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STATSCORE’s StatsSlider widget has just expanded its sports coverage to include American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey, alongside the existing football (soccer) option. STATSCORE’s StatsSlider is packed with key statistics, team comparisons, streaks,...


How many passes are made in a football match?

Football is a passing game. Despite the most important statistic being, of course, goals, there wouldn’t be any chances to score without the passes. Passes have been part of football from the very beginning. From ‘kick and rush’ in the early years to ‘tiki-taka’ in the first decade of the XXI century.

Nowadays, passes in football games are analyzed to the smallest details by specialists. They distinguish many different kinds of passes – depending on the player’s position on the field, direction of the pass or the stage of the game.


  • Short pass – the most simple type of pass. Generally it is most often aimed at the nearest teammate. It’s a basic pass taught to kids in training. Most often performed with the inside of the foot.
  • Long pass – the aim is to pass the ball to a teammate in a different part of the pitch. An example of this is switching the play from one side of the field to the other side where a player may have more space.
  • Through pass – a forward pass into free space behind the opposition’s defensive line. The receiver of this type of pass will be arriving from another area of the pitch.
  • Backward pass – the direction of this pass is backward, as the name suggests. This is a defensive play when there are no options to play an attacking ball or teammates are well-covered by the opposition. It allows to keep possession.
  • Sideways pass – similar to backward pass, the aim is to control the ball and keep possession.
  • Forward pass – used to gain a more attacking field position and get closer to an opponent’s goal
  • Chip ball pass – similar to the through pass – is played into free space, but over a defender’s heads.

Of course, there could be many more kinds of passes because scientists can distinguish between the smallest details and create new categories for them. But the types above are the main ones.


Everybody knows that a lot of things in football have changed over the years. One of them is the style of play. It has evolved constantly. Football at the beginning was more of an individual game than a team game. At this time, dribbling reigned as king.

Next, as we mentioned earlier „kick and rush” with long balls to attacking players took over and was still evolving. As the years have passed, football has been played in more advanced forms. An example of this is “total football” where the number of passes was much higher.

Today we are living at a time when passers’ are highly trained and their skill is refined to perfection. The best teams are creating new records for the number of passes made in games.

For example, in the Premier League, Manchester City set a new record with 942 passes in April 2018, against Swansea City FC. Barcelona then completed 993 passes against Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League and Bayern Munich made over 1,000 passes in the Bundesliga against Hertha in 2014!


The truth is – the longer you have the ball, the shorter your opponent has it. But how to keep the ball most efficiently? The dribble? For sure, no! The longer a player is on the ball, the more he is exposed to encounters, losing the ball, injuries and what’s more, this causes fatigue.

It turns out that the most effective form of keeping the ball is passing. Following this logic, the longer the passes are, the risk of losing the ball or a pass being inaccurate is bigger. The advantage is on the shorter passes. However, always and everywhere? For sure not. If the ball is played in one zone, it gets tighter there and losing the ball is more probably. So it would require the ball to be played faster and change zones at the same time. It is not always possible to get into an open space in your opponent’s half by using short passes, and you have to surprise them with something different.

So finally, it turns out that the best solution is to properly differentiate the types of passes there are and use them to control and direct play. Generally speaking, this is the best recipe for effective ball control and has become the main measure or sometimes even a goal for many teams in recent years.

If you want to get in touch to find out more, just contact our Customer Success Team at cst@statscore.com. We will be more than happy to schedule a call and discuss how ScoutsFeed can help your organization!

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