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Detalle de las votaciones para el premio FIFA The Best 2018

Ésta es una pequeña entrada futbolera para mirar el detalle de las votaciones para el premio FIFA The Best 2018 al mejor jugador del año, que fue ganado hace pocos días por Luka Modric.

Luka-Modric

¿Qué es lo que se premia?

De las reglas de FIFA para la organización del premio [PDF, 243 KB]:

Art. 2 The Awards reward the best in each category, regardless of championship or nationality, for their respective achievements during the period from 3 July 2017 to 15 July 2018 inclusive for the men’s awards and from 7 August 2017 to 24 May 2018 inclusive for the women’s awards.

Art. 3. The Awards are bestowed according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.

Es por tanto una definición genérica: no se elige al que más goles meta, ni al que más títulos gane, ni al que gane el Mundial, ni la Super Copa de Europa, etc., se vota “al mejor por sus logros de acuerdo a la actuación en el campo y al comportamiento global dentro y fuera del terreno de juego”. A partir de ahí, cada uno vota al que quiera, siguiendo el procedimiento descrito a continuación.

¿Cómo se organiza la votación?

Según las reglas de FIFA para la organización del premio:

  • Un panel de 13 expertos (1) selecciona una lista de 10 jugadores sobre la que después votaran capitanes, seleccionadores nacionales (coaches), periodistas (media) y aficionados (fans). (2)
  • 168 capitanes de selecciones votaron a 3 jugadores de entre la lista de 10 elaborada por los expertos. Los clasificaron en primer, segundo y tercer lugar, obteniendo el jugador seleccionado 5, 3 y 1 puntos respectivamente.
  • 171 seleccionadores nacionales votaron del mismo modo que los capitanes.
  • 168 periodistas designados (uno por país) votaron del mismo modo que capitanes y seleccionadores.
  • Aficionados de todo el mundo votaron en la web de FIFA.
  • La votación tuvo lugar entre el 24 de julio y el 10 de agosto de 2018.
  • El resultado final para la designación de los ganadores es una media ponderada en la que los resultados parciales de los votos de capitanes, seleccionadores, periodistas y aficionados pesa cada uno un 25% del total.

Por España votaron Sergio Ramos (capitán), Luis Enrique (seleccionador) y Francesc Aguilar (periodista de Mundo Deportivo).

El resultado global, es el publicado en diferentes medios, con un podio formado por Luka Modric (29.05% de los votos ponderados), Cristiano Ronaldo (19.08%) y Mohamed Salah (11.23%). Dejo debajo una tabla resumen. Esta misma tabla se puede descargar de la web de FIFA [PDF, 260 KB].

Tabla_total

Por otro lado, en la web de FIFA se puede encontrar el detalle de todos los votos emitidos por capitanes, seleccionadores y periodistas, en un documento PDF de 16 páginas [PDF, 517 KB]. Y es a partir de ese documento del que muestro las tablas resumen de debajo.

Tabla resumen con el voto de los capitanes:

Tabla_total_captain

Tabla resumen con el voto de los capitanes, si solo votasen aquellos pertenecientes a las selecciones que disputaron el Mundial de Rusia 2018 (31 capitanes de entre los 168 de la muestra total):

Tabla_WC18_captain

Tabla resumen con el voto de los seleccionadores:

Tabla_total_coach

Tabla resumen con el voto de los seleccionadores, si solo votasen aquellos pertenecientes a las selecciones que disputaron el Mundial de Rusia 2018 (31 seleccionadores de entre los 171 de la muestra total):

Tabla_WC18_coach

Tabla resumen con el voto de los periodistas:

Tabla_media

Tabla resumen con el voto de los aficionados:

Tabla_fans

Esta última tabla con el voto de los aficionados se obtiene a partir del resultado global y tras haber calculado los resultados parciales de capitanes, seleccionadores y prensa, dado que en los resultados de FIFA no aparece publicado el voto de aficionados.

Comparación de la tabla resumen oficial con todos los votos con cómo quedaría la tabla si se excluyese de la ponderación el voto de los aficionados.

Tabla_total_wo_fans

Comparación de la tabla resumen oficial con todos los votos con cómo quedaría la tabla si se excluyese de la ponderación el voto de los aficionados y la prensa, es decir, si contase sólo el voto de los profesionales.

