The ball and the numbers are not enemies. On the contrary. A group of thesis students and professors from the UBA created for Russia 2018 the platform 301060, in whose essence two passions that were not at all antagonistic were mixed. Can the results of a match be predicted? Well, the same researchers returned to work on the subject to project the World Cup in Qatar.
“Mathematics is everywhere, and soccer is no exception. The most trivial thing can be counting goals, measuring the time of a match, ordering the standings. But there may be other possible interventions. Some are a little more complex, how to calculate the decline averages, and others much more complex such as (…) develop a mathematical model to obtain probable results for a world championship. The latter is about 301060″, the site introduces.
Before continuing, what is expected of the National Team against the Netherlands. According to 301060, Argentina has a 57.94% probability of accessing the semifinal… The other quarterfinal matches? England 55% vs France 45%. Brazil 76% vs. Croatia 24% and Portugal 55% vs. Morocco 45%.
The calculations, updated to December 6, indicate that after Argentina has a 13.07% probability of winning the World Cup. According to this mathematical model, the great candidate is Brazil with 32.54% and then England with 14.99%.
“Site 301060 consists of putting into operation mathematical models that take as input the recent history of the results obtained by the teams that participate in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. These models are “run” (meaning that they are put into operation to carry out the calculations predefined) in high-performance computers with which the probabilities of the different outcomes of each game can be estimated.Given these calculations, the tournament is simulated millions of times to approximate the probabilities of the possible partial or final results“, they explain in 301060.
Scaloni’s team started the World Cup with an 8.8% chance of winning. Guillermo Durán, the project director, explains it: “Let’s say that in the last runs made by the boys who implemented and executed the model, it gave almost close to 9%. It means that If 11 World Cups were played, Argentina would win one in probabilistic terms. 11 times 9 gives 99, that’s where the numbers are. If we think that it has been seven World Cups since he won it, perhaps we are close. Where do these numbers come from? We take the data from the last 8 years of all the teams that participate in the World Cup and with that we have an attack force and a defense force for each team.. Then when they face each other in a match we will have the attack strength and defense strength of team A and the attack strength and defense strength of team B. That gives a certain probability of a result from each match and with that the World Cup is simulated. It is done a million times, the more times it is done, the closer one is to having a certain valid empirical probability to know what probability each country has of passing the round of reaching the quarterfinals of reaching the semifinals of reaching the final or to become champion”, Durán explains in one of the explanatory videos.
How is the probability of Argentina being a finalist calculated?
“To calculate the World Cup odds, we simulate the tournament 1 million times and keep track of how far each team reached. Then we add the number of times Argentina reached the final and divide by the number of tournament simulations. That’s why we say it’s an ’empirical probability'”.
How do you calculate the probability that, for example, Argentina beat Mexico 2-0?
Once we have the database with the matches weighted as explained above, using a computer-aided mathematical model, we calculate the attacking and defending ‘strength’ of both teams. In this way, we can obtain the probabilities that Argentina will score 2 goals against Mexico and that they will not receive any. Technically, the probability that Argentina will score x goals against Mexico follows a Poisson distribution with parameter Argentina’s attacking strength multiplied by Mexico’s defending strength (the higher this value is, the weaker the defense, unlike what happens with the attacking strength), while the probability that Mexico scores and goals against Argentina follows a Poisson distribution with the parameter of Mexico’s attacking strength multiplied by Argentina’s defending strength. All the possible results of that match are calculated (reasonably limiting the number of goals that a team can score or receive).