Randomness, luck, and close calls
The FIFA 2022 World Cup starts the quarter finals tomorrow with two matches (Croatia vs Brazil at 1600 CET and Netherlands vs Argentina at 2000 CET). We are now entering the phase of the tournament in which Elo ranking means less and the peculiarities of the game begin. As a result we are publishing our final predictions of tournament. The Netherlands is still the model’s favourite and by late tomorrow night we will know whether the model’s favourite from the beginning can go all the way by beating Messi’s Argentina or the show stops. Portugal is the biggest gainer in terms of win probability as Morocco miraculously beat Spain as Portugal by far is the biggest favourite in that quarter final measured over 10,000 simulations. But remember on the actual game day anything can happen. It is football after all and luck plays a big role in outcomes in life and football.
After Netherlands and Portugal the model favours Argentina, Brazil and Croatia. France and England despite wonderful plays (the model cannot see that) are not favourites which have many of our colleagues and clients wondering what is wrong with model. If we were to adjust the model after its predictions we would probably shrink the win probabilities closer to each other reflecting how close it is from now on, but we are faithful to the model but also to commit to provide conviction. As a result, come on Netherlands!
The lessons using monte carlo simulations and adjusted Elo ratings are as follow. Our model’s lower win probability on Belgium compared to bookmakers was its biggest thing it got right where as its better than expected prospects for Denmark was its worst prediction. Its win probability prediction on Portugal which was almost twice consensus at the beginning of the tournament has also turned out to be correct. Elo ratings have mostly been reflective the true relative strength in this tournament based on the teams that have reached the quarter finals, but from now on everything can happen and numbers will mean nothing. So enjoy the remaining games everyone.