The footballing world descends on Brazil in a few days to see who will have bragging rights for the next four years. Who will be the 2014 World Cup champions? Our statistical analysis of the field shows starts here, with a look at who will come out on top in the Group Phase and advance to the 16-team elimination round.
The Group Phase
Group A has Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, and Cameroon. Since the World Cup in their backyard, Group A is the first chapter in the story of Brazil against the world. Expect them to come out on top. If you calculate any kind of home field advantage into this mix, Brazil is guaranteed a berth in the elimination round. Mexico will make it through with them.
Group B contains Spain, the Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Add them all up and you’re looking at the toughest group in the entire tournament. Spain and the Netherlands look to advance.
Group C Colombia has 75% chance of advancing, the safe bet. With Greece and Ivory Coast in a dead heat it’s almost impossible to say which of the two move on. The figures say it will be Greece by a fraction of a point.
Group D contains the most closely matched teams facing off. England vs Italy is going to be a street fight. There could be a tiebreaker, but expect Uruguay and England to advance. Costa Rica is statistically not a contender.
Group E, made up of France, Ecuador, Switzerland and Honduras aren’t the most exciting four teams around, but France’s upset against Ukraine makes them a nice story to follow. They have a 70% chance to move up. Ecuador and Switzerland are another toss up, but Ecuador has the edge. Honduras is unlikely to get out of the round.
Group F has Argentina, and Argentina is a lock to move on. Between Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria we’re looking at a level playing field that could involve a tiebreaker. We’re going with Bosnia-Herzegovina to take the second slot.
Group G: Germany, USA, Portugal and Ghana. It’s a group with teams all coming off of better seasons, but none of them will outplay Germany, who have only a 6% chance of not advancing. Because Portugal is also such a strong team, odds are that the United States does not move up.
Group H is probably the worst selection in the entire Cup: Russia, Belgium, South Korea and Algeria. Look for Russia and Belgium to come out on top.
Up next, find out who will make it out of the group of 16, onto the quarterfinals and into the record books.
16-Team Elimination Round
The winners of the group phase move on to the 16-team elimination round.
Home favorite Brazil will probably face off against the Netherlands, and with the boost from the home crowd, they’re likely to win against that team. Germany will easily advance playing Belgium or Russia.
France now will face a challenge in this round as it meets Bosnia-Herzegovina. The numbers predict that these teams both have an equal chance of advancing or being eliminated. England does move on, as does Portugal, Argentina and Colombia.
According to our model, by the quarterfinals in this World Cup, only the best teams are left. Brazil will still be there and they probably won’t be stopped in the quarterfinals either. Yet again, England won’t advance into the semifinals. Also out of this round will be Portugal, Colombia and France.
It’s a story of four teams: Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain. At this point if you aren’t rooting for Brazil you probably live in Germany, Argentina or Spain. Spain is the underdog in all of these matchups, and will only progress to the finals in the event of a huge upset.
And the Winner Is…
We’re calling it for Brazil. The percentage of wins in the model we looked at show them on top more than half of all the outcomes. Some of this overall performance comes from factoring in a home field advantage, but that’s a real metric to take into account. Their opponent will probably be Argentina, but there’s a fair chance it could be Germany as well. In either case Brazil comes out on top. We believe Brazil will win the World Cup in 2014. What’s your bet and why? Tell us in the comments below…