Saturday, December 7, 2013

World Cup prediction for the quarterfinals

The World Cup will be played in Brazil in 2014, if all the stadia can be built in time. (With Brazil as host in 2014, Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, we could easily be looking at three disasters in a row, with 2022 almost certain to go down as the worst World Cup of all time.) The draw was yesterday, and as always, fans from some countries feel like they got hosed.

The toughest groups are for the most part considered to be Group B, Group D and Group G. When there are three teams that look good enough to be in the round of 16, the popular nickname is a Group of Death. If Group B, the three teams are Spain, Netherlands and Chile. In Group D, it's Uruguay, England and Italy. In Group G, Germany looks a cinch to qualify, but Portugal and the United States will fight for the second spot. (The U.S. also has a history of tough games against Ghana. My friend Art, a fan of football and the show Farscape, calls the U.S. draw We're So Screwed, Parts 1, 2 and 3, in honor of three episodes from the last season of the Australian sci-fi series.)

What I would like to point out is the weakness of Groups C and H. The rules stipulate four of these teams will be in the round of 16, but my prediction is that at most one will make it to the quarterfinals, and that team will be Colombia. Group C's winner and runner-up will face the runner-up and winner from group D respectively, and Groups G and H have a similar reciprocal schedule. Because the tournament is in South America, I think Colombia might have a chance should they win Group C against whoever comes in second in Group D, but I predict here that no other team out of the other seven, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan, Belgium, Algeria, Russia or South Korea, will win a game after the Group rounds are over.

I'll be back in early July to state if I got this right or not.


  1. Note that the teams in each group are listed in order of the pots from which they were drawn, with the teams from Pot A in the top row and the ones from Pot D in the bottom row. Pot A usually holds the host and the seven best regarded qualifiers, but that didn't happen for 2014.

    Why? Because instead of taking the time to actually determine those Big 7 qualifiers, FIFA just read off the seven names (other than Brazil) off the top of its own rankings. That explains what Colombia and Switzerland are doing in the top row, as opposed to, say, Italy and the Netherlands.

    I want what the geniuses behind the FIFA rankings have been smoking all these years.

  2. Nate Silver has given USA a 39.6% chance of advancing.

    1. Yeah, I know, and Portugal is just a hair's breadth better. I think Portugal, barring injuries, should be a favorite over the U.S. by a wide margin to advance.