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EURO2024: Where football meets data-driven strategy

How open data is revolutionising the game for teams, fans, and developers

The EURO2024 is currently underway in Germany, with 24 countries competing to be Europe's best football nation, while millions of Europeans watch on television or at the stadium. Matches are won by scoring more goals, but data also plays a crucial role. Teams analyse data to strategise against opponents and select the best players. For instance, Liverpool and its former coach Jürgen Klopp famously used data to create a team that won the Champions League 

Open football data boosts fan engagement through interactive visualisations and live scores, enhances scouting, provides tactical insights, and supports research and journalism. Websites like OpenFootball and FootyStats offer extensive data on competitions from Albania to Zambia, enabling diverse applications. The most insightful data is captured in football logs detailing match events, each containing information about its type (e.g., pass, shot, tackle, etc.), a timestamp, the player’s position on the field, and additional information. While collecting this data is costly, some is freely available, such as the football log data for the Women’s Euro 2022, offering deep insights into player performance and team tactics. 

Open data is not only useful during matches. Data on fixture schedules (match dates, venues) helps developers build applications for tournaments. Moreover, data.europa.eu has information available on the public locations where to play sports in the ‘Education, culture and sports’ section. This shows how governments can support the facilitation of sports for everyone and inspires others to share this type of data. 

In summary, open data makes football more dynamic. Coaches can leverage data to gain insights into team performance and adjust strategies during tournaments like the European Cup, enhancing the quality of the games. Fans benefit from increased transparency about the game and players and enjoy better football as a result of these improvements. 

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