Copa America : Notes – now do it again

It was a day of amazing goals – and while the windy city was enthralled by Messi, the goal of the day was actually scored by Campos, the midfielder for Bolivia. His shot was from 38m with a narrow 43 degree angle to the goalmouth – 6m further out and 7 degrees narrower angle than Messi’s free kick second goal. So why do these shots go in? And why is Messi worth €120M while Campos is worth €500k according to transfermarkt?


  1. The probability of shots like Campos’s and Messi’s going in are in the 1-2% range.  More often than not, they are blocked by the defense, go off target or are saved easily by the goalkeeper. Everybody drills it but what really counts is where it ends up in net. Most goalkeepers that play at this level will only get beat in the corners – take a look at Claudio Bravo below:
Claudio Bravo Chile
Data provided by Opta

Bravo gets beat more often to his right – see the orange and yellow – those are the zones he tends to get beaten


Campos and Messi both found the corners on well struck balls with a significant curve on them.


Campos’s goal:

Messi’s goal:



  1. So why the disparity in value for Campos and Messi? The simple answer is consistency. Look at the three Messi goals:


Red dots are goals, blue are saves. The two red dots on the left below, and the third red dot on the top right below are Messi’s goals. Right against the post – in the hardest parts of the net for a goalkeeper to save.

Panama Goalkeeper
Data provided by Opta



Which results in this:

image013 image014 image015


Messi does this over and over – putting the ball in the hardest part of the net – we measure finishing by looking at where the ball crosses the line or is saved – and use that in our assessment of goalkeeping and finishing. But that’s for another day. It’s that consistency day in and day out that make him one of the most valuable players in the world.


  1. 10 man Panama struggled to keep possession and clear the ball – the chart below shows where Panama possessions end – so many of Argentina’s opportunities came from Panama turnovers in their back third – one of the key metrics we look at in possession rather than number of passes or time of possession:


Panama going from left to right – see the bright blob just outside the box for panama – those turnovers really hurt them.

Panama Possession
Data provided by Opta
  1. Predictions for today:
Team - Colombia v Costa Rica
Data provided by Opta
Team - USA v Paraguay
Data provided by Opta



A tough game for the US, but a chance to advance with a win – along with Colombia who are already through. Assuming the US takes care of business, they will face the winner of Brazil v. Peru tomorrow.