Level of Opposition on Physical Performance and Technical-Tactical Behaviour of Young Football Players
The purpose of this study was to analyse the physical demands and technical-tactical performance of football players who play matches against opponents with a different level of opposition. The study included 20 players in the U14 (n = 10; age: 13.6 ± 0.5 years old; height: 163.7 ± 5.9 cm; weight: 51.5 ± 6.0 kg) and U16 (n=10; age: 15.8 ± 0.4 years old; height: 171.8 ± 7.6 cm; weight: 61.2 ± 9.5 kg) categories competing in a regional division. The physical demands and technical-tactical behaviour of the players were recorded when they played against opponents with a higher (HIG) and lower (LOW) level of opposition. In the U14 category, total distance (TD), relative distance (RD) and high-intensity distance (HID) were greater (p < .05) against LOW opponents. In addition, the distance travelled in low-speed ranges (%DV1 and %DV2) increased when the U14 played against HIG. The technical-tactical analysis indicated that the teams performed more (p < .05) shots (TS), goals (GS), pressure after loss (PAL) and counterattacks (CON) when they played against LOW. The physical demands (TD, RD and HID) in U14 football players and the technical-tactical behaviour of the players (TS, GS, PAL and CON) increased when playing against opponents considered at a lower level.