Comparing World Football Matchups

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

I’m geeked about attending tonight’s USA vs. Brazil soccer match, especially after watching our team play so well Saturday against Scotland. But if history is any guide, it could be a long night for the USA side, which hasn’t beaten Brazil since 1998 (its only victory over the South American powerhouse).

This chart from FIFA website shows the disparity in the 16 head-to-head matches between the respective teams. The Brazilians have a 21-goal differential (though the USA women have done better):

You can use the FIFA tool to compare any two national teams, and there’s an advance search to pick specific types of matchups (friendlies vs. World Cup matches, for example).

Which European Soccer Leagues Have The Most Per-Match Goals?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Has European football gotten increasingly boring over the years? If you like offense, perhaps.

Since the mid-1950s, fewer and fewer goals on average have been scored per match. The trend is evident among the major national leagues (Spain, Italy, England and Germany) and also the Champions League, in which the best teams from each country compete for a European title.

Goals per match in the latter championship, formerly known as the European Cup, are down the most (-39%) since 1955 — followed by Spain’s La Liga (-30%), England’s Premier League (-14%) and Italy’s Serie A (-9%). Per-match goals in Germany’s Bundesliga are down 21% since 1964, the earliest data available.

This chart, made in Adobe Illustrator, attempts to the visualize the trend: 

Data Source:


Spanish Soccer Discipline

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Discipline varies widely in the Spanish first-division soccer league, or La Liga. These stats from last season group yellow cards violations by team and player. Real Zaragoza received 63 yellow cards. Sevilla FC, conversely, received just seven. The two marque teams in the league — Real Madrid and Barcelona — received 31 and 9, respectively. 

Click the image to explore the interactive treemap on Many Eyes: 

Data Source: ESPN 

UPDATE: These data only reflect the most penalized players, so the team totals aren’t accurate. This post visualizes totals by team.