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Player fatigue, the cause of bad results at World Cup?

Some surprising results emerged in the second round of group games played at the World Cup. France-Mexico 0-2, England-Algeria 0-0 and Italy-New Zealand 1-1. For some people the results are surprising, but let’s study a little bit the player’s fatigue. Let’s throw an eye on the following statistics: how many matches the initial 11 players of every team played this season for the club team, prior to the World Cup?

  • France vs. Mexico:  327 matches  vs. 241 matches (averages: 29,7 vs.  21,9 matches)
  • England vs. Algeria: 339 matches vs. 232 matches (averages: 30,81 vs. 21,09 matches)
  • Italy vs. New Zealand: 325 matches vs. 248 matches (averages: 29,54 vs. 22,54 matches)

Let’s analyse another 4 matches: Nigeria – Greece 1-2, Cameroon – Denmark 1-2, Germany – Serbia 0-1 and Spain – Switzerland 0-1.

  • Nigeria vs. Greece: 214 matches vs. 262 matches (averages: 19,45 vs. 23,81 matches)
  • Cameroon vs. Denmark: 291 matches vs. 272 matches (averages: 26,45 vs. 24,72 matches)
  • Germany vs. Serbia: 340 matches vs. 268 matches (averages: 30,90 vs. 24,36 matches)
  • Spain vs. Switzerland: 364 matches vs. 326 matches (averages: 33,09 vs. 29,63 matches)

What about some other teams?

  • Argentina’s last 11 (against South Korea): 319 matches (average: 29 matches for each player, but Messi played 35 matches this season; without him, the average is 27,4)
  • Brazil’s last 11 (against North Korea): 310 matches (average: 28,18 matches for each player)
  • Paraguay’s last 11 (against Slovakia): 250 matches (average: 22,72 matches for each player)
  • Chile’s last 11 (against Honduras): 301 matches (average: 27,36 matches for each player)
  • Uruguay’s last 11 (against South Africa): 310 matches (average: 28,18 matches for each player)
  • Netherlands last 11 (against Japan): 324 matches (average: 29,45 matches for each player)
  • Australia last 11 (against Ghana): 243 matches (average: 22,09 matches for each player)
  • Ghana last 11 (against Australia): 190 matches (average: 17,27 matches for each player)
  • USA’s last 11 (against Slovenija): 277 matches (average: 25,18 matches for each player)
  • Ivory Coast’s last 11 (against Brazil): 280 matches (25,45 matches for each player)
  • Portugal’s last 11 (against Ivory Coast): 248 matches (22,54 matches for each player)

Simply put, France, England, Italy and Germany played against a much fresher teams, while Nigeria is very unexperienced (in fact they even have a player, Shittu, that didn’t made any single appearance for its club team, Bolton Wanderers). Spain played against a tired Swiss team, but Spain’s team is extremely tired (in fact they are the most tired team in the tournament!). Based on this, my predictions are as follows:

  • Spain, Germany, England and Switzerland  will exit the tournament very soon (France is already out): this teams are physically and mentally too tired for such great competition.
  • Italy and Netherlands will be the European teams that will make the best result.
  • The new World Champion will be chosen between Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay. These teams gathered enough experience and, on the other hand, they are still fresh. The Final will be played between Argentina vs. Brazil or Argentina and Uruguay.

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