Sports

To win the World Cup, you need to win your group

With the World Cup well and truly underway television pundits are already consulting their football abacuses to calculate how various teams can escape the hectic group stage. While some more statistically-minded types (including our very own Gianluca Baio and Marta Blangiardo) have produced some rather more sophisticated forecasts of each team's prospects in the rest of the competition, I thought 'it's Friday, let's keep things simple'.

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The World Cup forecast: how do things look 17 games in?

Yesterday was the end of round one for the group stage − this means that all 32 teams have played at least once (in fact, Brazil and Mexico have now played twice). So, it was time for us to update our model including a new measure of 'current form' for each of the team.

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England can't win on penalties? Probably

There's an unusual lack of optimism surrounding the England football team heading into this World Cup; for the first time in (my) living memory no-one is talking about how it 'could be our year'. In fact, there's a very real risk that England won't even make it out of their group with Uruguay and Italy slight favourites to advance to the round of 16. While going out in the group stages is on nobody's wish list, it nevertheless comes with one crumb of comfort: no penalty shootouts.

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If Bayes was sitting on Copacabana beach...

This is the first post of a fairly regular series dedicated to the impending FIFA World Cup. Marta and I discussed this at the end of a barbecue at our place a few weeks back and since then we have done some work to develop this model.

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