博彩经:VAR, free-kick crackers make it 'set-piece World Cup'

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, June 20, 2018
Adjust font size:
Iury Gazinsky (R) of Russia vies with Ahmed Fathi of Egypt during a Group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 19, 2018. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

VAR and a trio of spectacular free kicks have led to a spike in the number of goals from set plays in Russia, with some already calling it "the World Cup of set pieces".


With all the teams having played at least one game, roughly half of the goals at the tournament so far have come from set pieces -- which will disappoint the football purists.


It led to one joke doing the rounds on social media saying that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, which is making its World Cup debut, will have more assists than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.


Aliou Cisse, coach of Senegal, said: "We know that nowadays defensive systems are very tight so set pieces will be decisive weapons during the group matches."


The numbers bear that out.


Following Sweden's 1-0 win against South Korea on Monday, thanks to a penalty awarded with the help of VAR, football analytics firm Opta Sports said 53.8 percent of the 26 goals up to that point had come from set plays.


That chimes with the calculations of Mads Davidsen, technical director at the Chinese top-tier side Shanghai SIPG, who said: "That is significantly higher than previous tournaments.


"At Euro 2016, in total 30 percent of goals were scored from set pieces and the last World Cup in 2014 the number was around 38 percent."


Davidsen, a UEFA Pro coach from Denmark, added: "Cup tournaments will always have a higher set-piece scoring percentage than domestic leagues because it's 'easier' to prepare and train set pieces, and national teams have the time issue of having few training sessions together during a year, so it's difficult to work detailed on your style of play.


"There is no doubt VAR has had an effect as well."


There were 13 penalties awarded during the whole of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, not including penalty shootouts.


There have already been 10 awarded in Russia even though the tournament is still only in its early stages.


VAR has vastly increased the number of spot kicks because more infringements are being seen than before.


Making it stick


But the tournament in Russia has also thrown up three spectacular direct free-kick goals.


Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a late strike in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain while Aleksandar Kolarov fired home the winner for Serbia in their 1-0 victory over Costa Rica. Aleksandr Golovin struck a stunner for hosts Russia in their 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia.


Goalkeepers in the past have complained about World Cup balls that wobble and dip unpredictably, making it a nightmare to catch or stop, particularly when the likes of Ronaldo have perfected their technique from set plays to get maximum movement.


The Adidas Telstar 18 ball used for this World Cup was supposed to be more stable in the air.


Not so, say several goalkeepers, including Russia's Igor Akinfeev, who believes the ball at this tournament is partly responsible for goals from long-distance such as Philippe Coutinho's curler from open play for Brazil and free kicks like the ones by Ronaldo and Kolarov.


"There is a lot of criticism of this ball but we cannot change this now," said Akinfeev. "As goalkeepers we have to keep the ball, make it stick to our palms."


Davidsen believes that as the World Cup progresses, the number of goals from open play will increase.


"As it's the first game for all teams, everyone is a bit nervous, not taking any chances, so there is more emphasis on set pieces," he said.


Follow www.kilc.com.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
  • 面包车塞进14个液化气罐 交警及时排除“定时炸弹” 2019-02-16
  • 人民网评:古建筑被毁,你就下得了手? 2019-02-16
  • 升级是硬道理 MQB平台全新一代宝来驾乘体验更舒适 2019-02-14
  • 个税起征点提至每月5000元,财政部最新解释来了 2019-02-14
  • 无论谁说自己的理论是马克思主义理论都不算数,只有他的理论符合客观事实及其规律才是真理,否则便是谬误。 2019-02-10
  • 看着就想笑,干脆是8=0.全生女,社会直接灭亡 2019-02-03
  • 中国国际智能产业博览会LOGO征集选用公告 2019-02-03
  • 应战美国贸易战中国跟500亿 同等力度、同日开征关税 2019-01-29
  • 开设写作课,值得鼓与呼 2019-01-29
  • 海印公园北片物业及配套停车场出租项目 2019-01-22
  • 美国又打出2000亿关税牌,中方这300字声明暗藏玄机! 2019-01-17
  • 回复@老老保老张工:你是想自己生产的产品没人要还继续给你配置资源? 2019-01-17
  • 回复@老老保老张工:各级计委啊!虽然有时候也征求企业的意见,但仅仅是作为制订计划的参考,权重微乎其微…… 2019-01-04
  • 世界杯期间在家撸串的正确姿势-热门标签-华商网数码 2019-01-01
  • 周迅高圣远婚礼全记录 夫妻频拥吻恩爱爆棚 2019-01-01
  • 978| 835| 630| 637| 726| 339| 278| 968| 947| 31|