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Discussion Starter #1
This is interesting folks. I was reading through the recent issue of Four-Four-Two magazine and with it comes a fantastic World Cup Guide.

The World Cup guide lists every country and gives analysis on all of them. Portugal by the way looks very favourable according to Four-Four-Two. What struck me was this: the mag lists the population of each country and how many people are listed as players in each.

Portugal only has 3% of it's population listed as 'active footballers'. That's only 300,000 out of a population of 9.9 million. How does Portugal put out the talent that it does. The United States has 6.8% of it's population listed as 'active footballers' and that amounts to 265.5 million people or 18 million 'active footballers'.

Talk about doing with what you have! 300,000 vs 18.5 million!!!
What surprises me about all of this is that I was thinking all along the reason for Portugal's equisite football is that so many play the game. I was thinking atleast 30-40% of all men between the ages of 15-35 are active footballers. Apparently this IS NOT the case.

Portugal has less people playing football than almost all of the nations in the world cup. And I'm not even talking 'AMOUNT' of players but rather PERCENTAGE!! I would think Portugal being a very small country would have less players being 'active footballers' but PERCENTAGE wise I would never think more people take an active interest in the sport in the U.S, France, Brazil, Ireland, Germany, England, Argentina, Croatia, Italy, Mexico, Belgium, Equador, Uruguay and Sweden!!!

Percentage of Active footballers:

1.Croatia: 14.6%
2.Ecuador: 8.5%
3.Mexico: 8.1%
4.Germany: 7.7%
5.England: 7.1%
6.Italy: 7.0%
7.U.S.A: 6.8%
8.Sweden: 6.8%
9.Uruguay: 6.25%
10.Ireland: 5.55%
11.France: 5.17%
12.Belgium: 4.8%
13.Brazil: 4.48%
14.Argentina: 4.3%
15.Portugal: 3.0%
16.Turkey: 2.7%
17. Japan: 2.7%
18.Russia: 2.57%
19.Tunisia: 0.9%
20. Nigeria: .004%
21. Cameroon: .0005%

The question remains: what the hell does 'active players' mean anyhow?
 

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'active players' mean "players registered with their official futebol associations, recognized by Fifa, and that explaines why for example portugal or brazil has a low rate... you can play in the park all your life but if you don't register you will not count.
 

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Without getting all misty-eyed, it's the passion for the game that makes the average Portuguese player worth 20 from other countries. (How's that for an objective appraisal)?

I remember watching kids play on the beach there last summer. The average 7 year old there has skills that 15 year olds here would be happy with. Just the other day I watched some games at the local community field, (I live in a tony area of Toronto), and the way most kids were kicking at the ball you could just see they were playing soccer, but thinking hockey.

In Portugal there's a 'feel' for the game you don't see too many other places.

By the way, for you Toronto residents, have you heard anything about the U.S. game being broadcast in Earlescourt Park on St.Clair? Apparenty, they're going to be putting up some big screens and making a party of it starting at 4:00 a.m. That's nuts, but if the weather's good, I may be nuts too.
 

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I too will be on the streets of Toronto and let me tell you: I WILL carry a beer in my hand and will be wearing my best pair of runners as well!

Local politicians have voted against extended last call for the World Cup. They've done it for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Canada Cup, World Hockey Championships, World Series, but they won't do it for Soccer. I have one word for ya: DISCRIMINATION!

They know very well us chops are going to be drinking the night away and I'm PROUD of that. And I'm NOT a drinker. Not at all. I normally have about a drink a month. Or less. For them to deny JUST this is a friggin' disgrace!! They have completely ignored how important the WC is for the ethnic community because this has nothing to do with fostering Canadiana.:D Canadiana? Did I say that? What a joke!:D

Their are 450,000 Portuguese in Canada, about a 1 million Italians, 20,000 Ecuadorians, 550,000 Chinese, 20 million people of Irish, English, German descent, etc...you see my point.
 

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Soccer skills is as natural to us as casting a fishing net or stomping grapes - unfortunately, with only a pool of less then ten million (less than half being male) our only downfall is that we have a limited pool of athletically elite individuals to mingle those two necessarry elements, as opposed to a larger country who may not be as gifted in skill but has much bigger pool of athletically gifted individuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm guessing most chops just play football for the fun of it and those that stick out are already on squads by the time they're 2 years old.
 

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If Portugal had the Population of Brazil we would have won the wc all the time!
Football would be really boring then!
:D
 

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Also we need to factor in that Iberians (Portuguese and Spaniards) are generally very adapt at running long distances. I recently read a Reuters article that mentioned numerous studies about how genetics can play a role in athletic ability.

For instance, because of the strength that the northern Europeans are known for they would naturally do well at sports that require brute strength. Ever notice the 'Strongest Men in the World' competitions? Northern Europeans make up for 90% of all participants.

The same article went further and stated that Iberians tend to be the only Europeans that can win long distance marathons. It says this is do to the fact that original Iberians were not 'white Europeans' but northern and east Africans. Mainly of Libyan but also of eastern African stock. And if you notice most of these people tend to win a lot of marathons. The article also added that Iberians tend to do well with sports that require stamina (such as sex: just kidding!) such as soccer. This was followed by a successive wave of other non-Europeans assimilating. These northern and eastern Africans tend to run long distances with ease. Lisbon alone absored 40-60,000 black western Africans (or 10% of the population at the time circa 1490-1550) which tend to do very well at vigourous short distance running.

So maybe Portugal has a slight advantage there but that's very slight. It may make up for the fact that although we don't produce enough naturally gifted athletes such as Carl Lewis and Muhammed Ali, it does tend to produce Rosa Mota's and Carlos' what's his name?
 

