Visualization of the Week: Origin of World Cup Players

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The World Cup 2014 is raging on right now, with many nail-biting matches to please enthusiasts of this global phenomenon. For this week’s visualization we’ll pair up data science and the World Cup by presenting a compelling new analysis that shows where World Cup players actually come from.

In the plot below, Guy Abel, a statistician and R programmer at the Vienna Institute of Demography, illustrates how the World Cup national teams are drawn from League players from around the world. Click HERE to see the original post on the Revolution Analytics blog.

The arrows on the chart flow FROM the World Cup national teams TO the countries where the players currently play in league teams. Most of the players in Australia’s World Cup team, for example, actually play for teams in the USA, South Korea, and European league teams. By contrast, about a third of Italy’s team and almost all of Russia’s play for domestic leagues (note the arrows folding back on themselves indicating players who play in home leagues).

The chart was created in the R language using the ciclize package. The data source that drives the visualization is the Wikipedia page “2014 FIFA World Cup Squads.” A technique called “web page scraping” was used to grab the data from the HTML. The code to create this plot is available on github.



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