Leave it to National Geographic to provide a totally unique, and spatially based, way to look at "the beautiful game". The June edition of National Geographic has a good article on soccer and why the world loves it so that is designed to correspond with the beginning of the 2006 World Cup next week in Germany. However, while the article is pretty interesting, what really got my attention was the special supplement in the edition that contained several "maps" of actual soccer action. The back side of the supplement includes 4 diagrams of famous goals from World Cup games in the past, all laid out in a manner that is easy to follow and nice to look at. But the real stunner for me is the map of the ball movement of a 5 minute part of the 1970 World Cup final that led up to one of the goals that is diagramed. The map is an excellent example of behavioral mapping, much as would be seen in a map of a person walking around a city. Moreover, for those who know little about soccer the map provides a good visual of how frenetic soccer is and how much running and movement is involved. Overall, I applaud NG for creating an innovative method for viewing the "beautiful game", yet another reason to continue reading the hardcopy version of National Geographic.
As a life long soccer player (football for those of you not in the U.S.) and reader of National Geographic, I was pleasantly surprised to see some very interesting maps of an actual soccer game. As an avid reader of National Geographic and major fan of the monthly supplements they include in the magazine, this was one of the more unique maps I have seen in a long time. More after the jump.