Friday 13 July 2018

Collovati Calamity

Just like that, it's not coming home after all, and England have a second match against Belgium in which neither country really cares who wins. Sure, there's an extra $2 million in prize money, but that's not likely to make a difference to how the match is played.

All but the inaugural World Cup has featured this third-place play off, while six Euros played this game before it was abandoned after 1980 when 18 penalties were needed to separate Czechoslovakia from Italy, and tournament organisers were beginning to get concerned that next day's final might have to be delayed.  At sometime around 3:27am, Fulvio Collovati's kick was saved, and the remaining crowd of 37 mostly friends and families of the players, trudged out into the shortest Neapolitan night of the year.

The 24 matches have an average number of goals of exactly 3.5, and consequently only four matches went to Extra-Time, with only the aforementioned 1980 game going to penalties. 10 of the last 12 third place matches saw goals for both teams. 

Since this game is not considered a knockout game, it's perhaps not surprising that the trends of fewer goals in recent seasons seen in knockout games is completely reversed in this oddity. The first 12 games averaged 3.25 goals per game, while the most recent 12 have seen an average of 3.75 goals per game.

Contrast these numbers with the Final match, which tends to be taken a little more seriously. Of 35 World Cup and Euro Finals, 13 went to Extra-Time, while four went to either a replay or penalties. Over half the matches were level at Half-Time, and the average goals per game was a more modest 2.74. 

From 1994, i.e. the last 12 Final matched, the average per game is 1.42 goals with seven games going to Extra-Time, and nine level at Half-Time. 13 of the last 17 losers failed to score. 

If you backed the Draw in the Semi-Finals you would again be in profit after a Half-Time Draw on Tuesday and a Full-Time Draw on Wednesday. 

No 0:0 scores at 90 minutes in this year's knockout rounds so far, the last time that happened in World Cups without second group stages was 1966, but plenty of 1:1s at an implied price of 2.8. 

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