Completed by Ian Greener, Rowville Sports Academy and former Head Coach, Victoria Institute of Sport and State Director of Coaching, Victoria Soccer Federation, Australia
What a fantastic Women’s World Cup we have just experienced . As usual with all major football tournaments I have conducted a game analysis on all 64 matches looking again at the research findings of Charles Reep- the founder of football analysis research from his pioneering work in the 1950’s and 60’s. In those days he only had a pen and paper to record his findings and not the sophisticated computer programs we have today. His report he released in 1968 indicated the following traits of successful teams after recording movements and situations in over 2000 games .
Basically his findings found that successful teams tended to take less passes in their moves to score goals once possession is gained,moved the ball forward quicker than unsuccessful teams and had more success when they regained possession closer to their opponents goal. Along with these ‘ findings’ I also looked for the major factors leading to the goal being scored at this tournament and compare these findings with previous tournaments to ascertain any regular trends or patterns esp the Men’s World Cup in Qatar last year.
My complete findings have already been sent out to over 200 coaches I currently have on my own personal data base but these are some of the more important statistics I have observed from my own definitions I have used in previous reports . Due to their uniqueness , the findings here can only be truly compared with my previous reports and with no other report coming out of these games .
Hope you find them interesting.
Games played- 64. Goals scored 164. 2.56 goals per game on average.
Previous Women’s World Cup . 52 games played - 2.81 goals per game on average.
Men’s Qatar World Cup. 64 games. Goals scored 172. 2.68 goals per game on average.
HOW WERE THE GOALS SCORED?
SET PLAYS accounted for 27.4%- 45 goals
CROSSES / CUT BACKS- 23.17%- 38 goals
DIAG/ THRU BALLS- 15.85%- 26 goals
COUNTER ATTACKS- 9.75%- 16 goals
135 Goals were scored from 5 passes or less -82%
31 Goals were scored from 6 passes or more- 18%
Regarding POSSESSION- 40 Games were won with MORE possession where only 14 games were won by the team with LESS possession.
With the Men’s World Cup more games were won with teams having LESS possession.
Teams having the LEAST possession and average number of passes per game
VIETNAM- 25% average- 270 passes average
PHILIPPINES- 25% average- 259 passes
MOROCCO- 26.5% average- 278 passes
Teams having MOST possession and average number of passes per game
GERMANY- 62%- 620 passes
SPAIN- 57%- 657 passes
BRAZIL- 53%- 513 passes
Australia finished up with an average of 41% possession and 397 passes.
Interesting to note two of the three teams having the most possession FAILED to get out of the group stage and only Morocco qualified thru to the knock out phase showing that POSSESSION does not guarantee winning games at the elite level.
ATTEMPTS ON GOAL
Teams with the lowest number of goal attempts, including attempts on target and goals scored were
VIETNAM-11 attempts/ 1 on target/ 0 goals
PHILLIPINES- 11 / 3/ 1 goal scored
ARGENTINA- 21/ 6/ 2 goals scored
Teams with the highest number of goal attempts
SPAIN- 157 attempts/ 56 on target/ 18 goals
AUSTRALIA - 100/ 33 / 10 goals
FRANCE - 91/ 29/ 13 goals.
One interesting fact is in the group game- Spain v Costa Rica won by Spain 3-0 they had more attempts on goal in that game ( 46 )
than New Zealand (40), Ireland (26), Canada (41), Phillipines (11), Switzerland (28), Costa Rica (24),Vietnam (11), Zambia (26), Haiti ( 26), Denmark ( 40), China (23), Portugal (35), Jamaica (36), Italy (38), Argentina (21), Germany (45), Morocco (24), Panama (26) and Korea (20) had in their entire tournament!!
Another interesting fact regarding goals scored came from rebounds. 9 goals were scored from rebounds in the 48 group matches but none in the final 16 knock out games. Most came from Goalkeepers not holding onto shots.
When teams progressed into the knock out phases it was clear the standard of goalkeeping increased and when you look at the high quality of all the keepers in the last 4 teams- Spain, Australia , England and Sweden- you can understand this statistics. All these goalkeepers were of an outstanding ability.
31 goals scored with headers- 19% of total. In men’s World Cup in Qatar- 16% from headers- 28 goals.
45 goals from SET PLAYS- but only 1 Direct Free Kick.
It was a joy to watch this Women’s World Cup and I hope these few snippets from my analysis may show why maybe SPAIN are worthy winners. They were top scorers, had high possession statistics but backed up their ability to keep the ball in tight areas by also penetrating teams with fast moving actions via their passing/ control and dribbling/ running with the ball into attacking areas when they shot more often than any other team and hit the target more regular. Outstanding world champions, played in the best women’s World Cup ever with not forgetting a fantastic achievement from our very own Matilda’s .
Ian Greener August 2023