The World Cup in Motion: Which Nation Really Lights Up The Tournament?

7 June 2018

World Cup Logo
World Cup Logo
“The atmosphere is simply electric,” Clive Tyldesley will belt out in a week’s time as Russia 2018 kicks off with a game between the hosts and the almighty Saudi Arabia. The energy will be palpable with the sparks flying as the Russians begin their quest to conquer football’s most prestigious trophy. Or at that’s least how the commentary team will assess it. Football and energy go hand in hand. Nothing beats a night under the lights, every team needs that spark in the midfield, and the number of players that have lit up a stadium over the years is as endless as the clichés. But that got us at LED Hut thinking. While the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can metaphorically light up an arena with just a moment of magic, can they provide enough energy through 90 minutes of football to light up even a 60 watt bulb? We let the football fans in the office dust off their GCSE physics books and uncover just how much energy the stars of Russia 2018 could produce. Taking the ten favourite nations to lift the trophy, we studied the distances covered by their players four years ago to predict who will exert the most energy and really light up a stadium. Well, at least a little...

The World Cup in Motion

World Cup Player It’s no surprise that the World Champions, Germany, produce more kinetic energy than any other side in the competition. Joachim Low’s men run on average 8,636 metres each per game, equating to a total of 107,759.42 joules of energy over 90 minutes. For those who can’t think far enough back to those days in physics, while it may sound a lot, that would produce enough electricity to light one light bulb for just over half an hour. Overall, the Germans produce 35.51 watt-hours per game, which would keep your fridge on for 24 hours or allow you to watch the first hour of the match on TV, including half time analysis of course. Argentina, who also made the Final back in 2014, ran an average 92,785 metres per game combined, the second highest among this summer’s favourites, although Switzerland, Australia and Costa Rica all ran that little harder in Brazil.
World Cup Group Nation Average Player Distance (m) Average Total XI Distance (m) Energy Produced by Team (J) Watt Hours Produced
F Germany 8,636 94,996 127,830.08 35.50835556
D Argentina 8,385 92,235 120,511.70 33.47547222
G Belgium 8,244 90,684 116,482.10 32.35613889
B Spain 7,745 85,195 102,722.60 28.53405556
B Portugal 7,690 84,590 101,359.26 28.15535
D Croatia 7,673 84,403 100,906.83 28.029675
C France 7,659 84,249 100,545.62 27.92933889
E Brazil 7,628 83,908 99,735.27 27.70424167
G England 7,598 83,578 98,940.98 27.48360556
A Uruguay 7,495 82,445 96,438.25 26.78840278
England produced one of the lowest electrical charges per game, with only Mexico, Nigeria, Uruguay and Colombia of those who played in 2014 producing lower rates. The Three Lions created just 27.5 watt hours per game, meaning across their limp three games at the Brazil World Cup, they produced just enough electricity to power a desktop computer for an average working day. On average, a player runs seven and a half kilometres per game, enough to generate 71.4 joules of energy, the equivalent of 0.00028 watt hours. If you were to take an entire competition’s worth of activity, that’s 32 teams playing a total of 64 games, the amount of electricity produced would be a staggering 29,306,626 watt hours, enough to light up the Eiffel Tower for 24 hours, or Blackpool illuminations for two days.

Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

Jules Rimet Stamp 1966 Football is of course all about money today. The transfer window breaks records every summer, with fees now in the hundreds of millions and squads worth billions. That’s enough to light up entire countries. Much will be discussed over the summer about the total cost of squads. For example, when England go up against Tunisia in the opening tie in Group G, the difference in value between the squads is a whopping £600 million. Gareth Southgate’s men are worth an approximate £648 million, which would produce over 5.24 billion kilo-watts, enough to pay the average electricity bill of over a million Brits for a year. Spain have the most expensive squad at just over £1 billion. This would cover the electricity bill of 1.584 million Spaniards each year. Additionally, the figure would keep the Las Vegas Strip lit for almost three years. Panama have the lowest value squad of the 32 nations competing this summer, at an estimated £10.5 million. That’s enough to purchase 85,084,034 kilo-watt hours, a figure that would afford to pay just 1% of the nation’s yearly electricity bill. Interestingly, the cost of Neymar alone, who transferred to PSG for £200 million last summer, would be enough to keep Times Square gleaming for approximately 28 years! The total worth of every player this summer combined is around the £9.4 billion mark, which could almost cover the entire electricity usage of Uruguay for a year, or settle almost three years worth of electricity bills in Senegal.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Squads at Russia 2018

Group Nation Squad Worth (£) Number of Kilo-Watts Equal To
B Spain 1,050,000,000 8,484,162,896
C France 916,650,000 7,406,674,208
F Germany 897,750,000 7,253,959,276
E Brazil 814,500,000 6,581,286,361
G Belgium 675,680,000 5,459,599,224
G England 648,000,000 5,235,940,530
D Argentina 621,900,000 5,025,048,481
B Portugal 435,560,000 3,519,392,372
A Uruguay 347,400,000 2,807,045,895
D Croatia 321,030,000 2,593,972,204

The Top 10 Least Valuable Squads at Russia 2018

Group Nation Squad Worth (£) Number of Kilo-Watts Equal To
G Panama 10,530,000 85,084,034
A Saudi Arabia 20,250,000 163,623,142
C Peru 31,370,000 253,474,467
B Iran 38,660,000 312,378,798
E Costa Rica 40,120,000 324,175,824
G Tunisia 49,300,000 398,351,648
C Australia 52,100,000 420,976,083
D Iceland 61,200,000 494,505,495
H Japan 66,870,000 540,319,974
F South Korea 69,530,000 561,813,187