“Germany beats Bosnia to claim FIFA 2014 Slugfest title, Belgium wins bronze”
Yes. You read that right. Those were the results of our exploration of the physique of teams which participated at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Tall & Short Tales
Each team had a squad of 23 players. Each bar here represents a team, the height of the bar is the average height of players in the team and the width of the bar indicates the average weight. Lets start off by arranging the teams based on their average height.
In the 2014 World Cup the Germans were the tallest with an average height of 1.86 m and also the heaviest weighing 79.35 kilos on average.
Mia Hamm the American World Cup Soccer champion said,
“If a team wants to intimidate you physically and you let them, they’ve won.”
It was not just their intimidating physique but also their superior skill and team work that helped the Germans win the World Cup. They were the perfect combination of ‘brain’ & ‘brawn’, demolishing anything that came their way.
The players from Chile were the shortest with an average height of 1.76 m.
And the players from Japan were the lightest weighing 71.43 kgs. Mexico was close at 71.65 kgs.
Amongst the tallest teams, the first 5 were all European! – Germany, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belgium, Croatia & England. Spain was the shortest and lightest of the European teams.
The South American teams were at the bottom half, Brazil being the tallest of the lot with an average height of 1.82 m.
With the exception of the United States (1.83 m) the other North American teams – Costa Rica, Honduras & Mexico – were amongst the shortest.
Africa & Asia
The African & Asian teams fill the rest of the gap. The Super Eagles (1.83m) were the tallest African team
while South Korea (1.84m) was the tallest Asian team.
A European Phenomenon?
Let’s arrange the teams by order of Average Weight and study the Europeans. Out of the 6 teams in the bottom half, with the exception of transcontinental Russia, 5 are Western European – Portugal, Italy, France, the Netherlands & Spain. Note: Teams are now ordered by Average Weight.
Arranging the teams based on their average BMI scores we find that Cameroon has the highest mean BMI score of 23.67 and Russia and Japan the lowest at 22.58.
The Giants & Giant Killers
Lets now move on to the players themselves. Who were the tallest, shortest, heaviest & lightest players in the 2014 World Cup?
Fraser Forster, the English Goal Keeper was the tallest standing tall at an astonishing 2.01 m.
Edgar Salli, the Cameroon forward was the shortest player at 1.63 m.
Daniel Van Buyten, the Belgian defender was the heaviest weighing 96 kilos
and the Brazilian midfielder Bernard Anicio Caldeira Duarte was the lightest weighing 57 kilos.
Tallest & Heaviest by Player Positions
In most teams it was either a goalkeeper or a defender who was the tallest or heaviest. But there were also exceptions. Notice that a forward was the tallest player in these teams – Chile (Mauricio Pinilla), France (Olivier Giroud), South Korea (Shin-Wook Kim) & Portugal (Hugo Miguel Pereira de Almeida ) – while a midfielder(Reza Haghighi) was the tallest player in the Iranian team.
Tallest player by position
The tallest players of France, South Korea & Portugal (all forwards) also happened to be the heaviest in their teams while a forward from Italy (Mario Balotelli ) and another from Chile(Jean Beausejour) were the heaviest in their respective teams.
Heaviest player by position
Before we go, who do you think won the 2010 slugfest? Germany? Wrong! It was the Serbians! Gotcha!