WORLD CUP BRACKET’s PART 1

Let’s start with the group that includes Uruguay. This is just an incredibly fortunate break for Uruguay as this group containing the USA, South Korea and Ghana, probably wouldn’t be considered strong for the group stages. When you look at how the rest of the groups could shake out, these 4 teams would be way more likely to go the final four than if they switched into any other portion of the bracket.

Uruguay
The true heroes of the tournament so far. Uruguay is around 65% to advance over South Korea and by far is the team most likely to turn their lucky draw into a World Cup victory. Nate Silver’s rankings aside, I think Uruguay is a great underrated team so far. True, they have been very good at the World Cup, but who thinks of Uruguay as a soccer power and once everyone else is set in the second round, bigger name teams are sure to draw more attention.

South Korea
South Korea won’t get much attention, in what is sure to be the most anonymous Round 1 game. They don’t stand a great chance to get past Uruguay, but if they do, they will benefit hugely from the second round opponent. It’s probably not reasonable to expect too much from South Korea, but I think they might offer some good value for a longshot.

Ghana
I know SPI values home-continent advantage, but this reeks of a little b.s. to my uneducated soccer opinion. Ghana is not remotely close to South Africa and I’m sure the climates are very different. I know Silver has said his research shows a strong tendency to do well on continent, but up until the last few years, most world cups have been held in Europe or South America, where traditional soccer powerhouses reside. Again, I’m not sure how much of an advantage he gives, but I’d definitely be slightly skeptical of the United States.

United States
There are a few ways to look at the US. 1) They won their group. 2) They were minutes away from not advancing. On top of that, This is a team that had a +1 goal differential for the tournament, but easily could have been 2-0-1 if their games weren’t reffed by Osama Bin Laden. If bad calls are just bad luck, than any rating system surely has the United States underrated because of the 2 goals that absolutely should have counted. That being said, you can’t count out getting dominated by Slovenia for 45 minutes, or a lucky goal against England in the first round. From what I can tell, the US is great at not converting on scoring opportunities, getting robbed by refs and shaky on defense. That doesn’t seem like a great combination on what should be a very overrated squad.

Overview:
I’m pretty sure there will be no attention on South Korea or Uruguay. They both look good per SPI, and I’m happy with that because I’d tend to be skeptical of Ghana’s advantage, and the US is almost certainly overrated on “heart” and reputation alone. It may suck to root against the US, but I think that’s the way to go. You can put it in @chadmillman’s words and call it an “emotional hedge” if it feels better.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “WORLD CUP BRACKET’s PART 1

  1. Kunk

    I wonder how Brazil and Holland will feel about facing off against each other in the second round while Uruguay gets US/Ghana.

  2. I know how I will feel.

    I would love to see someone do a simulation like VW did with the NCAA Tournament about the difference between Uruguay(or any of other teams in that region) being where they are against where they could be. I’m not the most experience World Cup observer to ask, but that has to be the easiest path to the Final Four in a long time.

  3. cajuncook

    The United States spent no time getting dominated by Slovenia — Slovenia turned two bad lapses of defensive play into two goals, while getting repeatedly beaten at their own end without conceding in that first half. The US really could’ve put up five if they finished like Slovenia did in that match. That lack of finishing is concerning, although I’d argue <9% shooting shouldn't continue. Ultimately I don't think they soared over their odds in terms of process or results (got dominated by England, lucky to get the draw; outplayed Slovenia, won the game by 1; outplayed Algeria, won the game by 2).

    All subjectiveness aside, I wrote my own match predictor and did my best to adjust SPI to match the single-game odds and over/unders from the first two games (as the last game has so many factors coming into play in strategy) using a Poisson model. Uruguay and South Korea had to be strongly adjusted downward, and the US and Ghana (pre-continental adjustment) took small hits. You can argue that there's bias in the market because everybody is operating on overwhelmingly small sample sizes, but it'd have to be pretty significant to trust SPI before the market. All that said, anything close to 30-1 or better on Uruguay is probably quite tremendous at this point.

  4. cajuncook

    Yeah, I’ll do that tomorrow after the games; I’ll e-mail you the results since I’m not cool enough to blog.

  5. “You can argue that there’s bias in the market because everybody is operating on overwhelmingly small sample sizes, but it’d have to be pretty significant to trust SPI before the market. All that said, anything close to 30-1 or better on Uruguay is probably quite tremendous at this point.”

    The most overrated teams from SPI to Vegas Odds are Spain, England, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Germany. I’m not saying it’s 100% right, but given the name values, history of those teams, and relatively wealthy, relatively populous with more disposable income, I think it’s safe to say there is some bias in the odds. I’m not expecting Uruguay to win at the 9.8% rate that SPI is showing, but I think it’s safe to say they are probably underrated compared to the rest of the field.

    “Yeah, I’ll do that tomorrow after the games; I’ll e-mail you the results since I’m not cool enough to blog.”

    Would love to see it/post it, with full credit obviously, if that’s okay with you.

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