World Cup: Day 1 Quarter-Final Matchup Previews

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23: Landon Donovan and Benny Feilhaber of USA celebrate Donovan's winning goal against Algeria, 1-0, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Quarter-Final draw is a bit lopsided, with some of the weaker teams in the round of 16 competing in Saturday's opening matches. I wanted to look at the team level - passing, possession, territory, shooting - to see if anything stands out.

Match 1, Saturday:

Neither South Korea nor Uruguay are big passing teams, while South Korea had better possession (50% to 45%) and a larger share of weighted passing. On the other hand, Uruguay was much more able to prevent opponent shots, and it seems unlikely that they allowed zero goals to South Korea's six by luck alone.

Passes For Weighted Vs Weighted % of Pass
South Korea 874 194.8 1027 218.9 46.0
Uruguay 765 165.5 1288 286.6 37.3

Shots F Goals Sh% Shots A Goals Sh%
South Korea 33 5 15.2 31 6 19.4
Uruguay 35 4 11.4 27 0 0.0

Match 2, Saturday:

The United States could hardly have asked for a better opponent in the first round - Ghana is a slightly higher-event team than the US, but they're no better at possession (48% for Ghana to 50% for the US). They also had some of the worst shooting luck in the entire tournament, scoring twice on penalty kicks and zero times during play. The US, on the other hand, was the victim of two questionable calls on goals, which suggests that, if anything, they created better scoring opportunities for themselves. The main factor in Ghana's favor seems to be home-continent advantage - I'm skeptical as to how heavily that should be weighted.

Passes For Weighted Vs Weighted % of Pass
USA 881 195.1 953 210.1 48.0
Ghana 1022 228.3 1141 229.7 47.2

Shots F Goals Sh% Shots A Goals Sh%
USA 41 4 9.8 35 3 8.6
Ghana 41 2 4.9 29 2 6.9

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