Friday, 29 June 2018

An Average Start

The average number of goals per group in a 32 team World Cup before this year was 122. This year's total was 122.

England's Group G set a record for most goals in a group, its 24 goals beating the previous high of 22.

The brackets are now set, and only one possibility of a repeat World Cup Final, which is that of Brazil v Sweden. 

Updated from an article I had published four years ago, here is a look at the Round of 16.

Once the knockout stages are reached, it is probably not surprising that, with avoiding defeat the priority, the average goals declines to 2.1 per game in the Round of 16.

As with the opening round of matches, the most frequent score is 1-0, (20%), followed by 1-1 (17.5%) and 0-0 (15%).

65% of matches are Under 2.5 goals, an implied price of 1.54.

In the last five Rounds of 16, just six matches have been lop-sided, with half of those won by Brazil: 1998 Brazil 4 Chile 1, Denmark 4 Nigeria 1; 2002 England 3 Denmark 0; 2006 Brazil 3 Ghana 0; 2010 Brazil 3 Chile 0, Germany 4 England 1

The Round of 16 for the most part sees closely fought matches. Fourteen matches in total, and at least two in each tournament, have gone to extra-time, and six of those to penalties. In 2014, five of the eight games needed extra-time. The implied draw price is 2.85, and at the time of writing, this outcome in the Uruguay v Portugal game is around 2.97.

Hard to get much more of a three-sided coin toss than these prices!
Three matches are a UEFA v CONMEBOL fixture, with honours even at 3-3 in previous Round of 16 match-ups, while a CONMEBOL team has never lost at this stage against a CONCACAF team. The second most lop-sided tie this year is Brazil v Mexico, who have been eliminated at this stage in all five 32-team World Cups.

The most lop-sided tie is Belgium v Japan, not too surprising given that no AFC team has survived this round, other than hosts South Korea who needed a Golden Goal and some dubious refereeing to get past Italy in 2002.

After no all-UEFA ties in 2014, there are three this year, all in the same 'European' half of the bracket. 8 of the previous 12 match-ups have been decided by one goal or fewer, but only two have gone to extra-time.

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