DavidMRothschild's blog

World Cup Recap: Accurate and Calibrated

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The PredictWise forecasts was 15-0 in the knockouts games (0-1 in silly consolation games). It certainly was exciting to watch this unfold as the data (heavily driven by markets) endowed me with a rooting interest for all of these games (with, of course, the notable exception of the USA v. Belgium game where I was rooting hard against the data!). Below are all of the games, after the group stage, and morning forecast:

World Cup, Final: Germany for the Win

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Germany is 60% to win today over Argentina 40%. Both teams have played well enough to make it to the final. This was not much of a surprise as they were two and three going into the tournament, with semi-final loser Brazil as first. And, as noted from the beginning, Brazil was first not because they had the best team, but the home-field advantage. Argentina was slightly more favored going into the tournament than Germany for two reasons. First, they had slightly stronger fundamental data. Second, they had an easier group stage (Germany had to contend with USA, Portugal and Ghana).

For the sake of the score keeping I am going to pretend that the consolation match never happened! Seriously, why are they playing that silly match?!? With home team Brazil getting humiliated in the consolation match to Netherlands that makes us 14-0 in meaningful knockout games and 0-1 in silly consolation games.

World Cup, Consolation Game: Brazil to Rebound

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Brazil is favored at 63% over the Netherlands 37% in the consolation game today. After their disastrous loss in the semi-final game Brazil is likely to be extremely motivated to end their World Cup on a high note, while the Netherlands team, which lost their semi-final game in a shootout, is not going to be as motivated for this odd spectacle of sport!

Germany is favored in tomorrow’s final over Argentina.

Updating Predictions: likelihood of any game and likelihood of any team reaching any round. Details on method and full coverage.

World Cup, Semi-Finals, Day 2: Argentina over Netherlands

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Argentina 56% is favored over the Netherlands 44% in the second semi-final match. The game starts at 4 PM ET. Argentina got an early goal against Belgium in their quarter-final and then held on 1-0. Netherlands dominated Costa Rica in their quarter-final match, but could not put the ball into the net until the shootout.

Germany destroyed Brazil in the first semi-final match 7-1 (and that 1 goal came in the 90th minute). The game was a statistical toss-up, but feeling good about yesterday’s headline of Germany over Brazil!

Updating Predictions: likelihood of any game and likelihood of any team reaching any round. Details on method and full coverage.

World Cup, Semi-Finals, Day 1: Germany over Brazil

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Update: 5 minutes after I posted this the markets went to exact toss-up ... oh well, so much for thinking about binary outcomes as important today!

Germany 51% is playing Brazil 49% in the first semi-final game. The fundamental models that cannot account for injuries, like FiveThiryEight are going to give Brazil the edge (FiveThirtyEight is at 73% for Brazil). This is too high for two reasons. First, it does not account for two of Brazil’s stars missing the game. Second, it over accounts for Brazil’s home-field advantage. It assumes that Brazil is getting the typical home-field advantage for a World Cup game. But, this is the semi-finals and there will not be as much concern over Brazil getting eliminated (the World Cup would be disaster if Brazil got knocked out in the group stage, but will be fine if they got knocked out in the semi-finals). And, Brazil’s home-field calls are what made their quarter-final game chaos, if FIFA is smart they will make the referees call Brazil more fairly.

Today’s Games: In the early game Argentina 64% faces Belgium 36%. Argentina and Belgium have both played solid tournaments, but both below expectations. That puts the early favorite Argentina still in the driver’s seat against Belgium. In the second game the Netherlands 80% have Costa Rica 20%. Costa Rica is the Cinderella of the World Cup, the only team with low expectations to make it this far. Yet, it is unlikely that they will continue on past today.

Yesterday’s Games: Yesterday saw favorites Germany and Brazil both advance, as expected. The interesting thing is clear: the data is saying Germany over Brazil in the semi-final matchup.

Overall View: While I hate to talk about binary prediction, at 10-0 in the knockout rounds, there is not much movement on at the top! But, with Germany expected to beat Brazil, they are slightly more likely to win the tournament.

World Cup, Round 8, Day 1: Germany, France, Brazil, and Colombia

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Today’s Games: 134 years ago on July 19 France declared war on Prussia starting the ill-fated (for France) Franco-Prussian War. 100 years ago today the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was laid to rest, one more turning of the wheel that would lead to full blow war in Europe by August 1, 1914. 74 years ago on September 1, 1939 World War II began with the German invasion of Poland; France fell on June 22, 1940. Meanwhile, today, Germany is 59% to defeat France 41%. While the French team has played well all tournament, the Germans are still a slight favorite. The later match features Brazil 69% to defeat Colombia 31%. Brazil is really benefiting from an easier draw than most, a little home field advantage, and less travel.

Yesterday’s Games: USA lost a heartbreaker to Belgium on Tuesday night. Argentina won a tight match against Switzerland.

Overall View: With the favorite teams going 8-0 in the round of 16 there is not much movement at the top.

World Cup, Round 16, Day 4: USA, USA, USA … USA, USA, USA!!!

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Today’s Games: USA is 36% to beat Belgium 64% at 4 PM ET today. The Belgium team was a pre-tournament favorite that has sunk in probability of winning the World Cup as they have played. They had an incredibly unimpressive 3-0-0 run in the weakest group. Pre-tournament Belgium would be a much larger favorite for this game. Argentina is 80% over Switzerland 20%. Argentina is a pre-tournament favorite which has also went a very unimpressive 3-0-0. They also had a weak group and they did not win big, but they did what they had to do and continue to be a tournament favorite. So far the favorite is 6-0 in the round of sixteen … I will be rooting for 7-1 with the underdog USA taking the lone steal. While Belgium is favored to ultimately prevail, I have the most likely outcome as 1-1 (could there be another set of shoot-outs)?!?

Yesterday’s Games: Yesterday saw favorites France and Germany both turn it on late. Germany is a slight favorite in their Friday clash.

World Cup, Round 16, Day 3: France and Germany

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Today’s Games: France and Germany play their round of sixteen games today and both are big favorites to advance. France 82% plays the opening match against Nigeria 18% at noon ET. France was a big mover during the group stage; while they tied Ecuador, they demolished their two other opponents, including Switzerland. The second game features Germany 88% against Algeria 12%. Germany came into the tournament as the third most likely winner and continues to look strong. They are further helped by playing Algeria, who squeaked into the round sixteen with 4 points, by beating South Korea and tying Russia.

World Cup, Round 16, Day 2: Netherlands and Costa Rica

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Today’s Games: The first game today feature the Netherlands 65% against Mexico 35%. The Dutch squad was reasonable favorite going into the World Cup, but pushed upward on the strength of a strong group stage of 3-0-0 against: Chile, Spain, and Australia. Mexico limped into the World Cup, but played Brazil to a draw and beat both Croatia and Cameroon. The other game is hard to predict with Costa Rica 54% the unexpected favorite against Greece 46%. Costa Rica beat Italy and Uruguay while drawing England. Greece was not nearly as successful in their group play, but the methodology continues to underestimate the extremely surprising Costa Ricans.

Yesterday’s Games: Yesterday’s outcomes were as expected. Colombia handled Uruguay, who was short the world’s most famous biter. Brazil beat Chile, of course it was much tighter than anticipated, with Brazil needing penalty kicks after tying in both regulation and over-time.