How Analytics helped the Netherlands to qualify for the semi finals of the FIFA World Cup.

Table of Contents

    I think most of us have seen the movie Moneyball (if not, you should, it’s a great movie), where Brad Pitt decides to rely on the power of data analysis to build a baseball team by hiring the most promising players who aren’t “mainstream”.

    Analytics in sport is not something new, and anybody who has been watching a game lately saw that we now just have stats about pretty much everything regarding the players. ( ball possession, pass success etc.)

    But I was reading a few articles about the recent quarter final soccer game between the Netherlands and Costa Rica and noticed an interesting fact about it.

    The game lasted as far as penalty kicks and the coach went for an unprecedented move as he decided to switch his goalkeeper to Tim Krul for this crucial moment.

    Why would you ever do something like this when you already  have your best goalie in the field and he is still focused on the game?

    Why bet your place in semi-finals on what many consider a risky move?

    The answer is Analytics

    Coach Louis Van Gaal choose Tim Krul based on his performance & statistics but not only.

    The team in Orange  worked with a company named Soccernomics to dissect the opposite team ways and spent a few days with our last minute hero to brief him on the Costa Rican players’ habits on shooting penatly kicks.

    Data didn’t lie as he always dived on the right side and was able to stop 2 goals,  qualifying his team for the next stage.

    Hope Data will be on your side tonight Netherlands, Argentina will be a tough nut to crack!