Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick and Dirty 2010 World Cup projections

These projections are based on nothing more than Massey Ratings and other basic knowledge of the FIFA pecking order. As with any projections, these are simple percentage-based projections and as always numerous variables can change the projected outcome. But yeah, it's Spain's World Cup to lose ;P

Group Play. In the event of ties for the 2nd qualification spot in a group, obviously the selected team is projected to have a greater overall goal differential.

Group A:

Mexico (3) over South Africa
France (1) and Uruguay (1) draw
Uruguay (4) over South Africa
Mexico (4) and France (2) draw
Uruguay (5) and Mexico (5) draw
France (5) over South Africa

Qualifiers: Uruguay and France

Group B:

Argentina (3) over Nigeria
South Korea (3) over Greece
Nigeria (1) and Greece (1) draw
Argentina (6) over South Korea (3)
South Korea (6) over Nigeria (1)
Argentina (9) over Greece (1)

Qualifiers: Argentina and South Korea

Group C:

England (3) over United States
Slovenia (3) over Algeria
Slovenia (4) and United States (1) draw
England (6) over Algeria
England (9) over Slovenia (4)
United States (4) over Algeria

Qualifiers: England and United States

Group D:

Germany (3) over Australia
Serbia (3) over Ghana
Germany (6) over Serbia (3)
Australia (3) over Ghana
Germany (9) over Ghana
Australia (4) and Serbia (4) draw

Qualifiers: Germany and Serbia

Group E:

Netherlands (3) over Denmark
Japan (1) and Cameroon (1) draw
Netherlands (6) over Japan (1)
Denmark (3) over Cameroon (1)
Denmark (6) over Japan (1)
Netherlands (9) over Cameroon (1)

Qualifiers: Netherlands and Denmark

Group F:

Italy (3) over Paraguay
New Zealand (1) and Slovakia (1) draw
Paraguay (3) over Slovakia (1)
Italy (6) over New Zealand (1)
Italy (9) over Slovakia (1)
Paraguay (6) over New Zealand (1)

Qualifiers: Italy and Paraguay

Group G:

Portugal (3) over Cote d'Ivoire
Brazil (3) over North Korea
Brazil (6) over Cote d'Ivoire
Portugal (6) over North Korea
Cote d'Ivoire (3) over North Korea
Brazil (9) over Portugal (6)

Qualifiers: Brazil and Portugal

Group H:

Chile (3) over Honduras
Spain (3) over Switzerland
Chile (6) over Switzerland
Spain (6) over Honduras
Honduras (1) and Switzerland (1) draw
Spain (9) over Chile (6)

Qualifiers: Spain and Chile

Elimination matches. Asterisks note projections of doubt. These matches are very close and a break here or there would easily sway the outcome the other way, not to mention the variables in extra time and penalty kicks.

2nd round:

Uruguay over South Korea*
England over Serbia
Netherlands over Paraguay
Brazil over Chile
Argentina over France
Germany over United States
Italy over Denmark*
Spain over Portugal


England over Uruguay
Brazil over Netherlands
Germany over Argentina*
Spain over Italy


Brazil over England*
Spain over Germany


Spain over Brazil*

Brief thoughts:

- Host country South Africa will not only get shut out in Group A play, they probably won't even score a goal. They, however, won't finish 32nd of the 32 teams: North Korea has no business in this tournament and their best chance at scoring a goal (not winning: They have little to no chance of even drawing any of their matches) will be their Group G final with Cote d'Ivoire. But there's about a 50/50 chance they don't score in that match either: Cote d'Ivoire, meanwhile, has a reasonable shot at 2 goals in that match, and they're not particularly good themselves. North Korea is just that bad.

- Cameroon, a favorite pick to make it out of Group E, will likely draw with Japan, will be lucky to earn a draw with Denmark (but is likely to lose) and probably won't score against the Netherlands, but will definitely give up at least a goal and maybe 2. In other words, advancement not likely.

- Brazil and Argentina aren't going to be the only South American teams in the 2nd round. Chile and Paraguay should easily make it out of their groups, albeit as the 2nd team in both cases. Paraguay can easily beat Slovakia and New Zealand in Group F, while Chile should have little trouble with Honduras and Switzerland in Group H.

- The U.S. has little margin for error but they can probably get out of Group C as the #2 team. They will probably draw with Slovenia, and if they hold serve by beating Algeria they will probably get into the 2nd round not by goal differential but by goals scored. They have a better offense than Slovenia.

- South Africa aside, Group A has a serious chance of ending with three teams at 5 points. Uruguay, France and Mexico are all good teams that could play each other to a stalemate, which I suppose makes this the 2010 World Cup's edition of the Group of Death. Uruguay has the best offense of the three and one of the better defenses in Group A. France's offense is the least of the three but their defense is best in the group. Mexico's weaker defense could leave them as the odd team out, especially if they continue their World Cup tradition of coddling the ball and playing keep away for 90+ minutes: They don't have the defensive team to make that strategy work this year.

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