After tracking dives and analysing men's behaviour during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, we could only hope to do the same for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France. And we did! We analysed 1,225 plays from the 52 games of the tournament and got some interesting findings.
Here's a high level comparison between the 2 World Cups from the point of vie of diving:
Diving also happened all across the tournament. Here's a timeline of diving events (in green) and concrete impact generate by those dives (in red) at every match in the World Cup:
Unfair impact is encoded in letters:
Remarkably, in four matches of the women’s World Cup, there were no dives whatsoever. Something that did not happen in the Men's World Cup.
By contrast, there were at least 4 dives in every match during the men’s tournament. The maximum number was 28, in the France vs Peru match in the 2nd round of the group stage.
Female players in all positions consistently dived less than their male counterparts. The number of male goalkeepers who dived was so low that they are not reflected in the chart below, but it is worth noting that the number of dives by female goalkeepers was zero.
Although the rate at which cards were unfairly produced as a result of diving was slightly higher for women than men, in aggregate, women created less impact through deceitful behaviour as there were literally no goals or advantage changes attributable to diving in the women’s tournament.
Systematically measuring diving helps raise awareness of the phenomenon and creates an opportunity to reward honest behaviour. In future posts, we will highlight individual players who didn’t dive at all in their respective tournaments, but the aggregate figures are also revealing. The chart below illustrates how women consistently dived less than men overall.
Single divers represent a special case, because they cannot be accused of frequent or consistent diving behaviour.
If you’re interested in looking at the data and run your own analysis we are sharing it here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please share your findings with us and with the rest of the world.
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