Tabla_total_wo_fans_&_media

Y por último una comparación con cómo quedaría la tabla si contase sólo el voto de los profesionales de aquellas selecciones que participaron en el Mundial de Rusia 2018 (los 31 capitanes y 31 seleccionadores).

Tabla_WC18_wo_fans_&_media

Comentarios finales:

  • En todas las votaciones aparecen destacados siempre en primer lugar Luka Modric y Cristiano Ronaldo con diferencia entre ellos y con el tercero.
  • En el tercero y cuarto lugar aparecen distintos jugadores según se cojan los votos de capitanes, seleccionadores, prensa o capitanes y seleccionadores de las selecciones participantes en el Mundial: Salah & Mbappé, Mbappé & Messi, Salah & Varane, Mbappé & Hazard, Griezmann & Hazard, Mbappé & Griezmann.
  • La excepción se da en el voto de los aficionados, donde en primer lugar destacado aparece Salah, seguido de lejos por Cristiano Ronaldo y Messi y en cuarto lugar Luka Modric.

(1) El panel de expertos [PDF, 402 KB] estaba formado por: Sami Al Jaber (Saudi Arabia), Emmanuel Amuneke (Nigeria), Cha Bum-Kun (Corea del Sur), Fabio Capello (Italia), Didier Drogba (Costa de Marfil), Kaka (Brasil), Frank Lampard (Inglaterra), Lothar Matthaus (Alemania), Alessandro Nesta (Italia), Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brasil), Ronaldo (Brasil), Andy Roxburgh (Escocia), Wynton Rufer (Nueva Zelanda).

(2) Una vez elaborada la lista todos los votos se circunscriben a ella, es por tanto normal que no haya votos para Neymar, Sergio Ramos, Isco o Cavani, dado que no forman parte de la lista hecha por el panel de expertos.

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The penalty shoot-outs are a lottery

Recently, the 2016 UEFA Champions League final (between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid) was decided in a penalty shoot-out, so was the 2016 Copa America Centenario final (Chile – Argentina) and so have already been a couple of matches in the round of 16 and quarter finals of the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016 (Switzerland – Poland and yesterday’s Poland-Portugal). You could expect one or two more matches in that competition to be decided in such a way.

“The penalty shoot-outs are a lottery”

This is a mantra repeated once and again each time the extra time of a football match comes to an end and the score is still a draw. Yet penalty shoot-outs are not a lottery. However, asking TV or radio football commentators to describe this aspect of the game as “two-person zero-sum game that meets von Neumann’s Minimax theorem” would be too much.

Years ago, while reading the book “Soccernomics“, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (book review here), I came to know a couple of papers on penalties and penalty shoot-outs published by the Spanish economist Ignacio Palacios Huerta (at the London School of Economics).

Penalties

In a first paper, Professionals Play Minimax (2002, and its annex) [PDF, 335 KB and 342 KB], by analyzing over 1,400 penalty kicks, he came to confirm that professionals do play Minimax, a game theory rule decision model in which they try to minimize the worst outcome not knowing the strategy of their opponent.

The object of the paper itself is to try to find a natural setting in which von Neumann’s theorem implication can be tested. Penalty kicks turns out to be such a natural setting, the reasons enabling the game to be so are: there are few strategies available to the players (basically shooting left or right for the kickers, or jumping to his left or right for the keepers), it is a two-player zero-sum game and the outcome of the game (goal or no goal) is immediate after a strategy is chosen.

Studying those over a thousand penalties and in particular those of 42 players (kickers and keepers) who have been each one involved in over 30 penalties in the time span of the study (1995-2000), the author came to the following findings:

