The World Cup in Qatar is just around the corner and it is starting to show. The candidates to play it are being conservative to avoid a last-minute injury that prevents them from being in the most important event. There are several footballers who have had a scare on the last day (Morata, Koundé, Cavani, Eric Garcia…), while there are others who already know that they will not be discharged in time to play the World Cup (Lo Celso, Pogba, Diogo Jota, Kanté…). There is panic of getting injured before the World Cup. “The situation of going to a World Cup before was at the end of the season, which coincided when they were playing to win a League or a Champions League. Now it’s halfway through, when in the minds of the players they are not playing as much because the competition is very long and before that there is a World Cup, which is very important. This leads to the fact that, if you put both things on a scale, he is inclined to protect himself to be in Qatar”, explains María Blanco, sports psychologist at TYM Psicología.
And the consequence of this protection is that the intensity in LaLiga is being lowered at the same rate as the days for the start of the World Cup (November 20). An example is in the duels: during the season there have been 1,873 on average per day, but in the last three it has been reduced to 1,746. If we only look at last weekend, the figure stands at 1,604. The same thing happens in successful 1v1s: from 936 in the entire campaign to 873. And in dribbles, the inertia does not change: from 289 attempts per day to 264 in the average of the last three.There is more fear of going to the clash and putting the leg in, which leads to fewer fouls being committed (from 264 to 247) and to biting less in attack, the possessions won in the last third of the rival field have fallen from 88 to 71. “To a certain extent, fear is good, it is an emotion that serves to protect oneself and survive . But fear in a healthy player leads to reduced performance. His focus and thoughts are on aspects that do not depend on him and generate stress.