Does the FIFA world cup’s congested fixture program affect players’ performance?

Joao Renato Silva, Michael Rumpf, Maxime Hertzog, George Nassis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The tournament design of any FIFA World Cup™ is characterized with a high amount of games within a short period of time with limited recovery periods. This study aimed to investigate alterations in match activity and fatigue patterns of players from top ranked teams during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Methods: The performance data from the final four ranked teams were recorded from the official game statistics of the federation internationale de football association. Inclusion criteria were: a) played during the seven matches, and b) took part in at least 85% of the total playing time of its respective team. Results: Seventeen players fulfilled the criteria (eight defenders, five midfielders and four attackers). Average exposure of the selected players was 97.4% ± 4.1% (range 86% - 100%) of the tournament regular official playing time. Total distance covered was lower (P < 0.05) in the fourth (round of 16) and fifth (quarterfinals) game than in the first and the sixth (semi-finals). Moreover, high-intensity running was lower in game five than one (P < 0.05), six (P < 0.01) and seven (finals and 3th - 4th place; P < 0.05). Additionally, players performed a lower number of sprints in game five than in game seven (P < 0.05). An intensity composite score revealed that game five was less intense (P < 0.05) than game one, six and seven. Additionally, substantially small decrement (Effect size = 0.4) in the number of sprints between post-peak match (subsequent game to peak-match) and average-five matches was observed. Conclusions: The analyses suggest that there wasn’t a general decline in player’s match activity during the 2014 FIFA World-cup in Brazil in a congested schedule.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13805
JournalAsian Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatigue
  • Pacing
  • Performance Analysis
  • Time-Motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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