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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Jun 29

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12811-7


language: English

Physical workload and fatigue pattern characterization in a top-class women’s football national team. A case study of the 2019 fifa women’s world cup

Farzad YOUSEFIAN 1, Hannah HÜTTEMANN 2, Mats BORJESSON 3, 4, Pontus EKBLOM 2, Magni MOHR 5, 6, Dan FRANSSON 2

1 Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development (CIDESD), Department of Sports Sciences, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal; 2 Center for Health and Performance, Department of Food and Nutrition and Sports Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 3 Center for Health and Performance, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 4 Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Region of Western Sweden, Gothenburg, Sweden; 5 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster (SHSC), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; 6 Center of Health Science, Faculty of Health, University of the Faroe Islands, Torshavn, Faroe Islands


BACKGROUND: With the growing scientific interest in women’s football it is critical to understand the match demands and fatigue patterns during a top-class women’s competition.
METHODS: Physical characteristics and performance of top-class women football matches during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was investigated from data collected using global positioning system for 21 outfield players during the tournament.
RESULTS: Relative total distance (TD; mˑmin-1) was moderately lower (p≤0.05, ES:0.6) in the final match (96.1 ± 5.0 mˑmin-1) compared to the first (104.1±5.9 mˑmin-1) match. Performance in relative total high-speed running (THSR; mˑmin-1) declined -27.5% (p≥0.05) throughout the tournament following peak performance in M3 (5.3±1.7 mˑmin-1). Match performance between halves was reduced -25.4±0.13% (p≤0.05, ES:1.2-2.3) across all measures in M3. Relative high-intensity running (HIR; 25.9±3.5 mˑmin-1) and THSR (9.8±1.5 mˑmin-1) were greater (p≤0.05, ES:0.2-0.7) for forwards, while midfielders performed greater (p≤0.05, ES:0.6) relative total distance (102.0 ± 5.5 mˑmin-1), compared to central defenders (HIR: 16.1±3.7 mˑmin-1; THSR: 3.1±1.6 mˑmin-1; TD: 92.5±5.7 mˑmin-1). Reductions in relative HIR between halves (-10.9%), within the first half (-31.0%), and the start and end of the match (-36.9%) were most pronounced for midfielders (p≤0.05, ES:0.6-2.3). Across all matches, relative THSR performance was reduced, with moderate to large differences (p≤0.001, ES: 0.7-0.8) observed between halves, within the first half, and throughout the match.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, specific fatigue patterns observed within and between matches throughout the women’s World Cup, may be influenced by playing positions, the rank of the opposition, as well as the stage of the tournament.

KEY WORDS: Soccer; Muscle fatigue; Sports performance

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