Analysis of crossing opportunities at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Mitrotasios, Michalis, Kubayi, Alliance ORCID: 0000-0002-8370-3056, Armatas, Vasilis and Larkin, Paul ORCID: 0000-0002-0493-4148 (2022) Analysis of crossing opportunities at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 11 (1). pp. 43-52. ISSN 1800-8755


The purpose of this study was to investigate open-play crosses at the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament, with specific reference to the mechanism and match status of the crosses. Descriptive statistics (i.e., frequency counts and percentages) and chi-square tests of association were used to analyse the data. The study observed a total of 949 crosses, resulting in 20 goals scored (2.1%). Descriptive statistics highlighted that offensive teams had more goal-scoring attempts when they used counter-attacks (18.6%) compared to organized (18.2%) and direct (10.9%) attacks. A greater number of goal-scoring attempts were observed when teams used out-swinging crosses (17.4%) as opposed to in-swinging (15%) and straight (13.5%) crosses. There was a significant (p < 0.05) association between the type of attack and match status. Winning teams preferred to adopt a counter-attacking style of play; losing teams used more direct attacking strategies, and drawing teams utilized more organized attacks. Losing teams took the highest number of crosses from Zones 1 (61.1%) and 2 (56.7%) compared to other zones. These findings provide practical implications for football coaches to tailor match tactics to replicate crossing scenarios at international competitions.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.26773/mjssm.220305
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords open play crosses, soccer, football, match status, descriptive statistics
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