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Foreign experience “key” to World Cup success

National teams should use as many footballers as possible who have played for foreign clubs if they want to be successful, a study has found.

From this point of view at least, concluded the experts, the Swiss team was in a good position to do well in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, which starts in three days’ time.

The Research Institute for International Management at St Gallen University drew upon information from the Fifa World Cup 2006, including profiles of the 736 players who participated in the tournament and performance data from the 64 matches played.

It concluded that positive results came when there were high numbers of players with foreign league experience. In addition, trainers should not use players from too many different leagues, especially if overall there was not much experience of playing abroad.

The study found that in this case player-team integration was more difficult, which affected match outcomes.

Using the report’s criteria, the Swiss were well placed for the World Cup, the university said in a statement on Tuesday. Many squad members had long experience of playing abroad and the mix was not too big (France, Italy, Germany and Britain). The German team, for example, should do less well, it added.

The study, “International Experimental Diversity and Performance at Project Organizations: The Case of National Football Teams”, recently won a Best Paper Award at the European Academy of Management.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR