Using network analysis to understand how goals are scored in football

Centre researchers have just published a conversation article on the use of social network analysis methods to understand the goals scored during World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Social network analysis is used to understand network structures via description, visualisation and statistical modelling. It involves looking at people (nodes) and the connections between them.

Our World Cup 2014 analysis was driven by the fact that we see significant gaps in the current methods of assessing the performance of football teams. We felt that social network analysis could tell us more about passing and its role in goal scoring.

Each of the goals from World Cup 2014 was transformed into a network comprising players and the passing connections between them. Once constructed the networks were analysed using various network analysis metrics. The findings, described in our article, are compelling.

See the full conversation article here

In closing the article we predicted, based on the analysis, who will win the current European Championships in France. Our money is on Germany, France, Portugal, or England. What do you think?

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