At the start of the World Cup, going by the evidence of the number of postings in Facebook and Twitter, most of us had responded to the million dollar question: ” Who would win the World cup 2014?” with ” my heart says Brazil but my head favors Germany”.
And during the course of the tournament, the media was abuzz with comparisons that went overboard about – European teams’ style of play vs LATAM teams’; Neymar’s strike rate vs Messi’s strike rate; Netherland coach’s style vs Brazil coach’s style. And many such articles flooded online portals.
At the end, Germany prevailed. And in what convincing style.
While there were loads of statistics that poured out at the end of the World cup 2014 (available on FIFA.com website) there was one comparative statistic that caught my attention. Thought it would be worthwhile sharing with you.
From the start of the tournament Brazil had made its intention clear. They were very aggressive on the field and the number of raids into the opponent’s penalty area in each and every match earned Brazil the title of being the “Best Attacker” of the tournament with impressive stats such as: 111 Attempts at the goal post with as many as 72 “On target” shots. And the style of play had the typical Brazilian flamboyance. They came away with a total of 11 Goals scored in the cumulative 7 matches they played in the tournament. And if you did follow the matches close enough the individual dribbling brilliance of Brazil’s star players such as Neymar, Hulk and Fred was on full display. However our hearts went out to Brazil during their humiliating and tearful exit from the tournament.
Contrast that with this statistic.
Germany was rated as the team with “Best & maximum passes” in the entire tournament
A total of 5084 attempted passes between the players of which 4157 were successful (82% success) in the 7 matches that they played. If you’re the one into finer details – 1017 were short passes complete, 2763 were medium passes complete, and 377 long passes complete. And they had 18 goals (vs 11 of Brazil) and of course the glory and pride of lifting the World Cup! After a gap of two decades!
And to top it, Philipp Lahm, the captain of the German team (mind you he doesn’t have half the star power that Neymar or a Messi have), was rated as the player with the maximum passes in the tournament with 562 passes to his credit. What a way to lead from the front and show the rest of the team the winning ways! He plays as a defender and stays at the back of the field – but he is always considered as the crucial play-maker! And by the way, after leading and earning the World cup title for his country, he has even quietly retired from mainstream football, without much ado.
The summary being, 11 players passed the ball 4000 plus times in 7 matches and won the World Cup. With or without star players listed in their roster. Numbers tell you a story and they can’t lie.
In the end, Collaboration is supreme. A strategy that never fails.
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