1-1 Mexico – South Africa
0-0 France – Uruguay
Before getting into the sims, it’s worth pointing out the basics here. Because of the two draws, 5 points is a magic number now. A win and a draw in the next two games for any of the four teams in Group A puts them through to the knockout round. Considering the closeness in quality of the top three teams in the group and the host country being the other team, advancement of any kind by any method is probably something any would sign up for in a heartbeat.
Under Domenech, France has been a fairly low scoring team and this tends to cause a lot more draws than normal. This makes them a team that tends to be stronger in knockout rounds than in group stages since the winning team gets more than twice the value of a draw in the group stages. Theoretically Mexico have hurt themselves by only taking one point from the hosts, but hosting really is greatly beneficial for whatever the reason.
There’s very little change in the sim results, and most of it is within the range of random chance. However the 6% increase in the chances South Africa has to advance and the balance of the 6% decrease for Mexico probably is meaningful. Mexico’s expected points from this one was 1.78 while South Africa’s was 0.94. France’s was 1.46 and Uruguay’s was 1.24. So while South Africa only got a slightly greater number of points than expected, all three of their opponents got less with Mexico leading the bunch.
So obviously there will be bigger movement in the odds to come, but it’s nice to have the tournament finally here.