When we look in to our past, we see different communities: schools, companies, teams etc. Most important thing in these communities is that we meet people; we network. One big community, UEFA European Championship 2012 is nearing its final: Spain vs. Italy.

Like all of us, the players in these teams have a past of different communities. In this case, the most interesting communities are football clubs. Like in my previous post of all of the teams, I ventured a guess: if two players have played in the same club, they share a connection (in this post they share a connection if they have played in the same club in the same year). Combine all those connections and you get a social network of the players.

Size of the players name represents the betweenness of the player: how important the player is to the experience flow of the team. We see that Pepe Reina is the most important player from the network perspective. Second and third are Christian Maggio and Álvaro Arbeloa. We see that most of the players are connected. Note: I only took in to account the prime league clubs.

The network structure of the both teams are similar in their density: both utilize about 20 % of all possible ties. Spain, however form almost twice the amount of cliques. This translates as more tightly connected groups. Data from team Spain from here and from team Italy here. Interesting is that Thiago Motta and Mario Balotelli are more connected to the Spanish team than to the Italian team. This may translate to better knowledge of the opposing team. The Spanish team does however have more players that have played together for several years. In other organizations this usually leads to better performance, so based on social network analysis, my money would be on Spain.

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Visualized with Gephi.