Winning the World Cup is about 90% luck

Italy wasn’t the best team in World Cup 2006. They were certainly the luckiest though.

Here’s a fact I haven’t fact-checked but I’m 95% sure of: a European country has never won outside of Europe. Crazy, huh? Especially considering that the only non-Euro countries to win the World Cup are Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay (1930 and 1950).

The Euro teams aren’t doing great so far. France is all but eliminated. England and Germany pretty much have to win to advance. Italy tied New Zealand, which is down there with North Korea for this year’s worst teams.

Holland, Argentina, and Brazil have two wins. Wins are harder to obtain that it sometimes seems, of course. Holland has won its games in very non-Holland like ways. Meaning, they have won ugly, which is not something Holland traditionally knows how to do. That makes me feel better about picking them to win the Cup…although some of that is probably just my emotional reaction to the horrible managers Argentina and Brazil have.

If the bracket stays the way it has been (a huge assumption! final game of group play means everything!), all the world powers will be on one side and Argentina will be on the other, meaning that Argentina has a pretty clear run to the finals. By contrast, Holland would have Italy first, then Brazil/Spain, then England/Germany/Uruguay. Or in other words, yikes!

The better team winning any football match is never more than 80% or so once you get to a certain level of equality. Get 2 relatively evenly matched teams and you are essentially just flipping coins.


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