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World Cup: Brazil vs Cote D'Ivoire Playmaking and Pass Quality

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One way to evaluate playmaking in soccer is to look at the difficulty of the passes that a player completes. For an individual pass, we can calculate the likelihood that it was completed based on its target location. So for all passes that a player makes, we can then determine the overall probability that he completed them, and weight the passes accordingly. Brazil's performance is shown below:

Player Team Position Passes Avg Quality Norm Passes
Gilberto Silva Brazil Midfielder 57 16.0 43.1
Felipe Melo Brazil Midfielder 57 15.6 42.2
Lucio Brazil Defender 48 17.1 38.9
Maicon Brazil Defender 46 17.8 38.9
Robinho Brazil Striker 31 25.5 37.4
Michel Bastos Brazil Defender 42 16.7 33.2
Juan Brazil Defender 48 12.9 29.4
Kaká Brazil Midfielder 25 24.8 29.4
Daniel Alves Brazil Substitute 14 29.3 19.4
Julio César Brazil Goalkeeper 23 14.8 16.1
Luis Fabiano Brazil Striker 14 24.3 16.1
Elano Brazil Midfielder 11 20.0 10.4
Ramires Brazil Substitute 0 0.0 0.0

The way to read this - Gilberto Silva completed 57 passes with an average likelihood of completion of 84% - so the average quality of those passes is 100% - 84% = 16%. Overall, the probability of completing a pass is 21.1%, so his weighted pass total is 43.1 = 57*16%/21.1%. The player rankings don't move around that much, but Robinho's 31 passes up front come out as much more valuable than Juan's 48 passes from the up.

Ivory Coast follows:

Player Team Position Passes Avg Quality Norm Passes
Yaya Touré Ivory Coast Midfielder 37 25.9 45.5
Siaka Tiéné Ivory Coast Defender 43 18.4 37.4
Guy Demel Ivory Coast Defender 33 22.1 34.6
Cheikh Ismael Tioté Ivory Coast Midfielder 26 17.7 21.8
Emmanuel Eboué Ivory Coast Defender 15 28.0 19.9
Aruna Dindane Ivory Coast Striker 16 25.6 19.4
Gervinho Ivory Coast Substitute 13 28.5 17.5
Kolo Touré Ivory Coast Defender 20 17.5 16.6
Didier Zokora Ivory Coast Midfielder 22 15.5 16.1
Salomon Kalou Ivory Coast Striker 15 20.7 14.7
Boubacar Barry Ivory Coast Goalkeeper 19 14.7 13.3
Romaric Ivory Coast Substitute 9 27.8 11.8
Kader Keita Ivory Coast Substitute 5 20.0 4.7
Didier Drogba Ivory Coast Striker 3 26.7 3.8

There's even more limited movement here - Cote D'Ivoire players who handled the ball a lot also tended to be those players who put the ball into positive territory. The biggest mover is Yaya Touré, who could get the title of playmaker of the game.

It's also amazing how much of an offensive game Didier Drogba plays and how little playmaking he does! (As opposed to scoring, which he does a lot.)