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Fee-Go said:


So maybe Portugal has a slight advantage there but that's very slight. It may make up for the fact that although we don't produce enough naturally gifted athletes such as Carl Lewis and Muhammed Ali, it does tend to produce Rosa Mota's and Carlos' what's his name?
Lopes. Carlos Lopes.
 

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Fee-Go said:
Also we need to factor in that Iberians (Portuguese and Spaniards) are generally very adapt at running long distances. I recently read a Reuters article that mentioned numerous studies about how genetics can play a role in athletic ability.

For instance, because of the strength that the northern Europeans are known for they would naturally do well at sports that require brute strength. Ever notice the 'Strongest Men in the World' competitions? Northern Europeans make up for 90% of all participants.

The same article went further and stated that Iberians tend to be the only Europeans that can win long distance marathons. It says this is do to the fact that original Iberians were not 'white Europeans' but northern and east Africans. Mainly of Libyan but also of eastern African stock. And if you notice most of these people tend to win a lot of marathons. The article also added that Iberians tend to do well with sports that require stamina (such as sex: just kidding!) such as soccer. This was followed by a successive wave of other non-Europeans assimilating. These northern and eastern Africans tend to run long distances with ease. Lisbon alone absored 40-60,000 black western Africans (or 10% of the population at the time circa 1490-1550) which tend to do very well at vigourous short distance running.

So maybe Portugal has a slight advantage there but that's very slight. It may make up for the fact that although we don't produce enough naturally gifted athletes such as Carl Lewis and Muhammed Ali, it does tend to produce Rosa Mota's and Carlos' what's his name?
Ah man, what a crock article that must have been. "Genetics" as you've described it, has nothing to do with it. Have we forgotten about all the Eastern European Distance runners. Have we forgotten that Brazillians are not known for their long distance running and yet they excell at futebol. And as far as strength is concerned the World's Strongest Man competition is no where near the baromoter.

In fact I'd would take the olympics where a guy either from Bulgaria or Azerbaijan, dead lifted something like 5 times his weight. Now that is strength.


The reason we are able to develop good soccer players, are the soccer programs that the FPF has installed to develop them, particularly from the mid 80's on. Outside of France, the model for player development, Portugal is the best country at it. And the reason is because of the resources thrown at it as a result of the the EU.

Genetics has nothing to do with it!
 

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I disagree - It's obvious that Sardines have a particular soccer enzyme that makes us as great as we are at dribbling a soccer ball. However, it is also obvious that neither Sardines nor Carapau have scoring enzymes based ont he fact that until recently we couldn't find decent strikers.
 

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Pila said:
I disagree - It's obvious that Sardines have a particular soccer enzyme that makes us as great as we are at dribbling a soccer ball. However, it is also obvious that neither Sardines nor Carapau have scoring enzymes based ont he fact that until recently we couldn't find decent strikers.
That's because strikers are forged out of Steak and beans.
 

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RedEagle said:


That's because strikers are forged out of Steak and beans.
let's hope that Pauleta and Nuno Gomes don't eat British beef.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
RedEagle said:

Genetics has nothing to do with it!
Maybe so. But I should have been more specific. The article was focussing mainly on muscle fibres. Particularly 'slow' and 'fast' but also 'short' and 'long' muscle fibres.

This argument has nothing to do with a 'skill' in sport. It has to do with physical attributes and how it may help or hinder a particular region of the world from doing 'as well' as peoples from another region of the world.

A quick example is this: you will rarely find a western African who will win a 100 mile marathon. But you will find many east Africans that do. The article argues this has to do with the muscle mass, fibres, and that peoples in this region tend to have. Training programs help too I guess!:D
 

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"Ethnic" stereotyping especially to how it applies to futebol is ludicruous.The article is a crock. Anyone who's taken a biology course knows that although genetics predisposes your body to certain qualities, that it can be overcome by other factors.

East Africans are winning marathons simply because they have set their minds to it. It is an honor in Kenya or Ethiopia to be a champion runner. Thus they draw from a wide pool of athletes who learn to run at various altitudes and terrains at an early age. They're not physically more equipped than anyone else.
They just set running as a priority and are succeeding at it.

The same as Portugal with futebol, with the exception that creating great runners is a lot cheaper than creating great futebol players. THey made it a priority, invested heavily on it, and the results are showing.

Holland, for example did it very successfully.

A country like Paraguay is doing it very successfully.
 

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Both of you make valid points - for instance, there's a very credible study on genetics (can't remember it now) but basically it found that Africans have a greater degree of "twitch" muscles than say a north European. Twitch muscles are the small muscle fibers in your hamstrings that initiate "burst" or "acceleration" - thus quickness. In general, the study found that Northern Europeans had bigger upper body muscle mass than say Africans. These genetic attributes are just like skin pigmentation, or hair texture - it's simply a gene character. However, as the study showed, these are only minor factors in the overall scheme of your entire genetic make up. As RedEagle mentioned, dedication and commitment plays a much more important part in the final product of any given sport.

It was also important to note that genetic pools have, in large part, co-mingled inter ethnically to a significant degree in present day demographics, effectively minimizing the ethnical genetic uniqueness of the past.
 

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Pila, first of all thank you for correcting my 'twich'.:D I had a feeling I was wrong about the spelling. Also, I agree with your assessment.

And Red, I don't mean to sterotype. It wasn't my intention. But sometimes biology arguments, especially genetic ones due often lend itself to stereotypes.

But I like to think that Acoreanos are genetically prone to being mental cases. This may not be scientific fact but I think it's true. And people who support Porto...I'll leave that to someone else.:D
 

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I myself will be walking along St Clair celebrating Portugal's great achievements during the world cup...as i know they will do me proud...especially if they do better than italy and i get to stick it to my wife's family....
 
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