Saturday, 10 July 2010

World Cup Final

A perfect outcome in the third place match with Overs and Germany both coming in for a nice pay day. That's nine consecutive overs, and eight consecutive third place finishes for UEFA countries.

The final is a little tougher to call.

I have read that Spain are on a run of eight consecutive 1-0 wins in knock-out matches, but this is incorrect. True, they have won all three such games at this World Cup by that score, but prior to that they lost 0-2 to the United States in the 2009 Confederations Cup - the game that ended their record runs of consecutive wins and without defeat. They did win the Euro 2008 final 1-0, but their other knock-out wins that year were 3-0 over Russia in the semi-finals and a win on penalties over Italy in the quarter-finals after a 0-0 draw.

Nevertheless, Spain do not concede many goals in these matches. The only game where they did was v USA, a game where Spain dominated the statistics, but lost. The USA had two shots on goal that game, and scored both. Spain had 29 shots, 8 on goal, won the corners 17-3, and had 56% of possession.

Spain to keep a clean sheet are 2.42, Spain to Win to Nil are 3.35. 3 of 6 finals since 1986 have been 0-0 at Half-Time, two have gone to Extra-Time, two have been decided on Penalties, and 67% were Under 2.5 goals. Including recent Euro finals, and the numbers are 60%, 40%, 20% and 80% respectively. Round numbers as you might expect from a small sample.

Under 2.5 goals at 1.6 looks value with the 0-0 at Half-Time worth a bet at 2.44. The Elo ratings and the bookmakers have Spain as favourites at 1.59 but there's not too much between the teams and I'm sticking with the Netherlands, ideally winning on penalties after a 0-0 draw. For those who took my pre-tournament tip of the Netherlands at 10.0, go Green-All-Over after the first semi-final, or now if you haven't already!

The Netherlands have been in one World Cup shoot-out losing to Brazil in the 1998 Semi-Finals, while Spain have been in three, losing twice (to Belgium and South Korea) and winning once (v Ireland).


Handy Andy said...

My prediction is HT 1-0 Netherlands. FT 2-1 Netherlands with a nice little double of Netherlands and overs.

JoshTarner said...

Looks like Handy Andy got it wrong!! I also wanted to see the Dutch win, but after the first 20 minutes realised (A) that the Dutch were playing like thugs and (B) that Spain pass the ball around beautifully! In the end the better footballers won. As for the debate about the referee - I think he a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances.