Samba spies have been hard at it trying to decipher the secrets of winning the World Cup. But FourFourTwo have got its hands on their work and can exclusively reveal its key findings. Titled 'Trends in International Football', Manoel Jairo Santos and Thiago Larghi's analysis how goals were scored at World Cup 2006, Copa America 2007 and Euro 2008
Key findings included:
46% of goals come from set pieces
65% result from the scoring team winning possession in their own half
50% are scored from a sequence of just four passes
80% result from six passes or fewer
A team is most likely to score 10-19 seconds after winning possession
Set pieces are decisive: the last two World Cup winners were the most efficient team in the tournament from dead-ball situations
There are no significant differences in how goals are scored at World Cups, European Championships and Copa Americas
Let's look at the evidence in full...
Number of passes in the build up to goals scored
The back four is still a firm favourite. No need to change the magazine's name yet, then.
Most popular systems of play
Goals from transition: how a team is most dangerous when it's just won possession
According to the authors: "An adequate pattern of attack emerged as a controlled game, trying to shoot at goal within seven passes." If that sounds suspiciouslly like 'Launch It!', there's still a place for sexy football. This report doesn't show how European champions Spain stretch the opposition with their slick passing before going for the kill.
As Jairo Santos and Lairghi say, "Football demands the integration of basic principles moderated by statistical results and experimentation" And anyway, they conclude: "We will try to prove ourselves wrong as soon as possible."
In the meantime: 'Crouchy! Get your nut on this!'