December 2nd, 2017

The World Cup Groups have been defined:

We highlight in yellow the best teams in each Group according to the FIFA ranking of October 2017. In parentheses we specify the position in that ranking. Mathematically, these teams should qualify for the Round of 16; however, as we explained in the first part of the article, making use of central tendencies we know that this will not be the case. Checking the data of the Group Stage presented in the supplementary information, we can answer the following questions and obtain conclusions for the coming World Cup.

  1. In which position in the FIFA ranking is the weakest team of the Round of 16?
World Cup Team FIFA ranking (October) → FIFA ranking (May)
Brazil 2014 Nigeria 33→43
South Africa 2010 South Korea 48→47
Germany 2006 Australia
Ghana
54→42
51→48
Korea-Japan 2002 Senegal  65→42

Conclusion:

  • The qualified teams are below the 50th position in the FIFA ranking of May. That is to say, in the coming World Cup, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Russia will definitely not qualify for the Round of 16, unless they improve in the FIFA ranking from October (8 months before the World Cup) till May (one month before the World Cup).

2. In how many Groups the best two teams in the FIFA ranking qualified for the Round of 16?

World Cup FIFA ranking (October) FIFA ranking (May)
Brazil 2014 3/8 2/8
South Africa 2010 2/8 3/8
Germany 2006 3/8 3/8
Korea-Japan 2002 3/8  4/8

Conclusion:

  • In Russia 2018, it is likely that only in 3 Groups the best teams in the FIFA ranking will qualify for the next round.

3. In total, how many teams that qualified for the Round of 16 were the best teams in the FIFA ranking?

A detailed analysis of this question was given in the first part of the article. Here we show the final results.

World Cup FIFA ranking (October) FIFA ranking (May)
Brazil 2014 11/16 10/16
South Africa 2010 10/16 11/16
Germany 2006 10/16 10/16
Korea-Japan 2002 11/16  12/16

Conclusion:

  • In Russia 2018, 11 teams, ranked in the best places in the FIFA ranking, will qualify for the Round of 16.

4. How many European teams qualify for the Round of 16?

World Cup Teams
Brazil 2014 6
South Africa 2010 6
Germany 2006 10
Korea-Japan 2002 8

Conclusion:

  • In Russia 2018, 6 to 10 European teams will qualify for the Round of 16.

Considering the conclusions given above, we show below the forecast for the Round of 16 in Russia 2018:

We highlight those teams that advance for the Round of 16. In yellow are those teams that are expected to advance and in green the surprises. These teams, according to the FIFA ranking of October 2017, are grouped as follow:

POT 1 POT 2 POT 3 POT 4
1. Germany 10. Peru 21. Iceland 41. Nigeria
2. Brazil 11. Switzerland 22. Costa Rica 43. Australia
3. Portugal 12. England 25. Sweden 44. Japan
4. Argentina 13.Colombia 28. Tunisia 48. Morocco
5. Belgium 16. Mexico 30. Egypt 49. Panama
6. Poland 17. Uruguay 32. Senegal 62. South Korea
7. France 18. Croatia 34. Iran 65. Saudi Arabia
8. Spain 19. Denmark 38. Serbia 68. Russia

In pot 1 are the best teams, in pot 4 the weakest team. Why we do this is explained in the first part of the article. As you can see, some teams changed with respect to the results published previously. This is due to the new trends obtained once the World Cup Groups were defined. In May 2018 a new FIFA ranking will be published, this will alter our results and will give us a final forecast based on new trends. We will update this article by then.

Among the curious facts that you should consider for the future are:

  1. If Russia does not improve in the FIFA ranking, Egypt or Saudi Arabia will qualify instead.
  2. If Denmark improves until May, Peru won’t qualify for the Round of 16.

 

Christian Ortiz PhD