  • Kickers have practically the same probability of scoring with different mix of strategies (being a strategy alternating between shooting left or right by a given proportion).
  • Players are capable of generating truly random sequences of choices (left – right). This is remarkable, as humans, when asked to produce a random sequence, normally over do it and shy away from what would be truly random.
  • Some figures: players shoot to their natural side (with the interior of the feet, shooting left to a right footed) just above 50% of the times, keepers jump to the natural side of the kicker slightly more often.
  • When the keeper “guesses” the side to which the kicker is shooting, the scoring probability greatly differs depending on whether it was the kicker’s “natural side”, 71%, or the non-natural side, 55%. When the keeper jumps to the wrong side the scoring probability is about 95% with no big difference between natural or non-natural side.
  • During a match the average scoring rate is about 80%, with the rate decreasing as the match comes to an end (73% for penalties in the last 10 minutes).
  • Some players during the years of the study (1995-2000) had significantly better scores; in particular Mendieta (91% and no matter whether he kicked to his natural (68% of the times) or non-natural side (32%)), Del Piero and Juninho (especially strong on their natural side (94%) and above average in their non-natural (87%)) or Bergkamp (91% and 88%).
  • Strategies between players varied greatly. As I said Mendieta had a 68/32 (natural / non-natural), whereas Batistuta had a 81/19 and Baggio a 45/55, all with above average scoring success. Other players like Zidane, Mihajlovic or Chiesa managed an undistinguishable 50/50.

See a couple of interesting tables below:

Minimax table 1

Minimax table 2

Even more interesting is his second paper.

Penalty shoot-outs

In a second paper, “Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment” (2009, with Jose Apesteguia) [PDF, 342 KB], Palacios Huerta wants to find out how emotions play a major effect on performance and to do so he takes a look at penalty shoot-outs from major football competitions.

For this study he reviewed over 2,800 penalty kicks in about 270 penalty shoot-outs. He divides the observations in two blocks, before and after FIFA changed the rules governing the shoot-outs in 2003. Before that date, the team of the captain winner of a toss of a coin started kicking first; after the change in the rules, the captain winner of the toss of a coin chooses which team kicks first.

Before 2003, the fact of kicking first or not was random, and after 1,343 kicks in 129 shoot-outs, the authors found out that the first in kicking in the sequence win the penalty shoot-out 60.5 percent of the time. (1)

As part of his study, Palacios Huerta made a survey questioning over 200 football players and coaches in Spain, professionals and amateurs, what would they choose if they had won the toss of a coin to decide which team kicks first in a penalty shoot-out. The results offer not doubt: over 95% of the cases chose to kick first. When asked why they would choose that option they indicated “to put pressure on the rivals”.

Experience matched the survey. After the change of FIFA rules in 2003, Palacios Huerta gathered data of another 140 penalty shoot-outs up to 2008 (just before writing his paper). Those were the first 140 penalty shoot-outs in which the winner of the toss of a coin had to choose whether he wanted his team to kick first or his opponent to kick first. In just a single case did the winner of the toss of a coin choose to let the opponent to kick first: Gianluigi Buffon playing for Italy the quarter-final of the Euro cup in 2008 against Spain, with the result that Spain won the penalty shoot-out and went to win the Euro, starting a streak of 3 consecutive major competitions at national level (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012).

Take a look at the following graphics and tables that let you read how the probabilities of scoring each penalty in a shoot-out evolve depending on previous outcomes (whether the team is behind, even or ahead) and the probability of winning the shoot-out (hence qualifying to the next phase or winning the competition) evolve.

ScoringProbabilitiesperRound

PenaltyShootOut_ScoringProbabilities

I highlighted in the previous table in blue and yellow the scoring probability for each kick and the winning percent of the shoot-out for a shoot-out in which both teams go about scoring each of the penalties. It is interesting, if not dramatic, to see how while the scoring probability for the first team is always between 72 and 78% (2), for the second team it drops from 82% to 62-66% for rounds 3 to 5. Similarly, the winning probability decreases for the second team down to 21-23% just before attempting kicks 3 and 4 if all previous penalties have been scored.

See below that 2008 penalty shoot-out between Spain and Italy.

After having commented on these two papers and its conclusions, let me share a few comments and anecdotes:

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid scores the winning penalty during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

MILAN, ITALY – MAY 28: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid scores the winning penalty during the UEFA Champions League Final. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Toss of a coin. Both 2016 Copa America Centenario final and UEFA Champions League final were won by the team which kicked the first penalty, Chile and Real Madrid, respectively. In the draw, using the toss of a coin, to decide which team kicked first Chile chose to kick first (see here the video). However, in the Champions League final, Atletico de Madrid’s captain Gabi chose to let Real Madrid kick first. Apparently, he chose that as they had kicked second in the round of 16 of that same competition against PSV Eindhoven and passed. Somehow he tried to repeat the sequence thinking that this would bring them luck. Well, with that decision he put his team against about 60-40% odds backed by over 30 years of recorded experience and about 270 shootouts. Not a clever move. See this article “La buena mala suerte del Churu” by Manuel Jabois discussing this toss of a coin (in Spanish). See here the video.

