Tuesday, May 16, 2006

World Cup: 2002 roster breakdowns



Previously, I made a list of whom MLS has sent to the World Cup in 1998 & 2002. We all know that the top leagues in Europe send the most players to the World Cup, but just how many players came from each country? I remember seeing a breakdown for 2002 in a book a while ago, but I couldn't find it on the net. So like always when I can't find an answer for something I'm curious about, I did the research myself. Using FIFA's official site for Korea/Japan 2002, I made a spreadsheet of how many players came from each league for each team. There are a total of 736 players in the tournament (32*23), although the numbers below add up to 735. That's because one player, Ireland's Gary Breen, was listed as unattached. Not sure how up to date they were, but on the caps numbers it says accurate as of 5/27/02.

Below, you'll see three interesting sets of data. The first is a list includes all players. This isn't really a good indicator of the country's soccer strength though, because for example Saudi Arabia sent all 23 of its players from its domestic league. So the second list will show how many foreign players were sent from each country, which is the best indicator of league strength. Then, the third list will show how many domestic players each country used. The second and third lists together equal 735 (or the same as the first list).


All Players

1 England 100
2 Italy 72
3 Spain 61
4 Germany 59
5 France 56
6 Belgium 25
6 Japan 25
6 Mexico 25
9 Saudi Arabia 23
10 China 22
11 Costa Rica 20
11 Ecuador 20
11 Portugal 20
14 Turkey 19
15 Netherlands 18
16 Russia 17
17 South Korea 16
18 Brazil 15
19 Tunisia 14
20 United States 11
21 Greece 10
22 Paraguay 9
23 Poland 8
23 Scotland 8
23 Uruguay 8
26 Denmark 7
26 South Africa 7
28 Argentina 5
28 Slovenia 5
30 Croatia 4
30 Sweden 4
32 Austria 3
32 Nigeria 3
32 Switzerland 3
35 Israel 2
35 Ukraine 2
37 Bulgaria 1
37 Chile 1
37 Czech 1
37 Morocco 1
37 Norway 1
37 Qatar 1
37 Senegal 1
37 Serbia 1
37 UAE 1

45 different countries. That includes 25 from UEFA, 6 from CONMEBOL and AFC, 5 from CAF, and 3 from CONCACAF. For those of you who don't know, AFC = Asia and CAF = Africa. The big 5 took 47.3% of the players, and overall, 7 of 10 players came from European leagues. It wouldn't surprise me if that number increased this time around (even though there's 1 less European team involved). I'll wait until FIFA puts up their official rosters with clubs to do this year's breakdown.

Asia is second, surprisingly. Look at this nice continental breakdown:


Players Percent
UEFA 507 68.9%
AFC 88 12.0%
CONMEBOL 58 7.9%
CONCACAF 56 7.6%
CAF 26 3.5%


Foreign Players

1 England 78
2 France 51
3 Italy 50
4 Germany 39
4 Spain 39
6 Netherlands 18
7 Belgium 10
7 Greece 10
9 Scotland 8
10 Japan 6
10 Mexico 6
10 Turkey 6
13 Denmark 5
13 Portugal 5
15 Argentina 3
15 Austria 3
15 Russia 3
15 Switzerland 3
19 Brazil 2
19 Israel 2
19 Ukraine 2
22 Bulgaria 1
22 Chile 1
22 China 1
22 Czech 1
22 Morocco 1
22 Norway 1
22 Qatar 1
22 Serbia 1
22 Sweden 1
22 UAE 1

This is where the strength of the league(s) shows. Only 31 of the 45 sent foreign players. None were from MLS last time. France has a large number of African players, which puts them at #2. Mexico (along with Japan) ranks highest outside of Europe, with players from Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

This is where it gets ridiculous. Look at the percentage breakdown of the 359 foreign players:


Players Percent
UEFA 337 93.9%
AFC 9 2.5%
CONMEBOL 6 1.7%
CONCACAF 6 1.7%
CAF 1 0.3%

Only 22 players did not play in their domestic league, and also did not play in a UEFA league. Also, once again, Asia is second in this category.


Domestic Players

1 Saudi Arabia 23
2 England 22
2 Italy 22
2 Spain 22
5 China 21
6 Costa Rica 20
6 Ecuador 20
6 Germany 20
9 Japan 19
9 Mexico 19
11 South Korea 16
12 Belgium 15
12 Portugal 15
14 Russia 14
14 Tunisia 14
16 Brazil 13
16 Turkey 13
18 United States 11
19 Paraguay 9
20 Poland 8
20 Uruguay 8
22 South Africa 7
23 France 5
23 Slovenia 5
25 Croatia 4
26 Nigeria 3
26 Sweden 3
28 Argentina 2
28 Denmark 2
30 Senegal 1
31 Cameroon 0
31 Ireland 0

I include Cameroon and Ireland, who were the only 2 World Cup teams to send no players from their own leagues.

Overall, 51.1% of players came from the domestic leagues. Interestingly, Brazil had a majority of players who actually played in Brazil last time. Now, I just checked their 2006 roster and they only have a handful. Another neat thing to point out is that the two superpowers who didn't escape the group stage, Argentina and France, only had 7 of 44 players combined from domestic leagues. I don't think it has much of an impact though, because going through each group in 2002, I checked to see which two teams had the most domestic players and if they advanced. Exactly half did.

Percentage of domestic players by confederation:


Percent
UEFA 49.3%
AFC 85.9%
CONMEBOL 45.2%
CONCACAF 72.5%
CAF 21.7%


Players Came From Most Leagues

1 Nigeria 14
2 Slovenia 11
2 South Africa 11
4 Paraguay 10
5 Denmark 9
5 Poland 9
5 Sweden 9
8 Argentina 8
8 Cameroon 8
10 Russia 7
11 Croatia 6
11 Tunisia 6
13 Belgium 5
13 Brazil 5
13 France 5
13 Portugal 5
13 Turkey 5
13 United States 5
13 Uruguay 5
20 Costa Rica 4
20 Ecuador 4
20 Japan 4
20 South Korea 4
24 China 3
24 Germany 3
24 Mexico 3
24 Senegal 3
28 England 2
28 Italy 2
28 Spain 2
31 Ireland 1
31 Saudi Arabia 1

The average team in 2002 had players who came from 5.6 different leagues, including 4 teams in the double digits. Incredibly, Nigeria's 23 players came from 14 different leagues. That has to be a record. Here's their breakdown:

3-England
3-France
3-Nigeria
2-Belgium
2-Netherlands
2-Ukraine
1-China
1-Germany
1-Greece
1-Israel
1-Qatar
1-Russia
1-Spain
1-Switzerland

Comments on "World Cup: 2002 roster breakdowns"

 

Anonymous Joe said ... (4:44 PM, May 16, 2006) : 

Damn, nice work, as always. Will you break down the 2006 numbers, since the rosters have been announced? Not to be greedy.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:45 PM, May 18, 2006) : 

I think it would be interesting to see how many players went outside his confederation to play. Similar to your second list, except going from Ecuador to Argentina doesn't count. I imagine UEFA would dominate even more in this list than in your second list.

BTW, nice work.

 

Anonymous price per head services said ... (4:14 PM, January 26, 2013) : 

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