Technical performance during soccer matches of the Italian Serie A league: effect of fatigue and competitive level

J Sci Med Sport. 2009 Jan;12(1):227-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.10.002. Epub 2008 Feb 20.


The purpose of this study was to examine the changes in technical and physical performance between the first and second half during official matches of Italian Serie A league. Further aim was to compare the technical and physical performance of the players of the more successful teams (ranked in the first 5 positions) with the players of the less successful teams (ranked in the last 5 positions) from the same league. A total of 416 individual games from 186 soccer players (27+/-4 years, 76+/-5kg, and 181+/-5cm) were analysed using a video match-analysis system. The match performance parameters analysed were: total distance covered (TD), high-intensity running distance (HIR), very high-intensity running distance (VHIR), total distance with the ball (TDB), high-intensity running distance with the ball (HIRB), and very high-intensity running distance with the ball (VHIRB). The number of skill involvements was also measured. The players from the more successful teams covered greater TDB and HIRB and also had more involvements with the ball, completed more short passes, successful short passes, tackles, dribbling, shots and shots on target compared to the less successful teams (P<0.01). A significant decline (P<0.01) between the first and second half was found for both physical performance and some technical scores (involvements with the ball, short passes and successful short passes). This study showed a decline in technical and physical performance between the first and second half, and that both physical performance and technical skills were different between players from more successful and less successful teams.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Decision Making
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Video Recording
  • Young Adult