Love football or hate it, unless you’ve been hibernating the last few days, you will undoubtedly be aware that England got their Euro 2012 campaign up underway last night when they took on France in Donetsk.
It was certainly a mixed game, with varied post-match commentary:
“It is a decent result and a decent performance at times” says a BBC Sport tactical expert.
“For all the ball, we did not work the goalkeeper and never hit the target with the chances we had” says a BBC Sport pundit.
“France should have done more, because they dominated the game with possession” says a BBC Radio 5 live pundit.
However, for all the shouting at the TV, cheers, groans and in-depth analysis you can’t get away from the fact that nowadays science and measurement have a huge impact on the world’s most popular sport.
Coaches rely on science for monitoring player performance, ensuring correct nutrition for peak performance, and understanding the effect of stress on fitness and injury recovery. Specially placed cameras around a football pitch and complex computers enable in-depth analysis of player performance. Player speed, distances covered, areas where they are most active, tackles made, plus loads of other stats, can all be measured during a match. Analysis on BBC’s Academy states that Wayne Rooney can cover around 11.82km during a match!
With technology producing stats like this, we can spend hours digesting our team’s or country’s performance. Statistics from last night’s game demonstrate that France had seven shots on target to England’s one, James Milner covered a distance of 11.8km and Steven Gerrard made the most tackles.
Whilst fascinating, where would football be without some good ol’ fashioned measurement? Football pitches are still measured in yards, but interestingly there is no standard length. The length of a pitch must be between 100 yards and 130 yards and the width not less than 50 yards and not more than 100 yards. Penalties are taken 12 yards from the goal and the goal is eight feet high and eight yards wide. The standard ball size has a circumference of 69 cm ± 0.5 cm.
And what is the most important measurement in football? The pint, of course! Pubs are only allowed to sell drinks in measures of a half pint, pint or half pint multiples. This is enforced by the Weights and Measurement Act. So this Friday, when you tuck into your beverage watching England take on Sweden, you can be sure you are not being sold a short measure.