Paper on the football graphs
- J. Lopez Pena, H. Touchette, A network theory analysis of
football strategies. Proc. Euromech Physics of Sports Conference, 2012.
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
Where to find the data
The pass data is
freely available from the FIFA
- From the 2010
World Cup site select 'Players'
- Select any player
- Select 'Statistics'
- Select 'Passing
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.
- Thanks to J.
J. Merelo Güervós
for the idea of using the FIFA data
for network analysis
- Thanks to Matt
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
- A simplified version
of the Mathematica notebook used to
generate the graphs can be found here
- The shirt pictures are
- 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
- For any inquiries,
other than mathematical,
please contact the Press
Office of Queen Mary