For the last four decades, the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) has analysed matches at international tournaments and highlighted the latest trends in the game. The decision to establish a panel of experts to study matches at FIFA World Cup™ finals was taken in 1965. The group's first assignment came at the 1966 finals in England.

The TSG's priority is to observe teams in matches and training sessions. Initial impressions are fleshed out in a series of in-depth conversations, with the objective of prompting discussion and an exchange of views.

FIFA's Technical section is headed by Jean-Paul Brigger, former Swiss international (33 caps, 3 goals), Swiss domestic league champion with FC Sion and the country's Player of the Year in 1992. He is also a five-time winner of the Swiss Cup and was named Swiss coach of the year in 1995.

The information is collected in a report made available to FIFA member associations afterwards as a development tool. DVDs containing visual support materials for training programmes are also distributed. The material aims to enhance and promote day-to-day activity on the training ground. The key goals are raising quality thresholds and promoting individual player development.

TSG reports are by no means confined to factual match analysis. The TSG is deeply involved in sparking debate on matters such as the impact of restricted preparation ahead of major tournaments on individual player performance, or the pro and contra positions regarding passive offside. The TSG issues summaries and recommendations which are forwarded to the relevant decision-makers.

Another hot topic is the role of national teams in an increasingly global game. Major tournaments tend to confirm a very strong popular identification and focus on national teams. The TSG undertakes a wide range of tasks, but the fundamental priorities remain the same: to continue the development of the world's best loved sport.