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.

Team analy­sis:


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.

Russia's defensive system was increasingly difficult to for Spain to break down in their Round of 16 Match.
Our Sportscode output window shows the astounding statistic that Spain completed over 1,100 passes in their defeat against Russia.


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.

France's initial 4-2-3-1 in attacking form.
France's 4-2-3-1 in defensive mode - Kante moving to the left side of midfield with N'Zonzi brought on to play the centre.


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.

England play out from the back and beat the press against Tunisia.
Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young have been vital in providing width to England's 3-5-2 formation.


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.

The 'box shape' that Brazil employed to great effect in early matches.
Manuel Akanji's man of the match performance in the Swiss defence was key in restricting Brazil.


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.

To view our full analy­sis of the Soc­ceroos match­es against France and Peru by fol­low­ing the attached links.

Australia's defensive shape was solid in the 4-4-2, but they left themselves open in the wider areas.
Carillo in wide open space down the flank before scoring the opener.


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.

Germany's mammoth 72% possession rate against Sweden can be seen in our Sportscode output window.
The width of Germany's attacking shape and potential space in the wide areas to be exploited on the counter can be seen here.
Seven men up top left Germany susceptible to the counter with only two men in defence in the later stages of the match.

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.

A comparison of Modric vs Messi from Croatia's 3-0 win.

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.

Player comparison: Kante does the leg work to free Pogba offensively.

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.