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Testing the Validity of Match Analysis to describe Playing Styles in Football

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Purpose: To test the validity of match analysis by comparing its results with pre-established findings on playing styles.

Methods: Single-match case design and combination of quantitative analysis and qualitative evaluation were used in this study. Kappa measure of agreement (κ) was used in reliability testing before the present study. Alpha level of .01 or less was considered statistically significant.

Results: Overall results show a difference in attacking styles (p < .0001) and a similarity in defending styles (p = .59) of Norway and Brazil. Further, indirect attacking strategies managed to distinguish the attacking styles of Norway and Brazil (p < .01). No difference was found between the effects of playing with highversus low-pressure tactic, either in attack (p = .03) or defence (p = .15). Nevertheless, results of single variables registered clear tendencies that indicate agreement with pre-established observations. Interestingly, no difference was found between attacking strategies employed by Norway and Brazil during effective periods of the match, while the difference was found in indirect attacking strategies (p < .01) during less effective periods.

Conclusions: Results of match analysis indicate overwhelming agreement with pre-established findings. The introduced method is therefore considered valid for describing playing styles in football.
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