When I was asked for my tips ahead of the 2014 FIFA men’s football World Cup finals, I put on record that I hoped that Germany would reign supreme (Ordway, 2014). I appreciate that it is not very patriotic for an Australian to not only acknowledge that our team was the lowest ranked coming into the tournament, and to also propose a novel rationale for supporting Germany ahead of other favoured contenders. Going into the final, Germany had earned a FIFA ranking of number 2, undoubtedly assisted by having one of the best national premier leagues in the world, so they represent a solid pick. However, football skills are only one factor to consider when determining a tournament-winning formula. The predictor methodologies outlined by University of Canberra Adjunct Professor Lyons in his The Conversation articles (Lyons, 2014a, 2014b), are compelling. This analysis, however, assumes that all matches are played to the highest standard, and all athletes play to the best of their ability. Purist performance analysis does not take into account that teams may deliberately ‘throw’ matches to assist their progression through the tournament (tanking2), or deliberately fix elements of the match (e.g., red cards, penalties) or otherwise the overall outcome of the match. My prediction, therefore, was not based on any hard quantitative analysis of performance, but rather, on my understanding of the German approach to corruption, and match-fixing particularly. The question is whether this vigilant, zero tolerance approach to match-fixing translates into a culture of integrity in German sport and the national football team.
|Number of pages||8|
|Specialist publication||Sport & EU Review|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2014|