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Open AccessArticle

Asymmetries in Football: The Pass—Goal Paradox

Complex Systems Group, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28001 Madrid, Spain
Laboratory of Biological Networks, Centre for Biomedical Technology (CTB-UPM), 28001 Madrid, Spain
Grupo Interdisciplinar de Sistemas Complejos (GISC), 28001 Madrid, Spain
Mediacoach-LaLiga, 28001 Madrid, Spain
Institute of Unmanned System and Center for OPTical IMagery Analysis and Learning (OPTIMAL), Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Symmetry 2020, 12(6), 1052;
Received: 22 May 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 19 June 2020 / Published: 24 June 2020
We investigate the relation between the number of passes made by a football team and the number of goals. We analyze the 380 matches of a complete season of the Spanish national league “LaLiga" (2018/2019). We observe how the number of scored goals is positively correlated with the number of passes made by a team. In this way, teams on the top (bottom) of the ranking at the end of the season make more (less) passes than the rest of the teams. However, we observe a strong asymmetry when the analysis is made depending on the part of the match. Interestingly, fewer passes are made in the second half of a match, while, at the same time, more goals are scored. This paradox appears in the majority of teams, and it is independent of the number of passes made. These results confirm that goals in the first half of matches are more “costly” in terms of passes than those scored in second halves. View Full-Text
Keywords: football; team performance; goals; passes; paradox football; team performance; goals; passes; paradox
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Antequera, D.R.; Garrido, D.; Echegoyen, I.; López del Campo, R.; Resta Serra, R.; Buldú, J.M. Asymmetries in Football: The Pass—Goal Paradox. Symmetry 2020, 12, 1052.

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