We analyze the age of Russia 2018 World Cup players.
Every athlete’s career goes through several distinct stages: education, rise, maturity and an end, which is inevitable for one and all. If we talk about football players, they also mostly fit into this timeline but football is a team sport, where both battle-hardened and novices can play side by side.
There is an opinion that the one of the main parts of The Beautiful Game is the fact that it combines experience and youthfulness to give a blend of physicality and precision. To determine this, we’ve decided to consult the statistical data on the players first available at https://skorexpress.com.
For starters, let’s look at the table that contains all 32 teams that will take part in the World Cup finals this year. It’s arranged in descending order from oldest to youngest.
As you can see, the oldest team of the upcoming World Cup finals is Panama. Average age of the players are considerable 29.4 years. The 29-year old range has also been crossed by teams of Costa Rica and Iceland, who apparently place the experience above everything else.
At the same time, the youngest teams on the World Cup are going to be the teams of Nigeria, Germany and England. While Super Eagles are no surprise in this regard, considering that African teams like to bet on youthfulness more, the English and the Germans are a different story.
Experienced deliver more results on average, while young show more interesting football
There’s an opinion that experienced teams in football are risk-averse, that’s why their games are often less interesting and gripping. But if we’re to look at the table above and separate it in half, it appears that experienced teams actually deliver more interesting games on average as well.
As a criterion of “interesting”, we shall take an indicator of 1.5 goals per game. Among the younger teams of the bottom part of the table, we’ve found 5 teams that scored less than the indicator we’ve chosen: Iran (1 goal per match), South Korea (1.1), Columbia (1.17), Egypt (1.33) and Peru.
At the same time, among the older teams, we’ve found only three that have shown the results below the criteria we’ve chosen: Panama (0.9), Argentina (1.09) and Costa Rica (1.4).
If we are to consider teams that have scored more than 3 times on average, then we’ve got only 4 teams. Two of those (Spain and Portugal) can be attributed to “older” and two others (Belgium and Germany) to younger. But Belgium and Germany were the teams that showed the most results during the qualifiers, averaging 4.3 goals per match. Belgian national team also scored the record amount during World Cup qualification round, destroying Gibraltar in August 2017 9:0.
Elders and youngsters
Considering that not all countries have declared their teams for the World Cup final, we’re going to talk about the teams that have already done so, as well as consider the extended call-up lists.
The oldest player of the World Cup is going to be, without a doubt, the goalkeeper of the Egypt national team, Essam El-Hadary, who turned 45 this year. He has played for his team 156 times.
Also, among the TOP-5 oldest players that will (or probably will) take part in the finals are: 39-year old Rafael Márquez (Mexico, 143 matches for the national team, 18 goals), 38-year old Sergei Ignashevich (Russia, 120, 8), 38-year old Tim Cahill (Australia, 105, 50), as well as 37-year olds José de Jesús Corona (Mexico, 52), Felipe Baloy (Panama, 102, 3) and Blas Pérez (Also Panama, 117, 43).
As for the youngest: 19-year olds Daniel Arzani (Australia, never played for the national team yet), Federico Valverde (Uruguay, 4 matches, 1 goal), Achraf Hakimi (Morocco, 7, 1), Kylian Mbappé (France, 13, 3), Francis Uzoho (Nigeria, 4), Trent Alexander-Arnold (England, -), José Luis Rodríguez (Panama, 1), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Panama, -), Sebastian Szymański (Poland, -), Moussa Wagué (Senegal, 8).
How important is the age of the team in terms of chances for victory?
Even if we try to analyze the approaches and who favours what - it’s still much too complicated to say without adding a load of additional modifiers.
At the same time, it’s important to note that one of the main contenders for the win, German national team has the youngest team in the tournament. The oldest team that Germany ever had was on 1998 World Cup in France, where their average age was 30.3. However, they were utterly destroyed by Croatia in the semifinal (0:3) and left with nothing.
The youngest ever Germany was at 2010 World Cup (24.9 years old on average), where they finished third and in 4 years took the gold with an average player’s age at 26.3. As we can see, this time they’re trying to defend their honour with a team that is slightly younger.
We can also select an Argentinian national team, as an example of an older team with strong chances of winning (average age >28 years). For 30-year olds Messi, Higuain, Aguero and Di Maria this will be among the last, if not the last attempt to win the World Cup in their careers.
Recently, there was information that UBS has hired several prominent analytics to simulate the outcomes of this year’s World Cup in Russia.
As a result, 18 analytics, after performing over 10 thousand computer simulations have decided that the winner of this year’s World Cup will probably be Germany. Second place will be taken by Brazil and bronze will be earned by Spain. Then, positions from 4th to 10th will be assigned to the following teams: England, France, Belgium, Argentina, Portugal, Uruguay, Switzerland.
As we can see, the experts are expecting for the young to win FIFA World Cup 2018 but that still remains to be seen. Only month and a half left for the biggest event in football. The summer’s going to be very, very hot.
Information from https://skorexpress.com was used in writing of this article.