World Cup 2018: The last 16

As an analyst I love trends. I could not help but lick my lips in delight when I came across an article using history to predict the victor. So let us see how it actually panned out.

1) Be Seeded

Only six of the eight seeds have made it through to the last 16. The final eight will have a maximum of five seeds as France and Argentina play each other. This could be four because of the “Curse of the host.”

2) Do Not Be The Host

Russia was eliminated based on them being the host country. Since 1930 only six hosts have won the World Cup. However, there is another trend. The current FIFA World Cup trophy was introduced in 1974 where hosts West Germany won the tournament. If you ignore the inaugural game then this particular trophy was won by a host country in 1978 and then in 1998. This is 20 years apart. Can 2018 be Russia’s year?

3) Keep It Tight

The team with the worst defence loses. This really does not make a difference as Poland did not make it through the last 16.

4) Be From Europe

The last time a team not from Europe won the World Cup in Europe was in 1958 when Brazil won in 2018. Can Brazil do it again 60 years on?

5) Have The Best Goalkeeper.

You really cannot argue with this logic. You need people who can score goals but they will come to nothing if your goalkeeper cannot save goals.

6) Have the Experience

Again this is common sense. Teams with experience are more likely to keep their cool and create more opportunities.

7) Do Not Be The Defending Champions.

Germany lost out based on them being defending champions. If you factor in the German elimination then the finals would be between Belgium and Sweden with Belgium winning based on having more experience.

The Reality

What actually happened was completely different. The current knock out stage looks like this

Let us ignore the criteria of seeded teams having an advantage and the host country is at a disadvantage. To cut the 16 to eight; I applied criteria 4 which states that it is more likely for a European team to win in Europe. If the results were the same then I used shots blocked. This brings me to the following results for the Quarterfinals.

To get to the semifinals I will be using the same criteria again. This gets me to the following teams

I will be using the best goalkeeper to get to the Finals. This gets me to the following results.

Interestingly enough these are the teams with the least experience. As of 8th of June England’s average experience was 19.5 and France was at 23.8. This will truly be a mouth-watering experience. The last time England won a competitive match against France was in 1997. Will the four-match experience advantage give France the edge or will 2018 be the new 1966?

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