Who wins the 2018 FIFA World Cup™?

In just a few weeks the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ starts. People already discuss passionately who is going to win and how the chances for their teams are. Almost everybody has an intuition, opinion, idea, feeling or whatsoever about the performances of the different nations. There might be a consensus among football experts and fans on the top favorites, e.g. Brazil, Germany, Spain, but more debate on possible underdogs. However, most of these predictions rely on subjective opinions and are very hard if not impossible to quantify. An additional difficulty is the complexity of the tournament, with billions of different outcomes, making it very difficult to obtain accurate guesses of the probabilities of certain events.

How can we make reasonable, objective and quantitative estimates of the outcomes? For example, what is the probability that Brazil, Germany or Spain will win the cup? What are the chances that England will make it to the Round of 16? What are the chances that Brazil beats Germany in the semifinals 7:1?

In this and the following posts, we give quantitative answers to all kind of these questions. This post will start with what we can learn by studying previous matches and tournaments. Once we found some appropriate data we will investigate which models are out there to model an event like the FIFA World Cup.

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Prediction for Match Day 2 in Group E

Before we present our estimated results for the second matches in group E, we give a quick evaluation of our forecast for the first match day in this group. The result of the first match was a 1-1 draw of Brazil against Switzerland, which was expected by our model with a probability of 8.5%. The 1-0 victory of Serbia against Costa Rica was our second most probable score.

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Update after Match Day 1: What are the probable outcomes of the whole tournament?

The first match day in the World Cup 2018 is over. Every team has played once. Since our prediction model is based on the Elo strength of the participating teams, we have updated our data by incorporating the results of the first match day and have made 100.000 simulations of the whole tournament (starting from match day 2). We are interested in the influence of the results of the first match day on our forecast. Continue reading “Update after Match Day 1: What are the probable outcomes of the whole tournament?”

Prediction for Match Day 2 in Group D

Before we present our estimated results for the second matches in group D, we give a quick evaluation of our forecast for the first match day in this group. The result of the first match was a 1-1 draw of Argentina against Iceland, which was expected by our model with a probability of 7.2%. The 2-0 victory of Croatia was expected with a probability of 8.8% and belonged also to one of our favored scores.

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Prediction for Match Day 2 in Group C

Before we present our estimated results for the second matches in group C, we give a quick evaluation of our forecast for the first match day in this group. The result of the first match was a 2-1 victory of France against Australia, which was our second most probable estimated score. The 1-0 victory of Denmark belonged also to one of our most probable scores.  However, the game was quite close to end up with a 1-1, which was most probable according to our estimation. Continue reading “Prediction for Match Day 2 in Group C”

Prediction for Match Day 2 in Group B

Before we present our estimated results for the second matches in group B, we give a quick evaluation of our forecast  for the first match day in this group. The result of the first match was a 3-3 draw between the European champions from Portugal against Spain. A draw was predicted with a probability of 33%, although Spain was favoured by our model. The 1-0 victory of Iran against Morocco was one of our expected scores.

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Prediction for Match Day 2 in Group A

Before we present our estimated results for the second matches in group A, we give a quick evaluation of our forecast  for the first match day in this group. The result of the opening match was a 5-0 victory of Russia against Saudi Arabia. Although we expected a win of Russia in this match, the score 5-0 is rather a outlier score and was difficult to forecast.  The 1-0 victory of Uruguay against Egypt was indeed our most probable score.

Now let’s come to the second matches in group A, where Russia will face Egypt and Uruguay plays against Saudi Arabia.

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Update: What are the probable outcomes of the whole tournament?

Finally, the test matches are over and the World Cup 2018 will start today. Since our prediction model is based on the Elo strength of the participating teams, we have updated our data by incorporating the results of the test matches and the current Elo ranking of the participating teams from June 14, 2018, and have made 100.000 simulations of the whole tournament. We are interested in the influence of the series of test matches during the last weeks on our forecast. Continue reading “Update: What are the probable outcomes of the whole tournament?”

Prediction for Match Day 1 in Group F

In this post we present our estimated results for the first matches in group F, the group of the World Champion’s from Germany. This group will start with Germany vs. Mexico. In the second match Sweden’s “Tre Kronor” team will face South Korea. We give predictions for the result of both matches in terms of probabilities, including predictions for the scores. Continue reading “Prediction for Match Day 1 in Group F”