian defence

  78. Token

    Super Mario’s goal was exquisite. Italy deserve that win.

  79. Rabz

    Japan V Cote D’Ivoire was another great match – and incredibly, I actually enjoyed the England V Italy match.

  80. nerblnob

    Switzerland win in last minute, basically because Behrami was fouled, tripped up while running flat out, but did he lie on the ground looking for a free kick, no he got up quickly, regained possession and ran on with it.

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