World Cup: Uruguay-Ghana

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 11: Diego Forlan of Uruguay gestures 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 Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

There isn't much to say about the outcome of this game: after over two hours of play, almost all of which was tied, it went to coin tosses, and the Ghanians flipped tails a few more times than we would have expected.

Let's look at the passing through the game:

Ugugha_medium

Uruguay controlled possession initially, but Ghana was in charge for most of the 1st half, culminating in a goal on a typically low-percentage shot. Uruguay took the ball to start the second half and scored on a nice free kick. Then Uruguay allowed Ghana to control most of the play for the rest of the game. It was only sheer luck that kept them from losing at the end of extra-time, and further good luck gave them the win in PKs.

We can see how this process looked by score:

Uru Minutes Pass F Weighted Pass A Weighted % of Passes % of Weighted
0-0 46.7 200 39 272 65 42 38
0-1 10.2 291 54 185 40 61 58
1-1 71.7 172 42 313 75 35 36

Or combining by game state:

Uru Minutes Pass F Weighted Pass A Weighted % of Passes % of Weighted
Tied 118.4 183 41 297 71 38 36
Dn 1 10.2 291 54 185 40 61 58

I don't really get Uruguay - unlike the rest of the good teams in the tournament, they simply fail to have ball possession when the game is tied. Except against South Korea, that is - so clearly they are capable of controlling the ball. But they seem content to allow a lot of opportunities while apparently preventing their opponents from good scoring chances - they've allowed just two goals.

Opponent Minutes Pass F Wgtd Pass A Wgtd % of Passes Weighted %
Mexico 42.9 218 51 426 93 34 36
South Africa 23.7 205 52 460 75 31 41
France 95.2 245 49 351 83 41 37
South Korea 21.2 348 89 212 38 62 70
Ghana 118.4 183 41 297 71 38 36
Total 301.4 221 49 339 76 39 39

Uruguay has yet to play a truly good team, so it remains to be seen if this strategy is the path to winning in the semi-finals.

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