Offensive Difference Styles and Technical Situational Variables Between European and South American Elite Football Leagues




game, analysis, football, performance, attack style


We aimed to compare teams’ attack styles in Europe and South America elite football in the two most valued domestic leagues in both continents (Spanish La Liga & English Premier League in Europe, and Argentinian Superliga & Brazilian Série A in South America). For this purpose, we used a sample of 84 teams and 3,780 cases in 1,214 games. Using an observational tool, we analyzed performance indicators (goals, shots, dribbles, and passes) and attack situations. Effect size (ES) and non-clinical magnitude-based inference (MBI) were used to evaluate uncertainty. Results revealed that European teams scored more goals per game related to fast (ES = 0.35; likely MBI) and positional attack (ES = 0.36; likely MBI). In addition, teams from the European leagues spent more time playing in the opposition third zone of the pitch, performed a higher number of assists (ES = 0.38; likely MBI) and through-ball assists (ES = 0.46; likely MBI) than South American ones. Finally, South American teams made higher numbers of shots out of the box (ES = 1.52, almost certain MBI) and off-target shots (ES = 1.08; almost certain MBI), and they also spent more time playing in the middle third zone (ES = 1.65; almost certain MBI). No differences were identified in set-pieces goals, length passing, and aerial duels. These findings may provide information regarding attack style profiles from each continent league. Also, it could be highly beneficial for coaches to be able to continuously design the specific training situations of the offensive process.

Author Biographies

José María Izquierdo, Universidad de Valladolid

Department of Physical Education and Sports

Juan Carlos Redondo, Universidad de León

Department of Physical Education and Sports


Arruda Moura, F., Barreto Martins, L., De Oliveira Anido, R., Leite De Barros, R., & Cunha, S. (2012). Quantitative analysis of Brazilian football players' organisation on the pitch. Sports Biomechanic, 11(1), 85-96.

Brito, D., López Del Campo, R., Blanco-Pita, H., Resta, R., & Del Coso, J. (2019). An extensive comparative analysis of successful and unsuccessful football teams in LaLiga. Frontiers of Psychology, 10, 2566.

Castellano, J., & Casamichana, D. (2015). What are the differences between first and second divisions of Spanish football teams?. International Journal of Performance and Analysis in Sport, 15(1), 135-146.

Castellano, J., & Pic, M. (2019). Identification and Preference of Game Styles in LaLiga Associated with Match Outcomes. International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, 16(24), 5090.

Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20(1), 37-46.

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behaviors science (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Hillsdale.

Collet, C. (2013). The possession game? A comparative analysis of ball retention and team success in European and international football, 2007–2010. Journal of Sports Science, 31(2), 123-136.

de Vasconcellos, C., & Dimeo, P. (2009). The experience of migration for Brazilian football players. Sport in Society, 12(6), 725-736.

Gamonales, J., Gómez-Carmona, C., Córdoba-Caro, L., & Ibáñez, S. (2019). Influencia del perfil de entrenador en el diseño de las tareas en el fútbol. Estudio de caso. Journal of Sport and Health Research, 11(1), 69-82.

Gómez, M., Mitrotasios, M., Armatas, V., & Lago-Peñas, C. (2018). Analysis of playing styles according to team quality and match location in Greek professional soccer. Internation Journal of Performance and Analysis in Sport, 18(6), 986-997.

Gómez, M., Gómez-Lopez, M., Lago-Peñas, C., & Sampaio, J. (2012). Effects of game location and final outcome on game-related statistics in each zone of the pitch in professional football. European Journal of Sport Science, 12(5), 393-398.

Göral, K. (2015). Passing success percentages and ball possession rates of successful teams in 2014 FIFA World Cup. International Journal of Sport Culture and Science, 3(1), 86-95.

Hopkins, W. (2007). Spreadsheets for analysis of controlled trials with adjustment for a predictor. Sportscience, 11, 22-24.

Hopkins, W., Marshall, S., Batterham, A., & Hanin, J. (2009). Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(1), 3-12.

Hughes, M., & Franks, I. (2005). Analysis of passing sequences, shots and goals in soccer. Journal of Sports Science, 23(5), 509-514.

IFFHS (2019). The International Federation of Football History & Statistics. 2019 Ranking IFFHS.

Konefał, M., Chmura, P., Andrzejewski, M., Pukszta, D., & Chmura, J. (2015). Analysis of match performance of full-backs from selected European soccer leagues. Central of European Journal of Sports Sciences and Medicine, 11(3), 45–53.

Lago-Ballesteros, J., Lago-Peñas, C., & Rey, E. (2012). The effect of playing tactics and situational variables on achieving score-box possessions in a professional soccer team. Journal of Sports Science, 30(14), 1455-1461.

