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Niels van Quaquebeke and Steffen R. Giessner

Many fouls committed in football (called soccer in some countries) are ambiguous, and there is no objective way of determining who is the “true” perpetrator or the “true” victim. Consequently, fans as well as referees often rely on a variety of decision cues when judging such foul situations. Based on embodiment research, which links perceptions of height to concepts of strength, power, and aggression, we argue that height is going to be one of the decision cues used. As a result, people are more likely to attribute a foul in an ambiguous tackle situation to the taller of two players. We find consistent support for our hypothesis, not only in field data spanning the last seven UEFA Champions League and German Bundesliga seasons, as well as the last three FIFA World Cups, but also in two experimental studies. The resulting dilemma for refereeing in practice is discussed.

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Ryland Morgans, Adam Owen, Dominic Doran, Barry Drust and James P. Morton

Purpose:

To monitor resting salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) levels in international soccer players during the short-term training period that precedes international match play.

Methods:

In a repeated-measure design, saliva samples were obtained from 13 outfield soccer players who participated in the training camps preceding 7 games (5 home and 2 away) of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. Samples were obtained daily for 4 d preceding each game (and analyzed for SIgA using the IPRO oral-fluid-collection system) at match day minus 1 (MD-1), minus 2 (MD-2), minus 3 (MD-3), and minus 4 (MD-4).

Results:

SIgA displayed a progressive decline (P = .01) during the 4-d training period (MD-4, 365 ± 127 μg/mL; MD-3, 348 ± 154 μg/mL; MD-2, 290 ± 138 μg/mL; MD-1, 256 ± 90 μg/mL) such that MD-1 values were significantly lower (P = .01) than both MD-4 and MD-3. The 95% confidence intervals for the differences between MD-1 and MD-4 were –191 to –26 and between MD-1 and MD-3 were –155 to –28.

Conclusions:

Data demonstrate that a short-term soccer-training camp in preparation for international competition induces detectable perturbations to mucosal immunity. Future studies should monitor SIgA (as a practical and noninvasive measure of immunity) alongside internal and external measures of training load in an attempt to strategically individualize training and nutritional strategies that may support optimal preparation for high-level competition.

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Carlo Castagna, Mario Bizzini, Susana Cristina Araújo Póvoas and Stefano D’Ottavio

Purpose:

To examine the effect of recall timing on training-session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) in a population of athletes well familiarized with the method and procedures during a 5-d training microcycle.

Methods:

Fifty-one top-class field referees (FRs) (age 38.4 ± 3.3 y, height 181 ± 5.6 cm, body mass 76.8 ± 6.8 kg, body-mass index 23.4 ± 1.7 kg/m2, body fat 20.4% ± 3.6%, international refereeing experience 5 ± 3.5 y) from 43 national football associations worldwide, preselected by the FIFA refereeing department for officiating during the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil, volunteered for this study. The FRs were randomly allocated into 3 assessment groups (n = 17 each), defined according to the timing of the sRPE, ie, immediately at the end of or 30 min or 7 h after the training sessions’ end. The CR10 Borg scale was used to rate the training sessions (n = 5). All FRs again rated each training session of the 5-d training microcycle on the next morning (~20 h after) for confirmation (absolute and relative reliability).

Results:

No significant timing effect was found between or within groups. Relative reliability ranged from large to very large with trivial within- and between-groups differences.

Conclusions:

This study showed no effect of recall timing on postexercise RPE when well-familiarized athletes are submitted to training during a weekly microcycle. Posttraining RPE was reported to be a reliable subjective measure; however, specific timing is advisable to reduce difference in RPE values.

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Matthew Weston, Warren Gregson, Carlo Castagna, Simon Breivik, Franco M. Impellizzeri and Ric J. Lovell

Athlete case studies have often focused on the training outcome and not the training process. Consequently, there is a dearth of information detailing longitudinal training protocols, yet it is the combined assessment of both outcome and process that enhances the interpretation of physical test data. We were provided with a unique opportunity to assess the training load, physical match performance, and physiological fitness of an elite soccer referee from the referee’s final season before attaining full-time, professional status (2002) until the season when he refereed the 2010 UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup finals. An increased focus on on-field speed and gym-based strength training was observed toward the end of the study period and longitudinal match data showed a tendency for decreased total distances but an increased intensity of movements. Laboratory assessments demonstrated that VO2max remained stable (52.3 vs 50.8 mL-kg–1-min–1), whereas running speed at the lactate threshold (14.0 vs 12.0 km-h-1) and running economy (37.3 vs 43.4 mLkg–1min–1) both improved in 2010 compared with 2002.

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Iñigo Mujika

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is around the corner. The event that lovers of The Beautiful Game—or o jogo bonito as they would say in Brazil—have been patiently waiting for kick-off mid-June, and passionate fans from all over the world will turn their attention to the football stadiums of Russia. A

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Renate M. Leithäuser

performances and victory in 2 consecutive championships is a complicated and difficult mission to accomplish. The surprise results in the early phase of the FIFA World Cup indicate that something like the “special rules of a tournament” or the “own the dynamics of a tournament” actually exists. However, it is

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Andressa Silva, Fernanda V. Narciso, Igor Soalheiro, Fernanda Viegas, Luísa S.N. Freitas, Adriano Lima, Bruno A. Leite, Haroldo C. Aleixo, Rob Duffield and Marco T. de Mello

international competitions in a period of 4 years and registered 88.7 injuries every 1000 hours of gameplay. Furthermore, 104 injuries were recorded in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, equivalent to 50.8 injuries every 1000 hours of gameplay. 13 It is concerning when poor recovery may be a contributing factor in

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Jacinta M. Saldaris, Grant J. Landers and Brendan S. Lay

world cup’ s challenge for referee decision making ? J Athl Train . 2016 ; 51 ( 3 ): 264 – 266 . doi:10.4085/1062-6050-51.3.04 10.4085/1062-6050-51.3.04 2. Vestberg T , Gustafson R , Maurex L , Ingvar M , Petrovic P . Executive functions predict the success of top-soccer players . PLoS

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Daniel Bok and Igor Jukić

-018-0935-z 13. FIFA . Player statistics . 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/round=255931/match=300186453/index.html . Accessed July 1, 2019. 14. Maud PJ , Foster C , eds. Physiological Assessment of Human Fitness . 2nd ed. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics ; 2006

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Paul S. Bradley and Jack D. Ade

SV , Bradley PS . The effects of ball possession status on physical and technical indicators during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals . J Sports Sci. 2016 ; 34 ( 6 ): 493 – 500 . PubMed doi:10.1080/02640414.2015.1114660 10.1080/02640414.2015.1114660 19. Schimpchen J , Skorski S , Nopp S