Height, though not a determining element, is a key factor in football. The benefits provided by having tall players, at both ends of the pitch, have been displayed on various occasions in FIFA World Cups.
Here we look at the tallest and shortest players and teams in the Qatar World Cup.
The title for the tallest player in Qatar 2022 will belong to Netherland’s goalkeeper Andries Noppert. Heerenveen shot-stopper stands at 203 cm. Following him will be Vanja Milinkovic-Savic of Serbia (202 cm) and Thibaut Courtois of Belgium (200 cm), both goalkeepers.
The tallest outfield player in the tournament will be Australia’s defender Harry Souttar who measures 198 cm.
Morocco’s Ilias Chair will be the shortest player at the World Cup at 164 cm. The Queen’s Park Rangers attacking midfielder is followed by Japanese striker Yuri Soma, whose measures in at 166 cm.
Alejandro Gomez (Argentina), Uriel Antuna (Mexico), Andres Guardado (Mexico) and Nicolas de la Cruz (Uruguay are tied for third shortest at 167 cm.
European teams dominate the tallest teams list, with them taking up eight of the top 10 slots. Serbia has the tallest contingent in Qatar by some distance at 187.1 cm. Denmark follows in at 186.1 cm, while defending champion France ranks third at 185.4 cm.
The tallest non-European side is Senegal which touches an average height of 184.4 cm and ranks seventh in the list.
The advantage provided by height has often made a difference in tight contests.
The best example of this in recent times is the Belgium vs Japan quarterfinal from 2018, when the European side — which had tall attackers like Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini — bombarded the shorter Asian side with long balls into the box, to pull off a stirring comeback win.
Mexico will rank as the shortest team at the Qatar World Cup, with the North American side having an average height of just 178.8 cm.
Four other sides, including Lionel Messi’s Argentina, has an average height of under 180 cm. The shortest European side is Spain, which clocks an average of 180.9 cm.
If we take a continental average, the European dominance is even more evident. The average height of European squads in Qatar is 183 cm. This drops to 180.9 cm for South American teams.
The shortest squads though will be from North America, with their average heights touching only 180.7.
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