Armatas, V., Yiannakos, A., Papadopoulou, S., Galazoulas, Ch.
Performance and Coaching Laboratory
Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
Dr. Galazoulas Christos,
Department of Physical Education and Sports Science,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
Thessaloniki 540 06, Greece.
Tel. +302310 992471
Fax: +302310 992471
purpose of the present study was to record and evaluate the
characteristics of successful set-plays. The examination of the 64
games from the 18th
World Cup in Germany was conducted with the aid of video-analysis'
software Sportscout. The study examined the type of the offence that
ended with goal scoring, the frequency of goal scoring examined in
a time-basis of half-time, the type of set-play and the area
from which the goal was scored.
The statistical analysis was conducted with the non-parametric
chi-square test. The results indicate that 32.6%
of the total goals were scored after a set-play. As far as the time
at which the goals were scored was concerned, it was found that 41.6%
of the goals were scored in the first half whereas 58.4% in the
second (p<0.05). It was also found that 26.7%
of the goals were scored after a corner kick, 33.3% after a free
kick, 33.3% after a penalty kick and 6.7% after throw in. The
majority of the goals were scored inside the goal area and the
The results indicate the
participation of set-plays in winning in modern soccer. The above
lead us to the conclusion that coaches should focus on set-plays both
on the offensive and defensive aspect, so as
utilize the advantages that seem to appear.
It is well documented that when feedback is provided in an appropriate manner, motor skill acquisition improves significantly (Schmidt & Lee, 1999). Consequently, feedback is a major factor in the improvement of sport skill performance. Recently, advances in information technology have made it possible to augment and improve the feedback athletes receive during training and competition (Liebermann, Katz, Hughes, Bartlett, McClement & Franks, 2002). Moreover, the use of computers has stepped up the use of performance analysis.
Traditional frequency analyses of performance in soccer have provided, and continue to provide, valuable information that coaches and performers use to enhance the coaching process (Borrie, Jonsson & Magnusson, 2002). The need for constant recording and evaluation of soccer characteristics is recognized, since it presents continuous evolution and change as far as the mode of the game is concerned. Additionally, the information collected from researchers through these studies, and transferred to coaches and players, is very important for the design of the training, the choice of the appropriate tactic and its application in the game (Yiannakos & Armatas, 2006)
In soccer, scoring goals is the ultimate determinant of success and has consequently received considerable attention in notation research (James, Jones & Mellalieu, 2004). A special part of goals is set-plays, which represent 1/3 of the total goals scored (Bangsbo & Peitersen, 2000). This number is very important because it reveals the significance of set-plays and the attention that has to be given from an offensive as well as a defensive point of view (Armatas, Yiannakos & Hatzimanouil, 2007).
Thus, the purpose of this study was to record and evaluate the characteristics of set-plays in the World Cup conducted in Germany. Sub-targets were to record: a) the offense type through which the goal was scored, b) the time of goal scoring (first and second half of the game), c) the frequency of set plays and d) the area from which the goal was scored.
Sixty-four (64) soccer games from the latter World Cup in Germany were studied. The reason for the selection of this tournament was the participation of top national soccer teams.
Study Design - Instrumentation
The soccer games were videotaped and digitized with the help of a PC AMD-XP professional 1333 GHz and a television capture board for PC (PCTV, Pinnacle Systems GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany). The study was based on the researcher’s personal observation that recorded the time that goals were scored. The Sportscout video-analysis program for PC was used for the data recording.
The analysis method assisted in observing: 1) the offense type through which the goal was scored (organized offense, counter-offense, set plays), 2) the frequency of goal scoring per 45 minutes (first and second half), 3) the type of set play (corner-kick, throw-in, penalty, free kick), 4) the area from which the goal was scored (goal area, penalty area, outside the penalty area). The observation of the chosen football games was conducted in the department of Technical and Tactical Analysis of Sports Performance and Coaching Laboratory.
data were analyzed using the statistical package for PC SPSS 12.0.
Chi-square analysis was used to determine the statistically
significant differences and the level of significance was set at
After examination of the type of offense during which a goal was scored, it was observed that 47.1% of the goals were scored after an organized offensive move, 20.3% after a counter-attack, and the remaining 32.6% after a set play (Figure 1). The statistical analysis showed statistically significant differences between the goals scored after organized offensive moves and counter-attacks (x2=16.07, p<0.05), organized offenses and set-plays (x2=4.38, p<0.05), and the ones scored after set plays and counter-attacks (x2=3.88, p<0.05).
Figure 1: Type of offensive style when goal was scored.
Figure two exhibits the frequency of goal scoring as this is examined in a time-basis of half-games. There is statistically significant difference of goals scored in the second half compared to the ones scored in the first half (x2=5.64, p<0.05).
Figure 2: Goal scoring frequency / 45 min.
