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Hosts have edge, science has proof!

A study shows that those playing at home experience higher levels of testosterone than those playing away. Schedule | Teams | Results | Photos | Games

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 18:56 IST

Even if many consider Brazil unbeatable, being the home team might just help Germany walk away with the 2006 World Cup.

A study of the behaviour of sports teams suggests that playing at home not only guarantees more support and the comfort of familiar surroundings, but also has a biological effect on the way players perform.

Scientists in Canada studied football and ice-hockey teams to conclude that those playing at home experience higher levels of testosterone compared to those playing away.

Levels of the stress hormone cortisol were found to be raised at home and so were levels of self-confidence, a newspaper report said.

The scientists also suggested an evolutionary behavioural link relating to the basic need to protect territory.

The research, presented at the International Congress of Neuroendocrinology in Pittsburgh (US), supports trends previously observed in both professional and amateur sport.

In the World Cup itself, six of the 16 competitions were won by home teams while nations such as South Korea and Mexico defied odds to reach the latter stages of tournaments they hosted.

Justin Carre, a member of the research team, said that there was relation between hormonal responses, where a match was played and the outcome.

But he denied assumptions that this was because visitors were worn down by the stress of travel.