Influence of Match Location, Quality of Opponents, and Match Status on Movement Patterns in Brazilian Professional Football Players

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Aquino, R, Munhoz Martins, GH, Palucci Vieira, LH, and Menezes, RP. Influence of match location, quality of opponents and match status on movement patterns in brazilian professional football players. J Strength Cond Res 31(8): 2155–2161, 2017—The aim of this study was to examine the independent and interactive effects of match location, quality of opponents, and match status on the movement patterns in a professional Brazilian football team. Sixteen matches of the fourth division Brazilian Championship of 2015 were analyzed during the competitive stages (classifier, 8 matches; octave-finals, 2 matches; quarterfinals, 2 matches; semifinals, 2 matches; and finals, 2 matches). A 5-Hz Global Positioning System Sports QSTARZ was used to record the total distance (TD), maximum speed (VMAX), average speed (VAVERAGE), and frequency of high-intensity activities (HIA). The Student's t-test for independent samples showed significantly higher values (p ≤ 0.05) of VMAX, VAVERAGE, and HIA in home matches when compared with away matches. Comparing the quality of opponents, statistically higher values of TD, VMAX, and HIA were found when the team played against strong opponents. Regarding match status, 1-way analysis of variance demonstrated that when the team won presented significantly higher values of TD, VMAX, VAVERAGE, and HIA compared with matches when the team lost. There were no substantial interactive effects of match situational variables on movement patterns. Finally, multiple linear regression showed that the variable quality of opponents has a higher relative contribution to the variance in HIA (19%) than match status (16%) and match location (4%). In particular, the results indicate that physical performance in professional football is influenced by match situational variables, resulting in a change in the team's style of play.

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