Forecasting 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

This a short post to share my forecast for the coming football 2018 FIFA World Cup to be played during the following five weeks in Russia.

As I introduced in a similar post four years ago for the 2014 World Cup (here), I have a work colleague who not only is a tremendous aircraft salesman but also has a great sense of humor and manages in his free time late in the night to set up a contest for office staff to try to guess winners, matches’ scores, top scorers, etc., of major international soccer competitions. The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which will start this week, could not be missed. Nacho managed to set up the contest in time.

I have approached the game of forecasting this World Cup with the same method as previous times, as I have not watched a single match of national teams’ football since the previous World Cup and I have no clue of who is who and how they come to the competition. I have relied on ESPN rankings, and used its offensive and defensive coefficients to build with a simple algorithm all the scores of the competition:

  • taking into account the coefficients of both sides
  • when the difference between them was narrow, I put a draw, if resulting coefficients were high 2-2, if low, 0-0.
  • the same for victories, if the difference was high 3-0, if small and low coefficients, 1-0.
  • I also checked the numbers that different scores were repeated in the group phase in the previous two World Cups, as the most repeated ones are 2-1, 1-0, 0-0, in order to assign them in similar proportion.
  • I also checked the amounts of goals scored in the group phase of previous 2 World Cups (100 and 136 goals), to adjust the overall number of goals I would distribute.
  • Checked the goals the previous top scorers managed in World Cups to a assign a similar number.

What did I forecast?

  • A World Cup won by Brazil against Spain in the final in the penalty shootout.
  • An oddity: the algorithm provided that Spain would face 3 shootouts in this World Cup, we will see.
  • The forecast also provided that England would beat Colombia in a shootout, that may be even odder, given the historical bad luck of England at shootouts.
  • As top scorer I put Neymar (Brazil) with 6 goals.
Forecast_world_cup_2018

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia forecast.

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