Intellectualising the World Cup, no.2

The wonderful Stumbling and Mumbling contributes the second in the series implied in my first post on this topic, intellectualising the penalty. That is, here’s another post which delves beyond the “game of two halves” to see what lies beneath the game of football.

This time, we get national stereotypes and penalties:

One of the delights of the coming World Cup will be commentators’ liberal use of cliché: the Brazilians play the beautiful game, Italians are defensive, Germans efficient and, of course, Africans are naïve at the back. However, cliches can be true, as this new paper shows. The authors studied 1564 competitive internationals involving six teams. And they found that the Germans are more likely to score in the last minute of a game. They did so in 5.5% of games. By contrast, Brazil did so in only 2.1% of their games and Italy in just 2.2% of them…

And one other thing: Germany really are better at penalties. In shoot-outs since 1960, they have scored with 94% of their penalties, whereas England have scored with just 50% and Italy with 65%.


“North Korean striker told to play in goal after squad blunder”

This is already a top-3 story from the World Cup:

North Korea have been told striker Kim Myong-won can only play as a goalkeeper at the 2010 World Cup after he was named as the third-choice keeper in his national squad.

Coach Kim Jong-hun named two goalkeepers in his final squad of 23, but added Kim as a third, hoping to use him as an extra option up front during difficult group games against Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal.

Fifa, however, have scuppered the plans claiming the three goalkeepers named can only play in goal and not double as outfield players.

(via Juniorc0)