Parallel World Of Data Science & FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is often touted as the ‘greatest show on earth’. The simple reason being the universal appeal of football. It is played and followed by people from almost all countries in this world.
It all started in 1930, in Uruguay, in a tournament the big European nations didn’t bother about. In turn, some of the Latin American nations didn’t take the long journey to Europe for the next two editions.
After the World War, things changed.
It started becoming the ‘World Cup’ since the 1950 tournament, and in another two or three editions, it became the global event it is today.
With the advent of technology and global reach, the tournament got the wide and extensive coverage it deserved.

As we entered the 1990s, the Berlin Wall was gone, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were disintegrated, and Europe changed forever.
Club football, especially in Europe, too changed forever in the early 1990s.
A Champion’s League began, a Premier League in England took away much of the glamour the Italian Serie A enjoyed before and the clubs earlier behind the Iron Curtain began losing their grip on European football.

Parallelly, a data revolution began in many countries in the world. It was in its nascent stage but the seeds were sown for a huge upheaval.
As we entered the 21st century, there was a massive development in the data front. Storing data became cheaper and hence the urge to gather and store more of it became of paramount importance.

Sports, in general, understood that there is a chance to be a part of this data revolution. Already the money injected into and generated from sports was beyond any conceivable ceiling that was ever there.
Given the appeal and size of the market, the marriage between sports and data was just a matter of time.

American sports (Baseball, followed by others) took the plunge. And it generated results in no time!
Data has shown the way in team selection, injury management, one to one matchup and even helped understand certain technical aspects.
The teams that had faith in data reaped tangible benefits, and it showed that the influence of data science on sports was here to stay.

Football, being the number one global game, followed suit.
As the ownership of clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain changed hands, the money football began enjoying was almost beyond belief.
And it paved the way for cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated usage of data.
The technical areas of the teams began expanding in no time, with them carrying more staff than players.

International football, too, was not far behind. European nations like Germany and Spain understood the value of investing in data.
And the greatest stage to use it was surely the World Cup.

(to be continued)

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