Just like millions of viewers around the world, I too have been spending hours watching FIFA world cup football matches on TV. I don’t like spending hours watching TV. But when its FIFA world cup time (which is once every 4 years), I am glued to the idiot box. Blame it on PaWaRa, my school teacher in 8th grade who instilled this passion.
So while watching the match day before yesterday (it was Holland vs. Chile), the commentator said, “This has been a world cup of late goals” as both teams maintained 0-0 until 77 minute mark when Leroy Fer scored a goal for Holland.
That got me thinking,
Is this really a world cup of late goals?
But I quickly brushed away the thought to focus on the match.
Later yesterday, I went looking and downloaded all the goal data for 2006, 2010 & 2014 FIFA world cup matches (2014 data for first 36 matches).
Lets examine the hypothesis “2014 has been a world cup of late goals”.
Attempt 1: Distribution of goals on 90 minute timeline
There have been 147 goals in 2006, 145 goals in 2010 and 117 goals in 2014 (as of 24th June, 2014). Out of all these goals, only 5 goals were scored after the 90 minute mark. So I ignored these 5 goals for our analysis.
Also, I assumed that any goals scored in injury time are part of the 45th minute or 90th minute mark (for simplicity).
One more: I have included data only up to 23rd of June, 2014 – so only first 108 goals of this edition are considered. This reflects accurately the moment commentator made that remark.
Lets see the chart.
Each dot depicts a goal. The dots are filled with semi-transparent color, so we can see the density of goals at each point of the 90 minute timeline.
As you can see, there is no clear pattern of late goals in 2014.
While we could see higher density of dots in first half of 2006 & 2010 editions, that can be attributed to having full data vs. partial data (for 2014).
Attempt 2: % of goals scored in each 15 minute block
May be if we look at % of goals scored in each 15 minute block, we can conclude something.
This gives an indication that 2014 world cup indeed has slow first half. But then you also see conflicting proof with more goals scored in last 30 minutes in 2006 & 2010 editions.
Attempt 3: What if we consider only first 100 goals in each world cup
Lets remove some noise. The commentator said this has been a world cup of late goals. If we consider only first 100 goals (ie first 30 odd matches) in each world cup may be we can see how 2014 fares compared to 2010 & 2006 editions.
Here too the chart does not reveal much. If anything, we can conclude that 2006 has clear pattern of high number of goals in first & last 30 mins.
While 2014 has high density in the last 30 mins, it has good distribution throughout the 90 minutes.
Attempt 4: Lets consider only the first goal of each match
I guess the impression of slowness is created if you have to wait a lot of time to see the first goal in any match. After that usually things pick-up.
So what if we consider only the first goal times in each match.
This is what we get.
Now this is clear. You can see that 2014 has high density in first half. Remember, for 2014 only 36 matches data is considered where as 2010 & 2006 have 64 matches data.
But we can also see the high density of goals in first half for 2006.
If you look at the average wait time for first goal, 2006 is the least with 30 mins and 2014 is in second place.
So if any, we could say 2010 was the world cup of late goals.
Attempt 5: Cumulative % of goals by minute
If a particular world cup has many late goals, then it will show thru when we plot cumulative goal distribution (as a %).
Here is what we get.
From this you can see that 2014 line lags behind 2006 & 2010 for first 60 minutes, before climbing to top place.
This does indicate that 2014 has a lot of late goals.
But the difference is negligible, so we cannot really say much.
What do you think?
I do feel that some of the matches are slow to watch. But this is purely because I have been looking forward to the world cup and could not wait for the action.
What do you think? Do you think this has been a world cup of late goals?
Also, tell me what you think about this analysis? Wow or meh?
About the data
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