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Weather Conditions, Travel Distance, Rest, and Running Performance at FIFA 2014 (2017)

Inspired by the increasing public attention being paid to the risk factors of heat and travel effects on football (soccer) performance, these authors studied the impact of heat, travel, and rest time on various performance indicators at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The data set includes all players who appeared in at least one game of the 2014 World Cup (n = 1,777 player-match observations), minus goalkeepers and three players with unusual files. The team-level data were aggregated from the player data and includes n = 128 observations on a team-match basis (thus including both teams involved in a match).

The findings show: - The heat index, measured as a combination of both air temperature and humidity, had negative effects on total distance covered and high-intensity running per minute. In other words, the higher the heat index, the lower the running performance. - Wind speed did not have any significant effect on running distance, but did negatively affect attacking. - Rain and altitude had no significant effects on any performance indicators. - The number of rest days was also insignificant. - Running performance declines as the length of the game increases. The longer the game, the lower the performance at high-intensity.

The authors discuss the significance of these findings for the running performances and attractiveness of the game in extremely hot environments (such as Qatar).

CITE: Watanabe, N., Wicker, P., & Yan, G. (2017). Weather Conditions, Travel Distance, Rest, and Running Performance: The 2014 FIFA World Cup and Implications for the Future. Journal of Sport Management, 31(1), 27-43.


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