Fifa Women's World Cup - Day 3

So far the FIFA Women’s World Cup has provided a couple of close games and also some drama. On day three, we saw two close games, with England beating Scotland by a goal, and Italy scoring in the 95th minute to beat Australia. Let’s examine one of these games, Italy vs Australia, looking specifically at shots and including a little information on StatsBomb expected goals.

First of let’s summarise the shooting efforts of both teams:

Team Name Goals Shots On-Target Off-Target Blocked
Australia 1 16 6 6 4
Italy 2 6 3 1 2
a Table 1. A summary of shots by team during the game five of the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2019

We can see from this that the game was pretty one-sided in terms of shots. Australia had almost 3 times as many, but were beaten on the day. We can also look at another metric called expected goals (xG). This metric is modelled over time and can take in to account a number of different factors, such as where the shot is taken from, if it came from a corner, if the player used their head or even how many players are in front of the ball. This provides a probability of scoring a shot at any given time taking in to account these factors. So let’s plot our shots first and see where they were taken from:

It looks like a lot of Australia’s shots (pink is a shot and blue is a goal) came from close to the penalty spot, in what may have been situations arising from corners or crosses. Including the freeze frame data would provide a better insight in to this possibility, but we will leave that for today and focus on xG.

Let’s replot the shots but colour the shots based on xG provided by StatsBomb.

We can see from this, that the higher the probability of scoring the lighter the colour of the dot and line. This shows that Australia had at least 3 opportunities with a high xG, where as Italy had a low probability of scoring on most of their shots. If we summarise this data, calculating the xG for both teams based on their shots, we get the following:

Team Name Goals xG
Australia 1 2.46
Italy 2 0.49
a Table 2. A summary of shots by team and their Expected Goals (xG)

Sometimes football is cruel and by this data, Italy have stolen 3 points here. This shows you how a team can dominate but not win a match that maybe they should have. But that is football and why we love the game!

Thanks again to StatsBomb for the data.

Josh Trewin
Josh Trewin
Data Scientist

I’m a data scientist, learning my way through R / Python and applying to football data from StatsBomb, provided for free through GitHub. Follow my journey on here or Twitter to find out when I add new content.

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