Football scores v. Chaos theory

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, because it combines a couple of things I love… football (aka futebol, soccer, kurat, jalkapallo, etc.) and theoretical physics.

How many times will you watch a post-game analysis, or even hear people talking about a game in hindsight, and they say “yeah… and if we had scored that goal in the 20th minute we would have been 2-1 and won the game!”

Sorry, but the theoretical physicist in me has to chuckle. Every action is a product of the mechanics of every action preceding it… until you analyse it to such a granular (sub-atomic?) level that the cause-and-effect breaks down and you have to statistics!

Sure it may be ‘likely’ that even if your team scores a goal and the whole complexion of the game changes, that they still go ahead and score another goal.

But there is no guarantee.

It’s not a case of 1:1+1 = 1:2.

Even removing the psychological factors involved, the players will simply not be on the same trajectory in the space-time continuum as they would be if the event had not been changed. Nuff said!

Now… pass me the ball… so I can have a chance at scoring that goal I missed five minutes ago…



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