The gap between elite Norwegian and European football

There has been an ongoing debate in Norway the last years in regard to the fitness level of Norwegian elite players. This has largely been due to the previous poor performances from the elite Norwegian clubs in Europe and the national team. The general opinion has been that Norwegian players lack the necessary fitness level to perform at the highest European level. Thus, the question is if this general opinion has any scientific evidence? A recent study published in Norway (1) has examined the physical performance during games of an elite Norwegian team, and gives an indication of the physical performance of elite Norwegian players compared to their European counterparts. Total distances covered The study from Ingebrigtsen and Dalen et al. (1) showed that Norwegian players cover a similar total distance to what is reported from the English Premier League (2), Spanish Primera (3) and in several elite European games (4). In regards to distance of high-speed running (> 19.8km×h-1), Norwegian players show a slightly lower distance compared to players from English Premier League (2) and elite European games (4). This indicates that players from the elite Norwegian league runs a similar distance compared to elite players from the European leagues, Continue Reading

Total distances covered during a game

Professional football players cover a total distance of 10-14km per game (1-3), including about 800m of high-intensity running (running speed > 19.8km×h-1 – 25.1km×h-1) and 300m of sprints (running speed > 25.2km×h-1)(2, 3). Positional differences There is a marked difference between each positional role and the distance they cover during a game. A study from the 2005-2006 Premier League season (2) shows that: Central defenders cover about 10km per game. They cover less distance in high-intensity running and sprints compared to all other positions. Full-backs cover about 10.7km per game. They cover more distance in high-intensity running and sprints compared to central defenders, more distance in sprints compared to central midfielders, but lower distance in high-intensity running and sprints compared to wide midfielders. Central midfielders cover about 11.5km per game. They cover a high distance in high-intensity running, but they have lower distance covered in sprints compared to full-backs and wide midfielders. Wide midfielders cover about 11.8km per game. They cover more distance in high-intensity running compared to all other positions, and sprint more than central defenders, full-backs and forwards. Forwards cover about 10.3km per game, and cover a high distance in both high-intensity running and sprints. The positional differences in total distances covered, Continue Reading