Hudl’s Statistical Outlook of the World Cup So Far
Hudl’s Statistical Outlook of the World Cup So Far
Using Hudl and Sportscode technology, we take a look at the statistics to analyse teams from across the World Cup and choose the top three players from the tournament.
Spain were as expected dominant in possession throughout the tournament against teams of both small and large stature. Against Russia they boasted 67% of possession, while also enjoying 58% of the ball in their 3 – 3 draw against a strong Portugal side.
However, the problem wasn’t keeping the ball for Spain, it was getting the ball to dangerous areas of the pitch.
Russia played a strong defensive game against the Spaniards to knock them out of the tournament. Despite only completing 285 passes compared to 1,112 by Spain, they made sure the majority of possession was in areas that couldn’t hurt them.
Central defender Sergio Ramos had more touches than any other player on the pitch with 186 touches and the Spanish back four passed amongst each other 202 times in the game – indicated in the Sportscode output window below showing a high amount of backwards passes (386).
After nullifying the Spanish attacking threats, Russia won the penalty shoot out to send the 2010 champions packing.
You can find our full analysis of this Round of 16 encounter here.
France started off the tournament slowly, their goalless draw against Denmark hardly living up to their billing as one of the tournament favourites.
However, Les Blues have been one of the main improvers of the tournament, highlighted by a dominant 2 – 0 victory over Uruguay in the quarter finals.
Didier Deschamps identified early that Olivier Giroud needed to be in the starting lineup, and the subsequent omission of Ousmance Dembele for Corentin Tolisso has given his team more balance and direction.
Rather than having two out and out attacking wingers in Dembele and Mbappe, Tolisso acts more conservatively on the left wing, while Mbappe is the key attacking outlet, operating higher up the pitch than Giroud.
Comparing two players of the same position, Mbappe had 13 dribbles vs Uruguay, compared to Tolisso on the left wing who had just 3.
Mbappe also completed a match high 18 attacking duels, winning 13 of them.
Deschamps’ 4 – 2-3 – 1 also has tactical flexibility, as seen when Uruguay chased the game, Kante moved into Tolisso’s left-sided position with N’Zonzi coming into holding midfield to add more steel to the overall formation.
Peaking at the correct time of the tournament, France have a great chance of winning it all.
A full analysis of the France vs Uruguay match can be found here.
3 – 5-2 is not a traditional English formation, but Gareth Southgate and his young team are making it work to great effect.
Comfortable in possession in their victory over Sweden, England held the ball on average 1.9 seconds longer per possession and completed 126 more passes, this showing England’s ability to get on the ball and play.
John Stones is essential for Southgate’s England side as he has the quality to start plays from the back. Stones passed the ball at 93% accuracy in the match.
For the 3 – 5-2 formation to be at it’s most effective, it essentially relies on having two wingbacks who can operate on both sides of the ball effectively.
Both Trippier and Young have really brought this role to life during this World Cup and were are standout performers against Sweden.
Our Sportscode head to head output below shows they completed 19 crosses between them, while also completing 12 defensive actions combined.
The most impressive statistic shown is that 100% of their balls in the attacking third were accurate.
If the fullbacks can find this width in the semi-final against Croatia, they can definitely cause them trouble given the aerial prowess the England players have demonstrated in this World Cup so far.
Harry Maguire ranks third in the tournament for aerial challenges won, and lost just one of his 11 aerial duels against Sweden. His fellow central defenders Walker and Stones completed another 19 between them.
You can find a full analysis of England’s win over Sweden here.
Until their elimination, Brazil were predictably one of the most dangerous attacking units at the World Cup.
Despite their elimination, Brazil still lead the tournaments for shots (97), 1 vs 1 dribbling (233 dribbles) and touches in the opposition box (149).
Brazil enjoyed a box shape formation to great effect in their early matches where both Marcelo and Danilo were fullbacks only in name, barely leaving the Swiss half of the pitch during the first period of play and playing like traditional wingers. This allows both wide midfielders for Brazil to play a little more narrow, almost in a “fake ten” role.
