Physics of Soccer


Case Example

Author’s Assessment of 2009 FIFA U-17 Championship Game

On November 15, 2009, the author watched Switzerland beat Nigeria for the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Championship. On that day, Nigeria was clearly the more skillful, the faster, the stronger, and the more energetic team. Yet, it lost on a 1-0 result in favor of Switzerland. Time and time again, Nigeria created scoring opportunities in the vicinity of the Swiss goal, only to squander them away due to poor execution of final shots. Many of the goal-mouth shots sailed too high or too wide. It was obvious that there was a lack of understanding of the dynamics of the ball by the Nigerian forwards when they got close to the Swiss goal area. Switzerland was the more technically efficient team and it took scientific advantage of the scoring opportunity that unexpectedly came up during a corner kick, which led to a header, which sailed through a scrambling opening between a Nigerian defender and the Nigerian goalie. That was all that was needed by Switzerland to secure the world championship. In soccer, efficiency can triumph over ball possession. Nigeria had more possession of the ball than Switzerland. Focus and determination can beat home-field advantage. The championship match was played in Nigeria. Teamwork can supersede individual skills. Nigeria had world-class skillful players. This case example illustrates the author’s assertion that skill, speed, and field formation must be combined with a basic understanding of ball dynamics in order to get the most out of soccer.

By Deji Badiru, November 15, 2009



Summary of Author's Quote:

“An understanding of the basic principles of physics gives a player a better  knowledge of the behavior of the soccer ball in relation to game scenarios.  Thus, creating the ability to play the game more intelligently.”

      - Deji Badiru, Author of “The Physics of Soccer,” 2010



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©, 2010