01 June 2010

World Cup Squads Say EPL is Tops

Thanks to an analysis at football-rankings.info, here are the numbers of players from various domestic leagues who were present on provisional squads for national teams in the World Cup:

1 England 139
2 Germany 94
3 Italy 93
4 Spain 74
5 France 58
6 Netherlands 47
7 Japan 34
8 Greece 33
9 Mexico 25
10 Portugal 23
11 South Africa 21
12 Honduras 20
12 Korea DPR 20
14 Argentina 19
15 Korea Republic 18
16 Russia 16
16 Switzerland 16
18 Turkey 15
19 Chile 14
19 Denmark 14
21 New Zealand 13
22 Scotland 12
22 USA 12
24 Belgium 10
25 Algeria 8
25 Brazil 8

If you are curious as to which clubs have the most plays on the provisional squads, here is that info:
17 - Chelsea
14 - Barcelona
12 - Liverpool, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid
11 - Ajax, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur
10 - Inter
9 - AC Milan, Everton, Udinese, Wolfsburg
8 - AZ Alkmaar, Basel, Manchester City, Twente Enschede, Valencia, VfB Stuttgart
7 - April 25, Benfica, Hamburger SV, Lyon, Manchester Utd., Marseille, Portsmouth, PSV Eindhoven, Rennes, Villarreal, West Ham Utd.


  1. There are 30 players in each squad, so only 8 countries are net importers.

    Brazil, the most successful World Cup team in history, is the biggest exporter of the lot.

    Ain't statistics fun?

  2. Interesting that ManU is down on the list, really a British club and not that international.

    One of our students has just done a media analysis of the language used in reporting of domestic/foreign players in the English Premiership. It turns out that the virtues (consistency, hard-working, etc) are more frequently associated with British players. Non-British players (and Black British players) are seen as morally and intellectually inferior, albeit stronger physically.

  3. In which league does the club April 25 play?

  4. Reiner Grundmann

    I have followed Alex Ferguson's career since 1976. He is an incredible character and manager, but he has a weakness, which is to believe he must develop his own players from under the age of 21 (that he seems to have returned to). Many united foreign players are too young to be internationals. Perhaps they are short of transfer funds despite the denials.

    I think your student's analysis of characteristics is missing the fundamental quality of skill that is associated, particularly with players of African origin. Hard work etc. is in the tradition of British football.

    That said, English sports reporting has always had such stereotypical elements. Cheating for example has often been ascribed to Johnny Foreigner, often Germans, not just Italians and Argentinians.

  5. This higlights the huge gap between the top leagues/clubs and the weaker countries in this world cup.

    This world cup is not nearly as competitive and of a higher standard as it should be. That needs to be addressed by FIFA.

  6. The economics is interesting. The Bundesliga, with the exception of Bayern Munich, has avoided the bidding wars that impoverish the English, Spanish and Italian clubs.

  7. Can you take that first list and provide percentages of how many are/aren't citizens of that country?

    That might clarify the 'net importers' point that David raises. Beyond that I'd be interested to see how many are within the region where the country is located (e.g. staying within the EU has privileges here...would be interesting to also then consider if 'net importers' along these two dimensions are useful indicators of league strength (and/or associations with monied clubs).

    For example, I'd guess that most of the 20 in Honduras are Hondurans, and the rest are made up of Salvadorans, Costa Ricans and other Central American players. However, England has a number of players outside the EU.