With an approximate area of almost 77,000 square feet, there’s plenty of room to run on a soccer field.
When it comes to the World Cup, some players set out to cover every inch of it.
This year, athletes from 32 countries lace up their cleated shoes and race through the newly built stadiums in Qatar. Using information from past competitions, it won’t be long before certain stars break marathon distances throughout the tournament.
How far do soccer players go during a game? And how is this data even available?
Let’s go through some facts:
How far do the players run in a soccer game?
Soccer players accumulate miles over the course of a game. On average, at the highest levels of the game, a player can exceed a total of five miles and even dwarf nine.
Which player ran the most at the World Cup?
Ivan Perišić covered the most distances at the 2018 World Championships.
The Croatia winger covered 45.08 miles during the event, according to FIFA data. He was followed by teammates Ivan Rakitić (45.07 miles) and Luka Modrić (44.93 miles) for the longest distance run during the tournament. The more than 45 miles from Perišić is almost enough to traverse Qatar from east to west.
It’s no surprise that three Croatian starters topped the list in 2018. Not only did the team reach the World Cup Finals, but the first three elimination round matches required overtime every 30 minutes, with two of those matches ending in penalties.
The 2014 World Cup was obviously a faster-paced competition. Germany’s Thomas Müller led this competition with a total distance of 52.2 miles over seven games. Like Croatia, Germany made it to the World Cup final this year.
How fast do footballers run?
The world’s fastest soccer players can exceed 20 miles per hour.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Croatia’s Ante Rebić set the fastest sprint speeds of the 2018 World Cup at 21.13mph. Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger topped the charts in the Premier League last season with a maximum sprint speed of 22.82mph ( h/t Sky Sports). For comparison, the Indianapolis Colts’ Jonathan Taylor had the fastest ball-carrier speed of any NFL player last year at 22.13 mph.
How is running distance measured in soccer?
Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS) are among the tools FIFA has researched to measure player distance and ball tracking.
In the case of the Premier League’s top teams, they take it a step further. Arsenal and Liverpool are among the teams that have used missile tracking technology to track player movements.
Sportloqic has developed its own data collection system. The company, best known for its ice hockey analytics, trained a computer vision-powered AI machine to calculate player numbers.
FIFA announced in September that during the 2022 World Cup, players will receive insights into physical performance metrics, improved football data metrics and improved football intelligence metrics via the FIFA Players app.
Is soccer the sport with the most runs?
Soccer players run a lot more than athletes in other major professional sports leagues.
Fred VanVleet, Dejounte Murray and Tyrese Maxey were among the top NBA players of 2021-22, and none of them surpassed an average of more than three miles per game. However, football games are almost twice as long as NBA games, and NBA players do not play the entire competition. Taking VanVleet’s average distance (2.82 miles per game) and playing time (37.9 minutes per game) and splitting it over 90 minutes, the figure comes out to 6.7 miles, exactly how much a soccer player covers in one game .
In the NFL, wide receivers and cornerbacks cover most of the ground, but they run about 1.25 miles per game.
When it comes to baseball, it would take 15 homers to run a mile on the bases. Of course there’s running when it comes to fielding, but the total distance covered in an MLB game pales in comparison to any football game.