Spain Vs Portugal Euro 2012 Semifinal. Image Content Analysis

Spain and Portugal played the first semifinal of the football UEFA Euro 2012.

No goals scored during the regular 90 minutes times. No goals after the 30 minutes of prolongations. The finalist of the championship was decided in the 5 penalties series. Spain finally got the ticket for the final game versus Italy, scoring four penalties. Portugal scored just two of first four penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo did not take the chance to shoot the last penalty.

We propose another media impact analysis of the match in our series of blog posts about the Euro 2012. We use as in all previous posts about the Euro 2012 games the image content analysis of photos used by newspapers to cover the post game information of Portugal Vs Spain. We have selected news published in Britain.

We will propose a new feature in this post.

A null game with no goals and with a penalties series creates an attractive framework of analysis. This kind of results do not produce a clear star of the game (except if goalkeepers have an outstanding performance in the penalties series). There are a plurality of protagonists. This creates an uneasy task for journalists’ choices: which is the image that reflects the best the essence of the game?

A 0-0 game in a decissive knockout round like the semifinals makes that the most important information if the global output (which team qualified) more than individual stars. So, a natural way for journalists to solve the problem of the lack of single stars is to show team images around the crucial moments of the game: during the penalties series or in the right aftermath of the game, celebrating qualification for the final or showing disappointment and suffering for the the elimination.

So, instead of showing you who were designed by the media as leading stars of the game, we show which have been the choices by journalists concerning the decision photos during or after the match.

Results in  the figure below tell us that media in Britain showed images about players from Spain in 41% of all cases. Images with players from Portugal got a 32% share, while images showing players from both teams represented 27% of all photos.

Concerning the specific question raised in this post, we find that post game images showing Spanish players celebrating celebration represented 29% of all news (versus 12% during the game). As for images about Portugal, 25% showed images of frustration, versus just 7% of during the game images. All together, post game images represent 54% of all images used  about the game Spain Vs Portugal.

As for individual stars of the game, we find that main media reference was Cristiano Ronaldo, mostly with images showing his disappointment just after elimination. In the Spanish side, Cesc Fàbregas was the leading reference. He scored the last penalty in Spain. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Sergio Ramos (Panenka style penalty) were among top three players of the match in the Spanish side.

Example of ‘Spain post match’ image