Previously, we have examined the impact of age effects in football. An extensive literature has been built up in this area over the past number of years, with a growing number of people aware of the impact age can have on performance, from underage to adult football. With the World Cup just days away I thought it timely to examine the age of all 32 provisional squads travelling to Brazil. This analysis covers 736 players from the competing countries. Between them they have amassed a total of 24,500
The oldest player currently going to Brazil is 42 year old Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón. The Deportivo Cali stopper is 24 years older than Fabrice Olinga (Cameroon) and England’s Luke Shaw, both of whom are 18 years of age.
So what does that mean for the 32 countries heading to Brazil? The table below takes a closer look.
Just to dig a little deeper, the final table (below) only considers the 18 most capped players in each squad. As we don’t know who will line out, and because some younger players (with very few caps) may not play at all, we might get a closer estimate of the average age of each starting eleven by considering the most capped players. The assumption is that these are most likely to play. This isn’t a perfect measure but will have to do for now.
Only time will tell.