The kind of set play was recorded in reference to the percentage of goals. More specifically, the conclusion is that 26.7% of the set plays were corner-kicks, 33.3% were free-kicks (direct or indirect), 33.3% were penalties and 6.7% came from throw-in (Figure 3). The statistical analysis presented significant differences between the goals scored after corner-kick and the ones scored after throw-in (x2=14.37, p<0.01) and between fault and penalties with throw-in (x2=22.11, p<. 01).
Figure 3: Frequency of set play types.
The area of the field where the offensive attempt initiated was recorded. The findings indicate that 37.5% of the goals were scored inside the goal area, 58.3% inside penalty area and 4.2% outside the penalty area (Figure 4). The data analysis showed that there are statistically significant differences between goals scored inside the goal area and goals scored inside the penalty area (x2=8.66, p<0.01).
Figure 4: Area from which the goal was scored.
The purpose of this study was to record and evaluate the characteristics of successful set-plays in the World Cup conducted in Germany.
Regarding the type of offense during which goals were scored, it was found that organized offensive moves are presented as the majority (47.1%), while set plays exhibited a lower percentage of appearance but were very important (32.6%). Piecniczk (1983) found that 27% of the goals during the World Cup Tournament in 1982 were scored after a quick offense and 28% through organized offensive actions. In a recent study, Yiannakos and Armatas (2006) found similar results with the present study in Euro 2004. Moreover, 44.1% of the goals were scored through organized offenses, 20.3% through counter-attacks and 35.6% through set-plays.
As far as the time that the goals are scored, the present study revealed that more goals are scored in the second half (58.4 vs. 41.6). In a recent study, Armatas, Yiannakos and Hatzimanouil (2007) studied successful set plays in the European Championship in Portugal and concluded that more goals were scored in the second half (52.4 vs. 47.6). The majority of studies that have examined the total number of the goals scored, concluded that goal scoring patterns depend on time (Abt, Dickson, & Mummery, 2002; Armatas, Yiannakos & Sileloglou, 2007; Armatas, Yiannakos, Galazoulas & Hatzimanouil, 2007; Ridder, Cramer & Hopstaken, 1994; Yiannakos & Armatas, 2006).
Bangsbo and Peitersen (2000) point out the magnitude of the dead-ball situations in modern football and report that 20 are estimated to appear, in average, for each team in every match. They also site three other studies concerning the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and the 1996 European Championship, reporting that the goal scoring patterns in these tournaments was 32%, 25% and 27% respectively. Many studies report results that agree with the present study, pointing out the proposition that the percentage of goals scored after set plays make up to 1/3 of the total number of goals scored, irrespective of the tournament (Olsen, 1988; Zempel & Rudolph, 1990; Saltas & Ladis, 1992; Jishan et al., 1993; Fifa, 2002; Vitsikanou, Alexiou, Tsamourtzis, Pilianidis & Tziamourtas 2005; Bekris et al., 2005). There are also reports that have analyzed top leveled games during which even higher percentages of goal scoring from dead-ball situations (45%) were recorded (Piecniczk, 1983; Hughes, 1990).
As far as the type of set plays, results revealed a greater rate of occurrence of goals after free-kicks (33.3%) penalties (33.3%) and corner-kicks (26.7%). 27% of all goals in the 1982 World Cup Tournament were a result of corner-kicks, 28% from free-kicks, 37% from penalty kicks and 8% from throw-ins (Jishan et al, 1993). Pappas (2002) in his study on the World Cup of 2002 indicates that 24.4% of the goals resulted from corner-kicks, 39% from free kicks, 26.8% from penalty and 9.75% from throw-ins. The study of Yiannakos and Armatas (2006) found the following percentages: corner-kicks 40%, free kicks 30%, penalties 25% and throw-ins 5%. Although comparison of the studies provides dissimilar results as far as the percentages are concerned, it is evident that free kicks and penalty kicks produce more goals during a football match.
The results of the area where the final effort was initiated indicate that the majority of goals were scored inside the goal area (53.8%), whereas 37.5% of the goals were scored inside the penalty area and 4.2% outside the penalty area. There was not found, to our knowledge, another study investigating the area from which the goal scored in set plays. Other studies that have examined the total goals scored in various tournaments revealed different results. Michailidis et al. (2004) studied the 2002-03 Champion’s League and concluded that 64.4% of goals were scored inside the penalty area while 36.5% from the goal area. In Euro 2004 35.6% of the total goals scored inside the goal area, 44.4% inside the penalty area and 20.4% outside the penalty area (Yiannakos & Armatas, 2006).
The results of the present study indicate that set plays represent an effective goal-scoring pattern, especially free kicks and penalty kicks. Moreover, it was seen that goal scoring is dependent on time, since more goals are scored in the second half. In conclusion, coaches should focus more on both the offensive and defensive aspect of set plays in order to take advantage of the high effectiveness of set plays. Future studies should focus on the investigation of the total number of set plays and not only the successful ones.
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