Monday, May 31, 2010

World Cup 2010

At first glance the World Cup seems like a crap shoot unless you are Brazil. In fact Brazil has won 28% of the 18 played World Cups. Seven different teams have won the day in the WC. Brazil and Italy have won half of them. With only 18 tournaments played one could say that there is more variability to who will win. Seven different champs in 18 years lines up with two of the other tournaments and leagues I've looked at. A couple teams winning half the time. NBA: Lakers, Celtics... Big Ten: Ohio State, Michigan. It is not similar to MLB (four teams sneak into the top 50%) or the NFL (five).

But comparing the WC to any of the other leagues isn't a good way to look at it (even if it is similar). The qualifying is long (4 years) and the actual tournament is played differently (round robin group stage to start, played all over the world every 4 years). It is fascinating that so few countries have hoisted the trophy though. Even more interesting is that only 24 different countries have even made it to the final round of four. And that includes the various shapes and sizes of Czechoslovakia broken out.

Yes, the US is in there one time (1930) where we got 3rd place. Is third place just the 2nd looser? The mighty England has only ever placed in the top four twice, winning one (1966) on their home turf and placing fourth (1990).

Speaking of home turf. And this is where things get interesting... 1/3 of the WCs have been one by the host country. Combine Brazil's wins with the host countries that have won and that gets you 61% of the winners. So the odds are on Brazil or the host. To me this is, well, crazy. Brazil did host once (a shoe in right?) but lost in the final (1950).

One thing Brazil doesn't have going for them is playing in the East. The one exception being the Korea / Japan WC in 2002. One other interesting thing to note is that the defending champion been successful twice (last time in 1950). I find that very interesting as well because so few teams have won.

So here are the things I looked at when filling out my own bracket this year.

1. Host Nation
2. Number of WCs won... Brazil
3. Defending champs (Sorry Italy)
4. Goals For and Goals Against differential
5. Number of games played

Here are some Did You Knows:

- 75 different countries or various forms thereof (looking at you again Czech) have made at least one WC

- 17 have only made it in once.

- No new countries made it in this year (unless you count Slovenia, again, looking at you Czech)

- Our top defending country this year is England (only .85 goals allowed p/Game)

- Top scoring team is Brazil at 2.18. But, believe it or not, in WC history Hungary (did not qualify this year) is the highest scoring team in WC history, 2.7 per game. And that is with 32 games played. Impressive.

- Snubs this year. Hungary.

- Also Sweden (46 games played in WC history), Russia (37), Belgium (36), Poland (31), Austria (29).

- Brazil and Germany are tied for most played at 92. Italy is next at 77. Then Argentina at 65 and then England at 55.

This has been a long post, i'm done for now. I'll post again with my predicted winners this year. I'm really putting my stats 101 to work!

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