2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Match Sample and Data Source
2.2. Performance Variables
- Team possession type: Degree of offensive directness by the level of utilisation or the creation of imbalances in the opponent’s defence to achieve penetration (how quickly penetration is attempted after winning the ball). Penetration is achieved when a pass goes towards the opponent’s goal, past the opponent player(s), while the attacker(s) maintain a high degree of control over the ball. (i) A counterattack (‘direct play’) starts with winning the ball in play and progresses by either (a) utilising or attempting to utilise a degree of imbalance from start to end or (b) creating or attempting to create a degree of imbalance from start to end by using an early (first or second, evaluated qualitatively) penetrative pass or dribble. Utilising a degree of imbalance means seeking penetration in such a way that the defending team will fail to regain a high degree of balance from the start to the end of the attacking team’s possession. Counterattacks progress relatively quickly. (ii) An elaborate attack (‘possession play’) starts with winning the ball in play and progresses either (a) without utilising or attempting to utilise a degree of imbalance or (b) by creating or attempting to create a degree of imbalance by using a late (third or later, evaluated qualitatively) penetrative pass or dribble. Not utilising a degree of imbalance means seeking penetration in such a way that a defending team manages to regain a high degree of balance before the end of the attacking team’s possession. Elaborate attacks often progress relatively slowly .
- Space of use (pitch zone): The pitch was divided into 13 zones (from Z1 to Z13), splitting the pitch into four transversal zones parallel to the halfway and goal lines using six horizontal lines (see Figure 1). The pitch zones were adapted from the traditional nine-zone pitch division in accordance with Grehaigne et al.  to ensure sufficient accuracy of the zone code, where any spatial pitch zone is related to goal scoring (the last action performed by the player scoring the goal at the moment of shooting).
- Number of players involved, measured by the number of players occupied in relation to the pitch zone from where a goal was scored: The number of players participating (attackers and defenders) on each team at the time when each goal was scored.
2.3. Reliability Testing
2.4. Procedure and Statistical Analysis
5. Practical Implications
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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