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Football World Cup :  Inception 1930


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The Geek Predictor

The Football World Cup, since its inception in 1930 was not always played by teams who actually qualified for it, due to undue political interventions and boycotts. 1954 can be marked as the year when for the first time World Cup was actually played by teams who qualified for it, 36 teams entered the qualifiers and 16 of them entered the finals. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the only year in its long history when all the teams participating will have participated in the qualifiers, the hosts South Africa was required to play them since performance in these qualifiers was used as a benchmark for qualification towards African Cup of Nations. The Geek Predictor would use this as an opportunity to predict the winner analyzing the history of the results of the teams who participated in the qualifiers and went on to win the World Cup.

Since 1954, 14 World Cup tournaments have taken place where 4 were won by the hosts and 1 was won by holders Brazil in 1962. Thus, 9 World Cup tournaments were won by the team who actually participated in the qualifiers. Brazil, the winners of 1958 World Cup qualified for the finals by winning a virtual play-off against Peru after Venezuela withdrew from their group, thus 1958 World Cup qualifiers cannot be used for analysis and prediction of 2010 winners.


The Brazilian team of 1970 is incomparable to any other team ever to have graced the football pitch, and numbers do not lie either, the team had the best per match scoring rate of 3.75 and conceded only 0.33 goals per match, which gave them the best per match winning margin of 3.5 goals in qualifiers, which ranks best among all the teams that has ever won the World Cup.

The second best margin is held by West German team of 1954 at 2.25, and no winning team has been able to touch even 2 since then. If we could neglect the incomparable Brazilian team of 1970 we will find that the team that won the World Cup did not have best scoring or defensive average in the qualifiers or have the best per match winning margin, which would be the difference between average scored and average conceded per match. If we look closely, most of the winning teams would struggle to remain even in the top five in any of those standings of individual World Cup qualifiers.

On an average the team that goes on to win the World Cup have scored about 1 to 1.5 goals less than the best scoring team in the respective qualifiers with the average standing at about 1.25. At the same time the winning team would always concede an extra goal in every two matches more than the team with best defensive record in the qualifiers with the average standing at about 0.5. The World Cup winning team will also have a per match winning margin pruned by about a goal as compared to the team with best per match winning margin, the average in this case stands at about 1.5.

In the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, England with 3.4 goals per match stand at the top of the hit rate charts, with Holland boasting the best per match defensive record with the concession of a goal every 4 matches in the qualifiers. The best per match winning margin is also proudly held by England at 2.8 goals. As per the trends in previous World Cups the team that would win this World Cup would have scored an average of about 1.8-2.5 goals per match, conceded about 0.5-0.8 goals per match and hold a per match winning margin of about 1-1.5 goals. Only two teams fit all three ranges according to their optimal performance in the World Cup qualifiers, they are Serbia, who have scored 2.2 goals and conceded 0.8 goals per match, which gave them a per match winning margin of 1.4 goals and USA with 2.3 goals scored, 0.9 goals conceded and winning margin of 1.4 goals.

Serbia, who pushed France to play-offs boast of defenders like Branislav Ivanovic - who has been rated as best right back in premier league in the season just concluded and Nemanja Vidic - who is considered as one of the best central defenders in the world. They also have an experienced striker in the form of 29-year-old Zigic and midfielders Kacar and captain Stankovic, although they are in a tough group with Australia, Germany and Ghana, they can expect to come out of it and challenge other teams all the way to glory.

USA, with players like Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey can be expected to compete against any team. They start in a relatively easy group with freely scoring England, Slovenia and Algeria, which will allow them to ease into the tournament and possibly be the first non-European and non-South American team to take the coveted FIFA World Cup.

Contributing Author: Ramith Nair [email protected]

Please note : The views and opinion expressed in this article are purely that of the Contributing Author. Content does not take any responsibility for the same.





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