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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Remember: Brazil Will Get A Shitload Of Fergie Time If It's Losing

Illustration for article titled Remember: Brazil Will Get A Shitload Of Fergie Time If It's Losing

Brazil are tied 1-1 in the second half against Croatia, and there is real danger of the home side dropping points. We ran down all the many ways that Brazil will have an advantage playing at home earlier today—culturally, by strength of schedule, and beyond—but given the situation, thought it was worth revisiting to focus on one of the more arcane legs up it holds.

"Fergie time" refers to stoppage time, and Manchester United getting an assload of it if it was behind, or a truncated extra spell if it was ahead, under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In 2012, BBC did a rundown of how this was per pronounced with Ferguson's Utd., but overall, the bias is toward large clubs in general. Which brings us to Brazil.


Here's a short bit from our excerpt of Chris Anderson and David Sally's book, The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong, which you can read in full below:

There is a growing consensus among scientists that the major source of home advantage is the referee and the other match officials. The numbers show that there is consistently more extra time added when any home team (not just Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson) is behind by a goal, and less is added when the home team is ahead by a single score. A clever study by the German economist Thomas Dohmen showed that social pressure from the crowd was partly responsible for this unconscious bias by the officials: In stadia in the German Bundesliga where the crowd is further back from the pitch because of a running track, there was less distortion of injury time in favor of the home team.

Well, the crowd is right up next to the pitch at Sao Paulo, and a team's profile doesn't get any larger than Brazil's. We've covered these studies some before , and the effects have been observed everywhere from soccer stadiums to the NFL. Not that Brazil are doing anything wrong—this is true of every host nation, and chances are we'll see fewer... peculiarities than we did in South Korea, for example.


Still, all of this is to say, you're going to have to play a supreme game for well more than 90 minutes to beat Brazil this year.

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