Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Maths picks moment for soccer super subs," by Will Knight, New Scientist, 6 March 2002.

Mathematicians Mike Wright and Nobuyoshi of Lancaster University, U.K.,developed a mathematical way of modeling soccer matches---based on factors suchas when a team wins or loses possession and/or scores or concedes a goal---andthen used Markov formulae to calculate the probability of a team getting a goalif the team introduces a substitute player or change strategy. The researchersconclude that English major leagues would do better if the coaches bring insubstitutes earlier in the game, but concede that their system will never beable to take into account human conditions of temperament and optimum health.

--- Annette Emerson