World Cup previews: France v Australia
Here’s what the Football Manager 2018 data has to say about the line-ups for this match. The explanation for this is here but in a nutshell I’ve treated the Football Manager database like a scouting tool and compared the two teams across a range of measures by combining their in-game attributes.
Here’s how the two teams stack up in terms of overall ability according to Football Manager’s researchers, i.e. the game’s hidden ‘current ability’ stat:
Unsurprisingly France’s talented team is ranked far more highly than their opponents, with Nabbout and Risdon looking to be Australia’s weak links. While goalkeeper and midfield look to be areas of relative strengths for Australia, you could say the same thing about France.
Something pretty fundamental to any analysis is where the goals might come from, so here’s a comparison based on the various game attributes that contribute to finishing skill:
Tom Rogic is perhaps Australia’s main threat, although the players either side of him in the midfield also look capable of getting on the scoresheet. France also has capable goalscorers in midfield should the forwards misfire.
This is a measure that I intend to get a lot of use out of because it’s not something that there’s a lot of public data for. Here I’ve combined (and weighted) the in-game attributes for pace and acceleration and mixed in some stuff on fitness and agility:
I couldn’t very well leave this one out given Kante’s ridiculous stats which, given the relative lack of mobility in the centre of Australia’s midfield, could be a real asset. The contest looks a lot more even out wide however, with Leckie looking particularly energetic for the underdogs.
The mental side of the game is also difficult to measure using “real life” match stats, and can often paint an interesting picture of who might be the strong and weak links in each team:
It looks as though the wide players on both teams may be more fragile than those in the centre, with Australia looking more vulnerable overall. Mile Jedinak, supported by Ryan and Milligan behind him, may need to lead by example to prevent France from over-running them.