Umtiti goal to Belgium. What did exactly happen?

We saw France beating Belgium in the first FIFA World Cup semi-final with a wonderful header from Samuel Umtiti the no. 5 France defender and FC Barcelona player.

Please click on the link to watch on YouTube:

From the video highlights and slow motion you can see him looking for the ball and being able to anticipate Fellaini with a move that surprised Courtois enough to get the ball in beyond his arms and in the net.

Wit the help of the multi-angle feature of the FIFA World Cup player that a lot of broadcasters are using worldwide we can dive a bit deeper and try to understand if there is another story behind the obvious. With this feature a specific action is made available as seen from any of the 40 camera available -as it makes sense in terms of video context — and can be watched in a sequence to understand better how it really happened.

I am using the one available in Italy through the Mediaset apps based on our Diva player.

There are 19 camera angles available for this specific goal action in the second half of France — Belgium. This goal brought France to the final.

After having scouted all of the available cameras I found one that gives more information than others about how Umtiti was able to score with such an impressive header.

It’s called “Corner Cam Left” and is the one highlighted in the map above.

It shows a different story.

4 players involved:
France: no. 5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba
Belgium: no. 2 Toby Alderweireld, 6 Axel Witsel

All 4 are very close as Antoine Griezmann kick the corner, while Witsel focus on Pogba for the whole time and follows him until the end, Alderweireld takes two wrong decisions.

First he leaves Umtiti and double on Pogba or whatever he thought he was doing when he moved behind Witsel.

Then he comes back to Umtiti as he understands Witsel is already on the case

Umtiti does a body move that makes Alderweireld bounce back and then he loses it completely

It’s now too late as Umtiti is ahead looking for the ball

Also Courtois seems a bit surprised of where the ball is coming from as Umtiti really anticipated all of them, maybe too many on all sides were focusing on Paul Pogba.

A tale of two players

So how much this goal is a great effort from Samuel Umtiti it has also been responsibility of the Belgian defender. Sorry to pick on him in this circumstances, as it may be tough for all of them today, but this may be the real reason for which a goal happened and it could have been stopped.

We may want to think at a way to capture these statistics in more detail in the future if we find a way to evaluate critical defend moves beyond tackles, and related them to scored and non-scored goals similar to basketball.

I hope this kind of beyond-tv experiences will become more and more adopted by fan and journalists.

They are a lot of fun, and can help the younger generation keep in touch with our own & operated efforts, they produce great content for social but we need more digital storytellers to embrace them.

Let’s watch some football!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store