Juventus’s collettive collapse

Juventus-Fiorentina ended last night 0-3. A totally unexpected result and not explainable only because of Cuadrado’s expulsion or bad luck. In sports psychology what happened is called collective collapse. This phenomenon occurs when in a team most of the players suddenly play below their skill level despite having had a favorable start to the game or when they perform below expectations from the beginning.

Studying team sports in Sweden, Apitzsch [2019] found from the statements of 146 players and 15 elite coaches that 70.8% claimed to have experienced such an experience at least once during a league and predominantly while playing away from home.

This phenomenon is mainly attributable to insufficient and negative communication, non-acceptance of the role on the field and negative emotional contagion among players during the game. A kind of social loafing that has prevented Juventus from committing to 100%, determined by a loss of motivation due to the perception of playing against a weaker opponent and that, instead, had prepared the match in the best possible way and demonstrated its value on the field.

In soccer the most relevant episodes of collective collapse happened during the semifinal of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, where the Brazilian national team lost 7-1 against Germany and in 2005 during the Champions League final Milan-Liverpool held in Istanbul, when the Italian team lost the match after having concluded the first half in advantage of 3-0.

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