PageRank Algorithm Reveals Soccer Teams' Strategies
Many readers will have watched the final of the Euro 2012 soccer championships on Sunday in which Spain demolished a tired Italian team by 4 goals to nil. The result, Spain's third major championship in a row, confirms the team as the best in the world and one of the greatest in history. ...... Spain's famous strategy of accurate quick-fire passing, known as the tiki-taka style. ..... a quantifiable representation of a team's style, identifies key individuals and highlights potential weaknesses. ..... think of each player as a node in a network and each pass as an edge that connects nodes. ..... the Spanish team pass more often..... image captures 417 passes by the Spanish team versus 266 for the Netherlands. ..... That the goal keeper was the Netherland's best connected player itself speaks volumes. ..... Players with a high betweenness centrality are crucial for keeping the momentum of the game going ..... the famous PageRank algorithm which measure's a player's popularity, as judged by the number of passes he receives from other popular players. ..... adding another node to represent the opponents goal and would record the number of shots .... measure the accuracy of passes .... The defensive strength of a team could also be incorporated in the model by tracking passing interceptions and recovered balls .... a way of collecting and analysing the data in real time to produce a network-based analysis of a game as it happens ..... In terms of data analysis, football has always lagged behind more statistically-friendly games such as American football, baseball and cricket, because it lacks the long pauses during which data can be gathered and analysed. That looks set to change.