Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stat of the day: When the goals go in

Canada has played 32 matches under Stephen Hart over the course of his two stints as national team head coach. During that stretch the team has scored 41 goals and allowed 36.

What lessons can we draw from the following data?

Minute For Against
1 – 15 5 4
16 – 30 9 5
31 – 45 9 11
46 – 60 6 4
61 – 75 5 9
75+ 7 3

I'm frankly surprised at how few goals Canada has conceded during the last 15 minutes of a match, while the last 15 of the first half has been a defensive minefield. Canada's scoring has been more evenly distributed, though weighted towards the first half.

By half, it breaks down thusly:
  • 1st half: 23 scored, 20 conceded
  • 2nd half: 18 scored, 16 conceded
The greater concentration of goals, both for and against, in the first half flies in the face of the broader statistical rule of soccer, which shows teams score significantly more often in the 2nd half of matches (a far greater difference than can be explained by playing an extra few minutes of injury time)

Your thoughts? Discuss.

Additional reading:
E. Bittner, A. Nussbaumer and W. Janke, Football fever: Goal distributions and non-Gaussian statistics, arXiv (Jun 1 2006).
" . . . each extra goal encourages a team even more than the previous one: a true sign of football fever."

If you go to Footballscores.com you will be able to find out all the latest football scores from games being played all over the globe. Go check it out now!

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