
Paper on the football graphs
 J. Lopez Pena, H. Touchette, A network theory analysis of
football strategies. Proc. Euromech Physics of Sports Conference, 2012.
arxiv:1206.6904
Some explanations
 Centrality:
The centrality measure displayed in the tables is the 'betweenness' of
each node or player. The higher the betweenness of a player, the more
important that player is in the network.
Removing the player with highest betweenness will perturb the network
or team most.
The player with highest betweenness is not necessarily the player
receiving or making the largest number of passes. It is the
player linking (over many passes) the largest number
of other players.
For the mathematical definition of betweenness, see Wikipedia
 Centers of the network:
We select the centers of a team as those players that have minimal
distance to all other players. Thus a center of a team is a player that
is easily reachable with only one pass.
This may be confusing, but being a center does not necessarily mean
having a high betweenness (centrality).
For more information about graph distance, see Wikipedia
 More about graph
theory: see Wikipedia
or MathWorld
Where to find the data
The pass data is
freely available from the FIFA
website
 From the 2010
World Cup site select 'Players'
 Select any player
(e.g., Pique)
 Select 'Statistics'
 Select 'Passing
distribution'
You'll find
there the passes to and from all the
other players in the same team.
Look also at the 'heatmap',
the position density of the player. Interesting stuff.
Notes
 Thanks to J.
J. Merelo Güervós
for the idea of using the FIFA data
for network analysis
 Thanks to Matt
Parker
and Simon Levey for writing the press release
 Thanks also to Ana
Belinda Peñalver Peña for
spotting a few errors and imprecisions on the website
 The data was
aggregated from the FIFA website and processed using the
mathematical software SAGE
 The graphs were
produced with the mathematical software
Mathematica (version 7) available from Wolfram
Research
 A simplified version
of the Mathematica notebook used to
generate the graphs can be found here
 The shirt pictures are
from Wikipedia
 The English formation
shown is the one used on their last
match against Germany
 The Holland formation
shown is the one used against Uruguay
 The Spanish formation
shown is the one that includes Torres
 Copyright: Queen Mary,
University of London 2010 for all
images
 For any inquiries,
other than mathematical,
please contact the Press
Office of Queen Mary