Switzerland somewhat found a counter to this formation in their 1 – 1 group stage draw by defending with a deep line and using two defensive midfielders who performed strongly.
Swiss midfielder Dzemaili worked alongside Valon Behrami. Of all of Neymar’s 19 attacking duels, 16 were contested with Dzemaili and Behrami.
They also made sure to defend with a relatively deep line, not allowing the space in behind that Gabriel Jesus thrives upon. Jesus was restricted to zero shots in this match.
You can read out full analysis of Switzerland’s defensive performance against Brazil here.
Australia were gallant in their 2 – 1 loss to France in their opening match, holding on for 80 minutes before conceding a second goal.
Josh Risdon, Mark Milligan and Trent Sainsbury had 26 interceptions between them in the Socceroo defence — more than the entire French team combined.
However, as mentioned earlier in this article, France’s strength lies on the wings which were left open by their defensive 4 – 4-2. An example of this can be seen below.
In the deciding match of the pool match against Peru, Australia started positively, dominating 62% of the ball in the first 15 minutes, but space was exploited again down the flank by Guido Carrillo who struck the opening goal.
Despite Bert Van Marwijk’s tactics being criticised by some, Australia had several positives to come from the tournament, namely the performances of Trent Sainsbury in defence and Mile Jedinak in the central midfield.
Jedinak put in a shift on both sides of the ball, completing 69 passes at a 93% clip, while getting stuck in 23 duels in the centre of the park.
With Australia pressing high up the pitch to chase the game, the Socceroos would have been caught out several more times were it not for Jedinak’s work in the middle of the park.
Germany had a World Cup to forget, with their solitary victory coming against Sweden via a last-minute free kick from Toni Kroos.
Jogi Low showed some defensively naivety during the tournament which could be seen in the Sweden match as the Germans left themselves open to the counter on several occasions.
Our Sportscode output window below shows Germany’s ability to dominate possession, but they couldn’t adjust to teams playing on the counter and were subsequently knocked out by South Korea. The hammer blow coming from a length of the field counter finished off by Son Heung-Min.
Our top three players from the tournament:
1. Luka Modric
Modric has played in a commanding midfield for Croatia, showing wonderful skill and leadership throughout the first three matches.
From the midfield, Modric scored 2 goals and completed 88% of his passes, and made 5 or more interceptions in all but one of Croatia’s matches so far.
Our Sportscode head to head output window below shows in Croatia’s match against Argentina, Modric outshined Lionel Messi in several on-ball categories, while also putting in a shift off the ball in the dominant 3 – 0 win.
A full analysis of the Croatia vs Argentina match using Sportscode can be found here.
2. Eden Hazard
Hazard has been integral to the Belgian’s run to the semi-finals, arguably the jewel in the crown of a Belgium team littered with World Class players.
Already having scored two goals and chalked up two assists already, he is a constant threat with the ball at his feet, completing on average 5.9 dribbles 2.9 key passes per 90 minutes.
It will be exciting to see the challenge he will provide for the French fullbacks in their semi-final clash.
3. N’Golo Kante
Kante has been the fulcrum of the French midfield in Les Blues charge to the semi-finals.
Continuing his consistent form for Chelsea, Kante is second in the tournament for both interceptions (48) and defensive duels (54).
Kante has also completed on average over 90% of his passes over France’s five matches.
Crucially. his control of the central midfield has allowed Paul Pogba to operate with less defensive responsibilities, which has seen the Manchester United star to operate with increased freedom.
Our Sportscode head to head output window shows a comparison between the two French midfielders.
The World Cup is coming to an end soon, but we still have analysis of the semi-finals and final to come. You can check out our World Cup analysis hub to read our in-depth looks at the biggest games of the tournament so far and to come.
To learn more about how Hudl uses analytics to fuel the modern game, you can sign up to one of our online classes or take a look at our latest professional case study from La Liga club Deportivo Alaves here.