Sports Path’s Technical Report on the 2014 World Cup

The World Cup is over and Germany are still celebrating. And the first detailed analysis of the recently completed has arrived! Robin Russell of Sports Path and his colleagues have compiled their “World Cup Technical Report 2014”. In the first of which will likely be many analyses, their detailed look at the numbers offers some interesting observations.

The report team was comprised of analysts, coaches and coaching education specialists. They analyzed all of the matches played and prepared a report that is targeted for coaches who are interested in practical lessons from the World Cup. The team presents a wealth of interesting statistics. More importantly, they use those data to offer a number of implications for coaching, provide “common sense” answers to questions about their data and highlight what separated the winners from those who when home early.

2014 football world cup was 20th FIFA world cup, Brazil hosted the tournament, this was the second time for Brazil to host the tournament. Thirty one nations joined the tournament to compete against each other. Total of 64 matches were played in 12 different stadiums.  The tournament had 1 million viewers from 202 different countries, click to read more.

Here’s a short summary of they key findings:

Teams, which scored 3 or more goals in a match, had a 100% win probability.

The “Gold Zone” (GZ) – a box extending a few yards outside of either post and to the 18 yard line.

80% of the goals were from strikes taken inside of the GZ. However, most of the attempts were taken from outside of this area.

A greater percentage of shots taking within the GZ were on target compared to outside of the Gold Zone

Thus, strike attempts taken inside the GZ were more effective and more accurate.


The most productive zones for delivering the ball into the GZ were the areas identified as the Central Attacking Zone (CAZ – the box on top of the penalty area) and Box Pass Zone (BPZ – the two boxes just outside of the Gold Zone). That is, balls delivered from these areas were more likely to result in retained possession and higher rates of conversion.

However, teams relied more on deliveries outside of the CAZ and BPZ as well as corner kicks.

Transition and Scoring

In open play, 49% of all goals were scored within 5 seconds of regaining possession and over 80 % of goals were scored within 15 seconds of regaining the ball.


Effective distributions by Goalkeepers played a role in securing attacking-third possessions. Teams should develop the technical and tactical abilities to transfer the ball from the defending to attacking third

Teams that directed their throw-ins away from the congested area and into a more spacious area were more effective in securing a possession in the attacking-third.

These are the highlights. There’s more, much more. To download a free receive copy of the Sports Path World Cup Technical Report 2014, visit Robin’s e-Learning Blog (CLICK HERE).
Posted by Jay Williams, Ph.D. Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Labels: Original Research, Strategy