Littlewood, M., Mullen, C., & Richardson, D. (2011). Football labour migration: An examination of the player recruitment strategies of the ‘big five’European football leagues 2004–5 to 2008–9. Soccer & Society, 12(6), 788-805.

Liu, H., Yi, Q., Giménez, J., Gómez, M., & Lago-Peñas, C. (2015). Performance profiles of football teams in the UEFA Champions League considering situational efficiency. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 15(1), 371-390.

Mackenzie, R., & Cushion, C. (2013). Performance analysis in football: A critical review and implications for future research. Journal of Sports Science, 31(6), 639-676.

Maguire, J., & Pearton, R. (2000). The impact of elite labour migration on the identification, selection and development of European soccer players. Journal of Sports Science, 18(9), 759-769.

Mitrotasios, M., González-Ródenas, J., Armatas, V., & Aranda, R. (2019). The creation of goal scoring opportunities in professional soccer. Tactical differences between Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A. International Journal of Performance and Analysis in Sport, 19(3), 452–465.

Morgans, R., Adams, D., Mullen, R., Sacramento, J., McLellan, C., & Williams, M. (2015). A comparison of physical and technical match performance of a team competing in the English championship league and then the English Premier League following promotion. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 10(2-3), 543-549.

Oberstone, J. (2011). Comparing team performance of the English premier league, Serie A, and La Liga for the 2008-2009 season. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 7(1).

Redwood-Brown, A., O’Donoghue, P., Nevill, A., Saward, C., & Sunderland, C. (2019). Effects of playing position, pitch location, opposition ability and team ability on the technical performance of elite soccer players in different score line states. PloS one, 14(2).

Sainz de Baranda, P., Adán, L., García-Angulo, A., Gómez-López, M., Nikolic, B., & Ortega-Toro, E. (2019). Differences in the offensive and defensive actions of the goalkeepers at women’s FIFA World Cup 2011. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1-10, 223.

Sarmento, H., Anguera, T., Campaniço, J., & Leitão, J. (2010). Development and validation of a notational system to study the offensive process in football. Medicina, 46(6), 401.

Sarmento, H., Figueiredo, A., Lago-Peñas, C., Milanovic, Z., Barbosa, A., Tadeu, P., & Bradley, P. S. (2018). Influence of Tactical and Situational Variables on Offensive Sequences During Elite Football Matches. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(8), 2331-2339.

Sarmento, H., Pereira, A., Matos, N., Campaniço, J., Anguera, T., & Leitão, J. (2013). English Premier League, Spaińs La Liga and Italýs Seriés A–What’s Different?. International Journal of Performance and Analysis in Sport, 13(3), 773-789.

Smith, R., & Lyons, K. (2017). A strategic analysis of goals scored in open play in four FIFA World Cup football championships between 2002 and 2014. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 12(3), 398-403.

Tenga, A., Holme, I., Ronglan, L., & Bahr, R. (2010). Effects of match location on playing tactics for goal scoring in Norwegian professional soccer. Journal of Sport Behavior, 33(1), 89.

Tenga, A., Holme, I., Ronglan, L., & Bahr, R. (2010). Effect of playing tactics on achieving score-box possessions in a random series of team possessions from Norwegian professional soccer matches. Journal of Sport Science, 28(3), 245-255.

Tenga, A., Mortensholm, A., & O’Donoghue, P. (2017). Opposition interaction in creating penetration during match play in elite soccer: evidence from UEFA champions league matches. Internation Journal of Performance and Analysis in Sport, 17(5), 802-812. doi:

UEFA. (2019). Association club coefficients 2018/19. UEFA Ranking. Retrieved on May 16, 2022 from:

Varley, M., Gregson, W., McMillan, K., Bonanno, D., Stafford, K., Modonutti, M., & Di Salvo, V. (2017). Physical and technical performance of elite youth soccer players during international tournaments: influence of playing position and team success and opponent quality. Science and Medicine in Football, 1(1), 18-29.

Yang, G., Leicht, A., Lago, C., & Gómez, M. (2018). Key team physical and technical performance indicators indicative of team quality in the soccer Chinese super league. Research in Sports Medicine, 26(2), 158-167.

Yi, Q., Groom, R., Dai, C., Liu, H., & Gómez, M. A. (2019). Differences in Technical Performance of Players From ‘The Big Five’European Football Leagues in the UEFA Champions League. Frontiers of Psychology, 10.



How to Cite

Offensive Difference Styles and Technical Situational Variables Between European and South American Elite Football Leagues. (2022). MHSalud: Revista En Ciencias Del Movimiento Humano Y Salud, 19(2), 1-13.

How to Cite

Offensive Difference Styles and Technical Situational Variables Between European and South American Elite Football Leagues. (2022). MHSalud: Revista En Ciencias Del Movimiento Humano Y Salud, 19(2), 1-13.

Comentarios (ver términos de uso)

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >>