Feeds

World Cup: Holland to win, Spain to slump

We know the score. Yes

Intelligent flash storage arrays

World Cup Stats Spain is chewing on the chorizo of defeat thanks to Switzerland's 1-0 victory yesterday, and history shows this result is a major setback.

In the last 40 years only one top 10 team has won a World Cup group after an opening game defeat. Only four have finished in the top two. The tournament favourites Spain now face a serious group H struggle to move to the next round.

But should Spain really have been the tournament favourites? They were according to bookies and pundits, but the UK's top soccer statistician has Holland as the top team, after its form in the final set of friendly matches saw it sneak past Spain and Brazil.

Dr Ian McHale is Senior Lecturer in Statistics in the University of Salford. He and his team are also behind the Actim Index, which is the official ratings system of the English Premier League. This is an objective rating of players using official match statistics, not one based on subjective notions such as flair - not to be confused with the Sky-linked Opta Index.

McHale did some modelling of the teams in the lead-up to the World Cup. He used an 'ordered probit' model (an ordered regression model, stats fans) to estimate the probability of the three outcomes of a match - whether the result will be a win, a draw or a loss.

You can mark his working out here in an article he wrote for the Institution of Engineering and Technology. This doesn't include his final number crunch on the World Cup which put Holland top.

The Reg caught up with Dr McHale at half time during the Spain – Switzerland game. At the time he was saying “It's beautiful to watch, Spain do know what they're doing”, and hypothesising that someone like Owen Hargreaves would have been better for marking Spain's Xavi out of the game, than Frank Lampard.

His model only uses the results of previous International games, the number of goals scored, and and location of game. Weighting comes from Fifa's database of team rankings.

Things that favour a team are: if they're at home; or haven't travelled too far; are ranked higher than the opposition; if they're an improving team according to ranking; the seriousness of the game (friendly or major tournament - better teams take major tournaments more seriously); and if they've been winning recently.

“I've got a database of 9,000 international match results over an eight-year period,” he says, viewing his research as a way of showing statistics can be interesting, and seeing whether the “market is efficient”.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: And the list is...

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.