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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2000 Jun;40(2):162-9.

Investigation of anthropometric and work-rate profiles of elite South American international soccer players.

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Unisport, Centro de Evaluacion y Orientacion, Fisica-Deportiva, Montevideo, Uruguay.



The aim of the current investigation was to determine the movement profiles of elite South American soccer players during international competition and examine the relationship between anthropometric profile and work-rate variables.


Seventeen full-time professional soccer players were filmed while competing for their countries. Anthropometric profiles were obtained for eleven of these players. Six full-time professional players from the English Premier League were also filmed for comparative purposes.


The South American international players covered significantly less (p<0.05) total distance during match-play than English Premier League players (International, 8638+/-1158 m; English Premier League, 10104+/-703 m). The total distance covered during the second half of the game was significantly reduced (p<0.05) compared to the first half distance for both groups of players (mean+/-SD first half 4605+/-625 m; mean+/-SD second half 4415+/-634 m). The data for both groups of players were combined to evaluate positional differences in the workrate profile. Midfield players covered a significantly greater (p<0.05) distance than forward players (midfield, 9826+/-1031 m; forwards, 7736+/-929 m) and defenders covered a greater (p<0.05) distance jogging backwards than forward players (defenders, 276+/-155 m; forwards, 68+/-25 m). Forwards sprinted a greater distance (p<0.05) than defensive players (defenders, 231+/-142 m; forwards, 557+/-142 m). Mean somatotype was a balanced mesomorph (2-5 1/2-2). Body mass and muscle mass was related to the total distance covered (r=0.43, r=0.53, p<0.05).


Based on these data, it seems that an individual's work-rate profile is dependent upon the type of competition and the playing position. Relationships between anthropometric profile and work-rate are complex due to the interaction between the variables that determine work-rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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