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2014 FIFA World Cup™: The Players series – I. Where their club is based (home/abroad & top countries) infographic

13 June, 2014

Infographic with facts and figures about the players of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™

Click on the image to enlarge it

The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ has just started and we present a series of infographics related to the 736 footballers of the 32 national World Cup teams.

The first one, published today, examines where the players club is based (in or away from the nation they represent).

From the graphs on the top we see that there is a tendency in the top-class World Cup participants to play for a club that is away from their own country.

On average from the 23 players who make each national team only 8 (8.1 to be precise) play in home clubs; in other words about 2 out of every 3 participants (477 players out of the 736 in total) play in a club abroad.

Leaders of this kind of ‘immigration’ are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Uruguay which have only one footballer playing in a club belonging to their national leagues. Ghana has members playing in clubs in 3 different continents (Europe, Asia, Africa) and 13 different countries: France (5 players), Italy (5), Russia (2), South Africa (2), Belgium (1), England (1), Germany (1), Greece (1), Netherlands (1), Norway (1), Tunisia (1) United Arab Emirates (1) and home Ghana (1)!

At the other end of the spectrum is Russia, the only national team participating in the World Cup 2014 with all its members playing in clubs based in their own country. The English squad has only one member playing in a non-domestic club: it’s goalkeeper Fraser Foster who plays in Celtic FC, in the nearby Scotland.

It does make sense as the English leagues (mainly the Premier League) are the most attractive among the World Cup participants: 120, almost one in six, play there. Other dominant leagues are the Italian (82 representatives), the German (77), the Spanish (64) and the French (45).

On the next graphic (the one with the coloured disks) some interesting trends can be found. E.g. almost half (11/23) of the Belgian team play in English leagues; it’s quite similar for the French: (10/23). The Swiss prefer the German league (9 out of 23 play for clubs in Germany).

FC Bayern Munich (Germany) and Manchester United FC (England) are the most dominant clubs in Brazil’s World Cup with 14 representatives each; however, it’s not only the Premier League (in England) that attracts international footballers: 11 of them play in the Football League Championship (2nd highest division) and two (Australia’s Bailey Wright and Massimo Luongo) in League One (3rd highest division).

In total, more than ¾ of the World Cup footballers play in a European club (that’s 76% of the total or 560 out of 736 footballers). This is not exactly a wonder considering that 13 out of the 32 participating nations are European.

There is a similar article on FIFA’s website titled “The squads in numbers“; any differences in figures are perhaps because of the following:

  • in our data we have taken into account most of the last-minute changes of the composition of the squads (due to injuries) up to the kicking-off day (12 June)
  • we have included players of Welsh clubs (Cardiff City FC, Swansea City AFC) in England (as their teams participate in the English Premier League)
  • if a player has played in the season that just ended (2013-2014) on loan from his ‘mother’ team, we count as his team the one he actually played with (not the one he ‘belongs’ to)

Well, enjoy the World Cup and visit this blog soon as we plan to publish more infographics on this series!

FIFA The Official Website of the FIFA World Cup™
BBC BBC – 2014 Fifa World Cup (Teams)

Many thanks to Adela Pickles (LinkedIn page) and Shena Aitkenhead for their suggestions and feedback.

If you found this post interesting, why not have a look at our posts about:
The History of the Football World Cup Finals (1930-2006) infographic
World Cup Finals 2010: the Group Stage – an infograph
World Cup 2010: Representation of the Continents (infographic)
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