JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27: Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina breaks away to score the second goal for his team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
We saw a 4-1 game and a 3-1 game today, but they couldn't have been played any differently. First, because Argentina and Germany built up big leads, we'd expect possession and passing to be in England and Mexico's favor, and it is:
|Minutes||Pass F||Weighted||Pass A||Weighted||% of Passes||% of Weighted||% Possession|
Even though they were down and had nothing to lose, the English did not completely dominate possession. Let's look at what happened when the game was tied or within a goal:
|England||Minutes||Pass F||Weighted||Pass A||Weighted||% of Passes||% of Weighted|
The English completely controlled the play but allowed Germany to score. Compare that to Mexico:
|Mexico||Minutes||Pass F||Weighted||Pass A||Weighted||% of Passes||% of Weighted|
In this case, Argentina dominated the game. We'd expect Mexico to have very little chance of winning if they only had the ball 30-40% of the time.
Let's look at our four qualifiers for the Round of 8 so far:
|Minutes||Pass F||Weighted||Pass A||Weighted||% of Passes||% of Weighted|
I think Argentina is the strongest of the group so far, having so thoroughly controlled the game against a very good Mexican team. But there's no denying that Uruguay is much more likely to beat Ghana than Argentina is Germany. If I were the Germans, I wouldn't get complacent - they did not play all that well against England, and Argentina will abuse them if they own 55-60% of the possession when the game is close.