O'Really?

June 12, 2014

A passion for England: Suffering at the Brazil WorldCup in 2014

How to Win the World Cup: Step One: Dream on, Dreamer

Are you passionate about your football team? When I say passion I mean passion as in suffering, from the Latin verb patī meaning to suffer. World cups are passionate milestones for many people, they leave indelible marks on the psyche, you remember who you were with, where you were and how your team suffered.

Like many England supporters I’ve suffered as the english media whips up false hope about the prospects of the squad every four years. “This year could be our chance”, and “we’ve got some really good players”, “remember 1966?”, “thirty years of hurt never stopped me dreaming” bla bla bla….

Passionate English suffering at the World Cup (1982-2014)

All this hope, passionately flies in the face of reason, cold facts and history:

So if history [2,3] and mathematics (via predictwise) are anything to go by, there is (at the time of writing) a 96.5% chance that English suffering will continue and a 60% chance that the suffering will occur in the latter stages of the competition…

Wherever you are, whoever you support and whatever their chances, enjoy the inevitable suffering that comes with being passionate about zero-sum games like football. Life would be very boring without passion and suffering…

References

  1. Clemente FM, Couceiro MS, Martins FM, Ivanova MO, & Mendes R (2013). Activity profiles of soccer players during the 2010 World Cup. Journal of Human Kinetics, 38, 201-11 PMID: 24235995
  2. Graham McColl (2010) How to win the World Cup Bantam Press, ISBN: 0593066227
  3. Alex Bellos (2014) Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life Bloomsbury Paperback ISBN: 0747561796

May 16, 2012

Blue Moon hypothesis tested in Large Football Collider (LFC)

The Manchester Derby 2007. What a difference five years makes

“This is how it feels to be City, this is how it feels to be small, this is how it feels when your team wins nothing at all.”  [1,3]

If you are not interested in Football Science, look away now. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

There is a controversial idea in football that money buys trophies, also known as Mancini’s Blue Moon hypothesis.

Two rival Universities have led the way in testing this idea, The University of Old Trafford and the The University of Eastlands, both in Manchester. One institute is led by a Scot, Professor Ferguson the other by an Italian, Professor Mancini. Both Universities have assembled teams of elite researchers including Doctor Vidic (PhD, University of Spartak Moscow) and Doctor Kompany (PhD, University of Hamburger) in their respective labs to carry out the necessary experiments.

Professor Mancini’s research laboratory have recently produced some intriguing experimental results by winning the 2012 Premier League title with generous funding from the Mansour Research Council (MRC) [2] (not to be confused with the Medical Research Council). The MRC has invested significantly more funding than rival bodies like the Glazer Research Council (GRC) not be be confused with the Global Research Council, which has opened up exciting new research opportunities in applied football science.

Some leading football scientists say Mancini’s Blue Moon hypothesis has been proven beyond all doubt; money does buy you trophies. Other scientists say that is it too early to tell, these results are inconclusive and more research is needed. Professor Ferguson insists that other factors besides money are significant in winning trophies.

Experimentalists will resume their research when the Large Football Collider (LFC) is switched back on in August 2012 after its annual summer shutdown. Is Mancini’s hypothesis proven or not? Tune in next season …

References

  1. Inspiral Carpets (1990) This Is How It Feels to be Lonely, This Is How It Feels to be Small Mute records
  2. The Premier League Research Council (PLRC) funds research into basic and applied football science in collaboration with the Mansour Research Council and many others. These football science councils have a larger fund than all the other traditional scientific research councils combined (EPSRC, BBSRC, NERCMRC, STFC and PPARC etc).

June 12, 2006

Bend it like Bezier?

Football informatics, theory and practice: Germany 2006

Bayern BallThe frenchman Pierre Bézier knew a thing or two about curves. But as World Cup fever tightens its grip around the globe, it is the footballers in Germany who are showing us just how much they know about the practical science of curving and bending the ball into the goal. Is there any essential curve-theory for World Cup stars like Beckham, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry to read and brush-up on in their German hotels this summer?

Sports scientist Dr Ken Bray from the University of Bath in the UK hopes that sportsmen and spectators alike will be reading his new book How to Score – Science and the Beautiful Game. This is another popular science book that tries to make fluid dynamics accessible to the layman. In publicising his new book, Ken points out that the new Adidas Teamgeist™ football will unsettle goalkeepers at the World Cup, because the balls move more in the air than traditional ones. This smells of marketing-hype, both for the ball and the book, but it is interesting and topical nonetheless.

Mathematicians and numerical analysts have known for years, the really essential reading for footballers this summer is the famous curves index. These wonderful web pages, free online and completely devoid of hype, describe all the equations for putting the ball in the back of the net in great style. After reading these pages, perhaps World Cup footballers will be able to curve the unpredictable Teamgeist™ ball even more lavishly than before. Just imagine the confusion of a goalkeeper facing a free-kick, when the ball follows a right strophoid curve: y2 = x2(a – x)/(a + x)! This would certainly be more entertaining than the all too predictable and common straight line: y = mx + c that soars over the bar and into row Z of the spectators behind the goal…

Whether scientists, footballers or spectators, we can all enjoy the science of curving at the World Cup in Germany this summer. Bis Bald Berlin!

References

  1. Bend it Like Beckham: The curve ball free-kick (France 1998)
  2. Bénd it Like Bézier: The Bézier Curve
  3. Bend it like Brazil: A perfect example of a free-kick by Roberto Carlos
  4. Bend it like Euclid: Is a straight line a curve?
  5. Computer Graphics: Curves and Surfaces, Bézier representations
  6. From the beautiful game to the computiful game: Nature catches football fever
  7. Goal fever at the World Cup: Why the first strike counts
  8. This post was originally published on nodalpoint with comments

Blog at WordPress.com.