World Cup: Closest Positioning to Opponent's Goal (through 6/13)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 11: Thierry Henry of France takes a shot on goal which is blocked by Mauricio Victorino of Uruguay during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

We have some location data for where players play - in particular, we can see where a player is on the field, on average. These are the 10 players who've played closest to the goal in games thus far:

Player Position Country Distance from Goal Shots Goals
Andre-Pierre Gignac Forward France 15.1 1 0
Thierry Henry Forward France 20.8 2 0
Javier Hernandez Forward Mexico 23.1 2 0
Florent Malouda Midfielder France 27.2 1 0
Giovani Dos Santos Midfielder Mexico 27.4 4 0
Abdelkader Ghezzal Forward Algeria 27.4 2 0
Diego Milito Forward Argentina 28.0 0 0
Peter Crouch Forward England 29.0 1 0
Nicolas Anelka Forward France 30.3 5 0
Lionel Messi Forward Argentina 31.3 8 0

I don't know how accurate the data collection is, but Gignac certainly seems to have played a completely different game from any other forward in the tournament. At the other end of the field, obviously the goaltender is playing the furthest back - among non-goaltenders:

Player Position Team Distance from Goal
Danny Shittu Defender Nigeria 77.1
Aleksandar Lukovic Defender Serbia 77.1
Mauricio Victorino Defender Uruguay 78.9
Aaron Mokoena Defender South Africa 79.5
John Mensah Defender Ghana 79.6
Joseph Yobo Defender Nigeria 79.8
Cho Yong-Hyung Defender South Korea 79.8
Diego Lugano Defender Uruguay 80.3
Bongani Khumalo Defender South Africa 81.3
Sebastien Eguren Midfielder Uruguay 82.6

Here's the distribution of player locations thus far in the world cup:

Wc_pdist_medium

These are average positions by game, so the distribution of instantaneous player locations is a bit broader.

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