Uruguay-South Korea Passing by Score

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 26: Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates scoring the opening goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Uruguay and South Korea at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

According to the game stats, South Korea had 60% of the possession in this game. We see the same split in the passing data, both in raw completed passes and location-weighted passes:

Mins Team Passes Weighted Team Passes Weighted
93.95 South Korea 414 97.2 Uruguay 252 56.7

SK Poss% SK Pass% SK Weight%
60 62 63

So they dominated Uruguay and were unlucky to lose, right? Not exactly. When two of the top 20 teams in the world play each other, we see huge score effects - the trailing team will dominate possession while the leading team plays to limit opportunities. This game was essentially split into four distinct time periods by score:

Score Mins Team Passes Weighted Team Passes Weighted
0-0 7.63 South Korea 26 4.8 Uruguay 31 7.8
0-1 60.60 South Korea 304 72.2 Uruguay 143 30.6
1-1 12.58 South Korea 24 4.2 Uruguay 51 13.1
1-2 13.13 South Korea 60 16 Uruguay 27 5.2

Combining by goal differential, we see that Uruguay controlled the passing when the game was tied:

Score Mins Team Passes Weighted Team Passes Weighted
Tied 20.22 South Korea 50 9.0 Uruguay 82 20.9
Down 1 73.73 South Korea 364 88.2 Uruguay 170 35.8

Or put more simply:

Score SK Pass% SK Weight%
Tied 38 30
Down 1 68 71

When it counted, South Korea got dominated. The possession stats merely reflect that they spent most of the game trying to tie a much better team.

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