“[…] we find a systematic first-mover advantage. Further, professionals are self-aware of their own psychological effects and, when given the chance, they rationally react by systematically taking advantage of these effects.” (Palacios-Huerta)

1024x1024As reflected above, in the paper, Palacios-Huerta indicates that between 2003 and 2008 only once in 140 samples did the winner of the toss chose to let the opponent kick first. That is why it was striking what Gabi did and why it called the attention of some football fans. Well, yesterday, during the first match of the Euro 2016 quarter finals between Poland and Portugal, we had yet another such example, another anomaly. This time it was Robert Lewandowski, the Polish captain, the perpetrator. He won the toss of the coin and chose that Portugal kicked first. I can imagine how Cristiano Ronaldo might have felt at that moment, the second time in just 6 weeks that he was being handed such a present. Portugal won the shoot-out.

Palacios Huerta and other analysts receive requests for dedicated reports about kicking patterns, records and data of different teams when playing knock-out phases. In Soccernomics, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, describe how that happened during the 2008 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea. Palacios Huerta had given Chelsea some tips on Manchester kickers and keeper (van der Saar): “Van der Sar tends to dive to the kicker’s natural side”, “most of the penalties that Van der Sar stops are mid-height, thus is better to shoot low or high”, “if Cristiano Ronaldo stops half-way in the run-up to the ball chances are 85% that he shoots to his natural side”…, it is quite interesting to actually see that penalty shoot-out and how the different players acted. See below the video. Apparently Van der Saar saw how Cech, Chelsea’s keeper had some paper in his hands and also noticed how kickers were shooting to their non-natural side, until at the 7th penalty (~9’30” in the video) he defies Anelka by pointing to Anelka’s non-natural side, like saying “I know you have the tip to kick there”, then…

For the record, the final was won by Manchester, first in kicking.

Finally, ever since coming to know all this information I have enjoyed penalty shootouts more than before. I now entertain myself seeing the strategy taken by the keepers and kickers, whether the keeper jumps to the natural side of the kicker more or less than in 60% of the shots, if he changes his strategy depending on whether the kicker is left or right-footed, whether kickers shoot more or less than 60% of the shots to their natural side, etc.

Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres“, Le Petit Prince.

(1) At the time of the Copa de America Centenario final, the Spanish journalist Alexis Sanchez (better know by his profile @2010MisterChip), expert in providing all kind of football statistics, tweeted that Chile, being the first in kicking in the penalty shootout against Argentina had a 55% chance of winning the tournament. Thus, it may be the case that he has a larger (not public) database including more penalty shootout.

(2) Note how probabilities in shoot-outs decrease from the average of 80% of penalties during the match.

 

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Soccernomics

Soccernomics.

If you love football (soccer) and have read one of the books of the “Freakonomics” saga or any book from Malcolm Gladwell, then “Soccernomics“, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (430 pgs.), will be a great read for you.

The book is written in the same style as the other books mentioned above: using economics’ techniques, plenty of data, statistics, citing several papers, studies, etc., in order to bring up uncovered issues about football or refocus the attention about other ones. Some examples:

