Is the best defense a good offense? Comparing the Brazilian and Italian soccer styles

Translated title of the contribution: Is the best defense a good offense? Comparing the Brazilian and Italian soccer styles

Edson Filho, Itay Basevitch, Yanyun Yang, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The main purpose was to test the mythical belief that Brazilian soccer teams possess an offensive style of play while Italian teams rely on a defensive game plan. A dominant rationalization for these perceived differences is rooted in the cultural and social differences between the two nations. Data (goals scored, goals conceded, and points per game) from international competitions (World Cup), and from the local premier leagues (Brazilian and Italian) were descriptively and inferentially analyzed. Descriptive and inferential analyses revealed that: (1) Brazilian teams scored more goals per game than Italian teams at both the national and league level; (2) the relationship between goals scored and performance (points per game) was significant and of strong magnitude for Italian teams only (r=.84); and (3) strong defense is essential for successful performance in the World Cup for both the Brazilian and Italian national teams. Altogether, there was evidence of differences in Brazilian and Italian playing styles in regard to offensive (goals scored) and defensive (goals conceded) outcomes. Specific avenues for future directions are offered.

Translated title of the contributionIs the best defense a good offense? Comparing the Brazilian and Italian soccer styles
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalKinesiology
Volume45
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cross-cultural research
  • Expertise
  • Mythical beliefs
  • Soccer

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