Well this Friday the big shindig starts in South Africa with the host country facing Mexico in the opening match. And so in anticipation of that, here are the final set of numbers before the tournament gets under way.
I waited until the final two friendlies were played as those affect the National Team Rankings a bit, and now that the next matches are the ones that really count, I can finalize my pre-tournament rankings. They can be found here.
With the rankings done, I then ran my standard set of 10,000 sims of the entire tournament and recorded the results. A table which details how far each team got and how often can be found here. Also available is a data dump which includes all 640,000 games from the 10,000 sims and that can be found here.
A few quick notes: Spain’s win chances jumped up a little, primarily because they’re obviously playing awfully well at the moment and that’s helped their ratings. Needless to say they have the best chances of any non previous winner. Two teams were shut out from the championship haul: North Korea and New Zealand, although each had a few 2nd place finishes. Africa’s best hope has taken a small hit in the rankings to go with the big injury hit to Drogba (whom the Ivory Coast has until 24 hours before their first game to replace on the roster if they so wish). What could have been a big opportunity for them seems to be going wrong at every turn: first with a brutal draw and now with an injury to their superstar.
Speaking of injuries, other than their effects on recent friendly results, obviously the rankings can’t really know the current injury situation and I wouldn’t begin to know how to make precise adjustments to them if I wanted to. It’s always worth remembering that you need to be an awfully good player to even be a backup for England or Italy or the Ivory Coast. So sometimes injuries don’t hurt teams as much as you might think. Of course sometimes they do. Make whatever mental adjustments you deem appropriate when considering teams hit by the injury bug. But I’d suggest not to overdo it.
Later on today (or tomorrow for those outside of the Americas), I’ll be posting the predicted results of every match of the group stages, and these will be derived rather than from sims.
Finally I’ll leave you with this commercial currently airing here in the United States featuring the best American player, Landon Donovan: