Saturday, June 26, 2010

I wasn't quite totally wrong...

But not far off.

Called Denmark over Japan. Denmark looked better until the first amazing goal (and the first superb free kick of the tournament), then collapsed and the Japanese looked so much better. The second free kick was superb (the better of the two), and the final goal was a good well worked chance. Got Netherlands correct, but hardly a difficult shout. 1 out of 2.

As for group F, and I quote "Italy can't be as bad as they were against New Zealand again." Well I was right, but they were worse until the last few minutes, and Paraguay failed to beat the Kiwis. 0 out of 2 on calls, 1 out of 2 on advances.

Group G: Forgot Brazil's coach was Dunga. Again 1 out of 2 on results, but got the 2 advancers.

Group H: Spain did win, but Switzerland didn't make it exciting. I am pleased as Chile and Spain have been exciting to watch.

Anyway the gpg looks more normal now. Teams have got used to the ball (if that was the problem), and whilst we are still likely to have a below average tournament (and the 103 goals in 48 group games is in line for an all time low at 2.15 per game) it isn't as bad as at the start. The last round was 2.25 gpg, broadly in line with Germany. Will the KO rounds be above or below the group stage? Recent history is mixed with 2 above (USA and France) and 3 below (Italy, Germany and Japan/Korea).

I have found the anaylsis of the world cup on US political site 538 quite interesting. They have used the ESPN Soccer Power Index ratings in a model of the tournament and used Monte Carlo methods to predict the chance of teams getting through. They have Uruguay, Netherlands and Brazil advancing in that half with a fifty-fifty call for USA-Ghana. In England's half they have Paraguay and Argentina, with tighter calls for England and Spain.

Looking at the ties I'd say I agree with that, save for calling for USA by comfortably in that game (see 538's blog post which I agree with), and thinking Germany-England could well go to penalties...

Excellent weekend of football ahead however!

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