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Together with Elmar Bittner, Andreas Nußbaumer and Wolfhard Janke from the University of Leipzig I had a scientific look at the problem of scoring in football league and cup games. In particular, we wondered, "how scoring in football and the component of self-affirmation depend on cultural and political circumstances.".

Considering the score distributions of the home and away teams, we found that one has to take into account a component of positive feedback or self-affirmation of the teams upon scoring a goal to model the observed distribution of goals. Without this effect of the "football fever", in particular matches with outlandishly high results should occur less often than actually observed.

The above figure shows a scatter plot of the fitted parameters of our model for some of the teams of the finals of the FIFA World Cup 2006, found from fits to the data of the past world cups' qualification rounds. The horizontal axis shows the initial scoring probability (the "skill component"), while the vertical axis denotes the increase of the scoring probability upon scoring a goal (the "football fever"). The results from different continents, shown in different colors, cannot be directly compared since the qualification is played separately for each continent. Most of the all-time favorites of the past world cups appear in the upper right corner, resulting in overall large scoring success.

For more information see:

or check out Wolfhard Janke's homepage for a full list of press coverage.

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Timestamp: Thu Jun 15 19:02:15 2006