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You can guess soccer player’s game with his face

Soccer (Credit:  Charis Tsevis/Flickr)
Soccer (Credit: Charis Tsevis/Flickr)

Main Points:

Soccer player’s face can help in predicting the performance of the player on the field. It can also show the tendency of players towards goals as well as fouls during the game.

Published in:

Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology

Study Further:

Faces showing rate of FWHR (Source: University of Colorado)
Faces with ratio (Source: University of Colorado)

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and their collaborators have found that the face of the player can be used to know about the performance of the player in the game. With proper study, goal or foul making abilities of the player can be predicted through face.

In the study, researchers worked on the facial-width-to-height ratio (FWHR) of about 1000 players from over 30 countries of the world, who played in the 2010 World Cup. FWHR is the ratio of the distance present between the cheekbones and the distance between the mid-brow and the upper lip.

They found that players with higher FWHRs have more chances of committing fouls. Moreover, forward players, who lead the offense, with more FWHRs have more chances of scoring goals or assisting other players. Previously, researchers found that more FWHR is related to more aggressive behavior. It was also found that people with high FWHR may have more unethical and antisocial personality. However, this thing was found to be correlated to success among CEOs and achievement drive in U.S.

One of the probable mechanisms in this relation is the testosterone exposure during life as it can influence many characteristics such as bone density, cranial shape, and muscle growth.


Haselhuhn, M., & Wong, E. (2011). Bad to the bone: facial structure predicts unethical behaviour Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279 (1728), 571-576 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1193

Welker, K., Goetz, S., Galicia, S., Liphardt, J., & Carré, J. (2014). An Examination of the Associations Between Facial Structure, Aggressive Behavior, and Performance in the 2010 World Cup Association Football Players Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology DOI: 10.1007/s40750-014-0003-3

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