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Tackle mechanisms and match characteristics in women’s elite football tournaments


Background: Several tools have been used for assessing risk situations and for gathering tackle information from international football matches for men but not for women.

Purpose: To analyse activities in women’s football and to identify the characteristics and risk potentials of tackles.

Study design: Retrospective video analysis.

Method: Video recordings of 24 representative matches from six women’s top-level tournaments were analysed for tackle parameters and their risk potential.

Results: 3531 tackles were recorded. Tackles in which the tackling player came from the side and stayed on her feet accounted for nearly half of all challenges for the ball in which body contact occurred. 2.7% of all tackles were classified as risk situations, with sliding-in tackles from behind and the side having the highest risk potential. Match referees sanctioned sliding-in tackles more often than other tackles (20% v 17%, respectively). Tackle parameters did not change in the duration of a match; however, there was an increase in the number of injury risk situations and foul plays towards the end of each half.

Conclusions: Match properties provide valuable information for a better understanding of injury situations in football. Staying on feet and jumping vertically tackle actions leading to injury were sanctioned significantly more times by the referee than those not leading to injury (p<0.001), but no such difference was seen for sliding-in tackles (previously reported to have the highest injury potential in women’s football). Therefore, either the laws of the game are not adequate or match referees in women’s football are not able to distinguish between sliding-in tackles leading to and those not leading to injury.

  • B, from behind
  • F, from the front
  • FIA, football incident analysis
  • S, from the side
  • st, staying on feet
  • si, sliding-in
  • vj, vertical jump
  • video analysis
  • woman
  • football
  • tackling
  • injury risk

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