THE MONEYBALL-IZATION OF SOCCER
Before Germany-Holland at Euro 2012, German data analysts crunched the numbers on their opponents and spotted a weakness: The Dutch defenders often strayed too far apart. The German national team’s secret codebook says that the ideal distance between defenders in a back four is eight meters.
“The numbers suggest that shooting from free kicks — an unquestioned method in soccer, much as sacrifice bunts once were in baseball — is a terrible waste of a good ball. ”