World Cup Qatar 2022: the first tournament of advanced statistics and how they will be seen on TV

Posted 2022/11/15 38 0

Qatar 2022 will be the first World Cup in history in which television viewers will have advanced game statistics on screen that will explain situations that football always had, only there was no way to measure or quantify them. For example, how long it takes for a team to recover the ball after a turnover is a metric that will be made available by FIFA at the tournament. This data says a lot about the style of play of the different teams. And the World Cup will have it and will put it in sight.

“Optimized data parameters” is a brief document released by FIFA a few days before the start of the World Cup. It is a description of the game situations that will be analyzed and how they are calculated. Algorithms developed by the FIFA data structure designed to put into data and graphics everything that the game already has and goes beyond perception.

This “metrics package” will identify more than ten elements of the matches that can be explained and reflected with data. In ball possession situations there will be advanced statistics on playmaking, progression with the ball, last third and counter-attack. While without possession of the ball it will be shown how high pressure occurs, medium block, low block, possession after loss and defensive withdrawal.

Arsene Wenger explains what Qatar 2022 stats will look like

This data ecosystem has in Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s global director of football development, to its main promoter and amplifier. Wenger took his position just two years ago and under his leadership FIFA built a structure for performance analysis and data intelligence led by the specialist Chris Loxston.

The meaning of the plan was to provide football with a level of advanced statistics and establish clear parameters to identify the different events that take place in a match. There is a reason for this: football data providers do not usually define the different actions in the game with the same concepts. FIFA, somewhat pretentious, speculates with being able to create a “new language of football” from how he defines each event of a match.

The first test took place at the 2021 Arab Cup and FIFA deployed an army of 25 data analysts per match to capture 15,000 different game events, when the average metrics in soccer are usually 2,500 to 3,000 events. Qatar 2022 will be the first relevant stage of this new era of World Cups and data.

Arsene Wegner, while managing Arsenal
Arsene Wegner, while managing ArsenalReuters

The advanced statistics that are promised on the screen will target situations such as line-breaking passes, offensive forays into the last third of the field, turnovers caused by the team, pressure on the ball, among others. All this data will be distributed through the different FIFA communication channels and both the coaching staff and the players -who will have access to an exclusive application for them- will handle a higher level of information than the media and fans have.

When the game between Qatar and Ecuador, we will finally see the tip of the iceberg of a new way of consuming soccer in the world championships.


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