Okay so now we know exactly which teams will play each other in the Group Stages and where the teams that advance will go in the bracket.
How has that changed things?
Team Whose Chances of Winning Have Been Helped
England = 144 extra wins, Paraguay = 48, France = 45, USA = 23, Japan = 23. The reasoning behind England and the USA is pretty obvious. They drew the weakest teams in Pots 3 and 4 and also are in the opposite half of the draw of Brazil, Spain and the Dutch in the knockout stages avoiding either at least until the semi-finals. Couldn’t have gone better for either team. For Paraguay the reason of course is again the weak group. Although after that it gets considerably more difficult, Paraguay (unlike Italy) was one of the teams who faced serious threats to go down during the group stages. That now is a much easier task for them. Frances draw was a mixed bag, drawing the hosts who are thought to be weak even with home-field, but then picking up two very strong Latin American teams who can give them great difficulty. They too benefit from dodging the top three teams in the early knockout stages. As for Japan? As best as I can tell that’s just random chance (it’s a low enough number). They were a little more likely to make it out of the group, but less likely every other step until the final. I’d read nothing into that number.
Team Whose Chances of Winning Have Been Hurt
Brazil = 109 less times, Spain = 101, Côte d’Ivoire = 32, Chile = 25, Switzerland = 22. Brazil’s difficulties are obvious. An easy game against the North Koreans followed by a whole bunch of talent in the other two group matches followed by a stronger half of the draw in the knockout stages. Spain has no one as difficult as either of Brazil’s big group opponents, but no one as easy as North Korea either. Honduras is in the top 40 teams in the world probably and they are Spain’s weakest opponent. Spain and Brazil also run the risk of facing each other in the first knockout game should either one not win the group. Not a good draw for the two favorites. Obviously that’s not a good draw for Côte d’Ivoire as they drew two teams stronger than they are and the strongest team in the world. That’s two straight bad draws for them, but they are very capable of making it out of this anyway and interestingly both Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire’s chances of advancing out of the group increased (due to North Korea’s very long chances of advancing). The Chileans and Swiss also got hit with a tough group, drawing the Spanish and two other very capable teams. They further are staring down the barrel of a potential matchup with Brazil should they advance in 2nd place.
Team Whose Chances of Advancing Have Been Helped
USA = 45% increase (44.37% to 64.39%), Slovakia = 33%, Paraguay = 32%, Italy = 18%, New Zealand = 16%. The system seems to have rendered judgment on that particular group in a harsh fashion. England, Slovenia and Algeria are also 6th, 7th and 8th on this score. Clearly the system believes Group F and Group C are the weakest groups and easiest to advance from. It’s hard to argue. Group C has the weakest teams from Pots 3 and 4. Group F has the second weakest seeded team, the second weakest from Pot 4, the weakest team in the tournament and Paraguay.
Team Whose Chances of Advancing Have Been Hurt
North Korea = 52% decrease (10.80% to 5.16%), South Africa = 40%, Switzerland = 19%, Honduras = 16%, Cameroon = 13%. North Korea got good and whacked by the draw. They’re very respectable defensive strength apparently allows them to still advance 5% of the time, but that seems awfully high. South Africa got the worst possible draw they could get, drawing the strongest teams in each of the other 3 pots. The Swiss and the Hondurans loss are a neutral fan’s gain as that really should be a fantastic group. Not only are all of the teams good quality, but they all play an entertaining brand of football. I’m not sure I’d read too much into Cameroon there. It’s possible like Japan above it’s just a random thing (indeed their bad luck might be the balance to Japan’s good luck in the sims).
Now that everything is set, I’ll continue to update the National Team rankings, try and track how these odds compare with bookie odds, take a few more looks at how the system works and how it can be improved and everything else I can think of between now and next June. Hope you’ve enjoyed this so far, I have.