Visualizing soccer

The US is out of World Cup contention, but we all knew the fun had to end some time. See you in four years! In the meantime, there’s still plenty of great soccer to watch. Ben Hammersley’s blog alerted me to a lovely Argentinian goal from their game against Serbia and Montenegro. The game was a 6-0 rout, but still, even if you don’t care much for soccer watch this video and reflect on the fact that every touch had to be just so for the last shot to go in the goal. I think of scoring in soccer as a safecracking job. You’re always turning the tumblers, turning, turning. Usually you’ve chosen a bad combination, CLUNK. But sometimes all the pieces drop into place, CLICK, and it’s just a lovely thing.

I thought of that video when I stumbled across this fun link on Information Aesthetics. It’s a Danish site that replays important World Cup plays using a game engine. The graphics aren’t terribly impressive, but the content is. You can study plays in detail from different angles, including first person views by all players, to see what went right and wrong. So herewith, I recommend the “Flyvende kamera” view for the second goal by Esteban Cambiasso in Game 21, Gruppe C.

4 thoughts on “Visualizing soccer”

  1. Urgh! You just had to put “Hammersley” in a post about Soccer; knowing your audience as you do! Tell me, is his nickname, “the Hammers”? Anyone? Lenin?

  2. Those of you interested in obscure Monty Python marginalia will be glad to know that Coventry City have indeed won the F.A. Cup, besting Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in the cup final of 1987.

  3. This is off on a tangent, but my favoritest ever (vaguely) sports-related Monty Python Quote:

    “…it looks as though he’s going for the sentence!”

    I could try saying that 100 times and not make it come out as perfectly cadenced as Palin did it.


  4. Replay, schmeeplay…If you are truly committed to not missing a second of World Cup play, then I suggest going to You will be instructed to install the TVU Player, but then you can click on the ESPN link to view the game En Vivo as they say on Univision(my only other alternative since I have no cable).
    But be warned: This causes some software firewall programs to go nuts (which may also cause your network admins to go nuts), what with all the extra network chatter it creates. I haven’t found anything yet to show it is malicious however.

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