  • Mastering the transfer market. Departing from the example of Billy Beane in baseball, described in “Moneyball“, by Michael Lewis (of which a movie was also made starring Brad Pitt), the authors show how pouring money in transfer markets doesn’t bring titles. The key issue is to have a balanced net investment (sales/acquisitions). In soccer the main example would be Olympique Lyon which will “sell any player if a club offer more than he is worth”, for which each player is previously assigned a price (much like value investing).
  • The more money is paid to players the better (in salaries). Instead of buying new expensive players it seems to make more sense to pay well and ensure the adaptation of the stars already playing for the team.
  • The market for managers is not yet very open (e.g. no black coaches in main European teams), thus many of them do not make a real difference. There was even an English team Ebbsfleet United who dispensed the coach and allowed subscribed fans to vote the player selection for each match.
  • The book, written at the beginning of 2012 forecasted that soon teams from big European capitals would win the Champions’ League, being those capitals: London, Paris, Istanbul and Moscow. Few months later Chelsea won its first one, let’s see the others.
  • The main factors for the success of football national teams seem to be the experience (international games played by the national team), wealth and population.
  • The authors give much weight to Western Europe dominance of football due to the interconnectedness of continental Europe. Explaining the rise of Spain in the ’90s and ’00s due to its growth in population, improved economy since joining the EU, more experience and exchanges of styles with coaches of other countries.
  • The authors claim that future national football will be dominated by countries such as Iraq, USA, Japan or China.

As you can see there are many different topics, all with some data to support them (even if sometimes you doubt about the consistency of their claims, e.g. their statements on industrial cities as dominating football, dictatorships, etc.). I marked many pages with some anecdotes or papers that I would like to read.

One final anecdote: tips given to clubs and teams in KO competitions in case they face a penalty shoot-out. In the Champions’ League final of 2008, Chelsea and Manchester United reached the penalties. An economist had given Chelsea a study of Manchester goal keeper and penalty-shooters. Once you read the book and the tips the economist provided (“Van der Sar tends to dive to the kicker’s natural side”, “most of the penalties that Van der Sar stops are mid-height, thus is better to shoot low or high”, “if Cristiano Ronaldo stops half-way in the run-up to the ball chances are 85% that he shoots to his natural side”…), it is quite interesting to actually see that penalty shoot-out and how the different players acted.

[Pay special attention at Van der Sar’s reaction at 09’40”, when it seems he noticed about Chelsea having been tipped]

I definitely recommend this book to football fans. I also recommend two other books about which I wrote in the blog some time ago: “How soccer explains the World” and “Historias del fútbol mundial“.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Di Stéfano y la tristeza

Viendo el revuelo producido por las declaraciones donde Cristiano Ronaldo decía que se encontraba triste, no pude más que recordar un par de anécdotas de Alfredo Di Stefano.

Una que recordaba haber leído en internet (“Corazón Blanco“) sobre un telegrama que Di Stéfano envió a Bernabeu que recupero:

Alfredo Di Stéfano regresaba a Argentina, sin fecha de vuelta. La Saeta Rubia envía un telegrama a Santiago Bernabéu, a modo de despedida. La misiva, cuyo original está bastante deteriorado y es casi ilegible, dice: “Don Santiago me voy a mi tierra, no sé si volveré pronto. Nunca en estos años se habló mucho de nosotros. Yo llevé la peor parte. Fue un fenómeno o un gamberro. Si no me acerqué a usted fue porque no quería que creyera que busque un puesto regalado. Por lo menos eso no me lo puede quitar nadie. Lo que gané siempre fue con esfuerzo. Observé que para estar bien con usted había que ser falso. Tuve muchas desilusiones y nadie me dio moral. Usted como padre me falló. Ahí se ve que nunca tuvo hijos porque los padres siempre perdonan. Si no vuelvo más le llegue a usted mi felicitación y mi recuerdo cariñoso. Un abrazo, Alfredo”.

Y la otra sobre su despedida del Madrid, anécdota que leí hace años en su biografía “Gracias, vieja” (libro que aprovecho a recomendar), y que se puede leer en el la web del diario As:

“Muñoz se aferraba a que había que vigilar a Facchetti y nosotros decíamos: ‘¿Y quién agarra a Amancio?’. Amancio era como la luz de rápido y estaba jugando fenomenal. Al final, ¿qué pasó? Que Facchetti no se fue arriba casi nunca en el transcurso del partido… Jugamos el encuentro con uno menos, pero Muñoz me mandó a la mierda y me echaron a mí del club porque lo mandé a la mierda yo también”.

Aquel encuentro fue histórico, puesto que fue la última ocasión oficial en la que Di Stéfano vistió la camiseta blanca. Días después, el Madrid disputó la semifinal de Copa ante el Atlético, pero Muñoz no incluyó a La Saeta en la convocatoria.

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