Simple rendering of complex data
U.S. exceptionalism and billionaires

New but is it better?

Conventionally, the bracket in a sports tournament is presented like this (link):


In the Euro 2012 that's happening right now, the group stage is followed by the knockout stage (quarter-, semi- and final).

The knockout stage is pretty straightforward. The group stage presents some challenges because it's difficult to present the chronology together with the team standing at the same time.


The official site of Euro 2012 has an innovative "Tournament Map" that is an attempt to improve upon the traditional design. (link)


I have mixed feelings about this presentation. It's easier to get a sense of how each team performed chronologically over the course of the competition. But then, I can't figure out what day the winner of a quarterfinal would play in the semifinal.


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Bob Hood

I'm a soccer fan and like the graphic. It is a big improvement over standard depictions of the data. The main problem I see is that they need 16 colors and it's hard to distinguish between them. If they applied this technique to the World Cup, they'd need 32 colors.

To address your concern about the QFs feeding into the SFs, I think that they could use another color (gray?). The same trick doesn't work to show how teams feed into the QFs, because group standings are used to determine who plays in which QF.


I can't say I like either approach.
The first gives no real sense of flow.

The second seems more complicated than it needs to be...trying to follow the lines around becomes a bit tedious.

Why are either of these used over a standard bracket set up?
(ie )

Is there a reason that such a setup wouldn't work well for soccer?

Nate Granatir

The reason is this case is that the Euros, like many soccer tournaments, has two stages: a group stage and a knockout stage. The knockout stage can be represented by the standard bracket, but the group stage can't - in this tournament there are four groups of four teams and each group plays a round-robin (every team plays each other.) The top two in each group at the end progress to the knockout stage. The challenge is showing both in the same diagram.

I kind of like this one. It's hard to see the "big picture" so to speak (what is each team's path forward in time to the final?) but it does nicely show the schedule. Also, what you can't see from the static image is that in the interactive version, when you mouse over any line it lights up so you can clearly see that team's progress.


Thanks for the explanation.
Seeing the interactive version definitely highlights many benefits of the new version.

Being able to highlight a track, and seeing that the rows and columns line up with dates and locations helps the whole thing make a bit more sense.

realizing that the colors match the team colors made it all make a bit more sense too...I didn't realize that at first :)

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