World Cup Data Analysis: Part II – Evaluation of Performance by Country

By @k2thedubs

To download the PDF document in full, click here – World Cup White Paper.

 

Exhibit H: Results by Country from 1990 – 2014

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The table above is a visual analysis of World Cup results by country since 1990.

Exhibit I: Aggregate Stats by Country Based on Results from 1990 – 2014

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Based on a ranking analysis of eight criteria[1], I divided the 37 nations who have made three or more of the past seven World Cups into cohorts of similar performance.

Cohort # 1: Powerhouses with Multiple World Cup Victories

Mild Surprise – Germany Clearly Ahead of Brazil

  • I was expecting the top spot to be closer, but Germany is superior to Brazil on all criteria.
  • That being said, Brazil is clearly head and shoulders above every other country on all criteria.

Cohort # 2: Global Powers with Repeated Successes and at Least One Finals Appearance

Usual Suspects – Difficult to Find Much Separation Between the Teams

  • There is not much differentiation on any criteria between the teams in this cluster which features all the usual suspects after cohort #1.
  • It’s interesting to note the similarities in certain categories.
    • 18-20 wins for Italy, Argentina, the Netherlands, and Spain (France with fewer wins given their DNQs in 1990 and 1994).
    • 20-25 Goal Differential for all five teams.
    • 52%-58% Winning Percentage for all five teams.
    • 17%-23% Losing Percentage for all five teams.
    • 84-1.94 Points per game for all five teams.

Cohort # 3: Contenders with Positive Track Record and Ability to Advance to Later Rounds

History of Strong Performances at the World Cup

  • This group begins to show disparities on certain categories though the teams are largely similar.
    • Some teams have few (Romania, 3) and some teams have many (England, 6 and Mexico, 6) World Cup appearances.
    • All teams have at least five wins and no teams have a losing record except Sweden who is one game under .500 (5-6-7).
    • England and Sweden have the highest Tie Percentage (39%) in the top 20 teams.
    • Mexico and Sweden have the lowest Winning Percentage (Mexico, 33% and Sweden, 28%) of the cohort.
    • All teams have a single digit positive Goal Differential.

Cohort # 4: Noisemakers Who Don’t Always Qualify but Show Well When They Do

History of Above-Average Performances at the World Cup

  • This group consists of only a few teams and is mostly similar.
    • All teams have 4-6 wins and a record either .500 or 1-2 games under .500.

Cohort # 5: Hodgepodge of Countries Characterized by Mediocre, Albeit Volatile, Performance

History of Below-Average Performances at the World Cup

  • This group has some minor disparities but is mostly similar.
    • All teams have five or fewer wins and a Winning Percentage at 33% or less except for Ecuador (40%).
    • All teams have a Losing Percentage between 40%-60% except for Ireland (23%) and South Africa (33%).
    • No teams have a positive Goal Differential (Ireland and Russia at 0).

Cohort # 6: Laggards with Limited to No Success at the World Cup

History of Dreadful Performances at the World Cup

  • This group is smaller and has largely similar performance.
    • All teams have two or fewer wins and a Winning Percentage of 20% or less.
    • All teams have a Losing Percentage of 60% or greater
    • All teams have (1.0) Goal Differential per game or worse.
    • All teams have 0.80 Points per game or fewer.

Exhibit J: Advancement Stats by Country Based on Results from 1990 – 2014

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Consistent Dominance

  • Germany has made the Quarter-Finals or better in each of the last 7 World Cups.
  • Brazil has made the Quarter-Finals or better in 6 of the last 7 World Cups and advanced out of the Group Stages in each of the last 7 World Cups.

Volatile Performance from World Cup Winners

  • Italy won the 2006 World Cup, finished second in 1994, and finished third in 1990. They also failed to advance from the Group Stages in 2010 and 2014 and failed to qualify for 2018.
  • France won the 1998 World Cup and finished second in 2006. Prior to winning the 1998 World Cup, they failed to qualify for consecutive World Cups in 1990 and 1994. They also failed to advance from the Group Stages in 2010.

Trends from Other Strong Performers

  • Argentina has made the Quarter-Finals or better in 5 of the last 7 World Cups and advanced out of the Group Stages in 6 of the last 7 World Cups. They have finished second twice – in 1990 and 2014.
  • Netherlands has advanced out of the Group Stages in each of the most recent 6 World Cups in which they participated and made the Semi-Finals or better in 3 of these 6 World Cups. They failed to qualify for the 2002 and 2018 World Cups.
  • Spain has only advanced beyond the Quarter-Finals once, winning the World Cup in 2010. Their reputation as attractive style of play but lack of killer instinct (other than 2010) certainly holds as they boast impressive statistics but have only reached the Quarter-Finals three times.

Other Notable Highlights

  • England has advanced out of the Group Stages in 5 of the 6 World Cups in which they participated but have only advanced to the Semi-Finals once (in 1990).
  • Belgium has advanced out of the Group Stages in 4 of the 5 World Cups in which they participated but have only advanced to the Quarter-Finals once (in 2014).
  • Mexico has advanced to and been eliminated in six consecutive Round of 16’s. Consistent!

Countries with One Special Run

  • Croatia finished third in 1998 but have not advanced out of the Group Stages in any other World Cup.
  • Sweden finished third in 1994 but have not advanced past the Round of 16 since, even missing 3 of the 6 World Cups.

Countries with Strong Performance in Few Appearances

  • Chile has reached the Round of 16 in each of the 3 World Cups in which they participated.
  • Ireland has advanced out of the Group Stages in each of the 3 World Cups in which they participated, making 2 Round of 16’s and 1 Quarter-Finals.

Countries with Poor Advancement Records

  • Russia has failed to advance from the Group Stages in each of the 4 World Cups in which they participated.
  • Ivory Coast has failed to advance from the Group Stages in each of the 3 World Cups in which they participated.
  • South Korea has been eliminated in the Group Stages in each of the last 7 World Cups except for 2002 (played in South Korea and Japan) where they finished fourth and 2010 (played in South Africa) where they reached the Round of 16.
  • Japan has mirrored South Korea. They have been eliminated in the Group Stages in each of the last 5 World Cups in which they participated except for 2002 (played in South Korea and Japan) and 2010 (played in South Africa) where they reached the Round of 16.

Exhibit K: Cumulative Advancement Stats by Country Based on Results from 1990 – 2014

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Exhibit L: Advancement Timeline by Country Based on Results from 1990 – 2014

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This table shows a timeline of country performance from 1990 2014. I have included some notable storylines stemming from the timeline below.

  • Will Germany continue their dominance? They won the last World Cup, won the 2017 Confederations Cup (with a young, less than full strength roster), and have made at least the Semi-Finals in the past 4 World Cups.
  • Will Brazil regain their dominance? Since pulling off a Champion, Runner-Up, Champion run in 1998, 2002, and 2006, Brazil has yet to make a Final and bowed out of the 2014 World Cup, which they hosted, with a stunning 7-1 defeat to Germany in the Semi-Finals.
  • What is Italy’s response to their swift fall from grace? They followed a 2006 World Cup victory with 2 group stage eliminations and a DNQ for the 2018 World Cup.
  • Similar to Italy, what is the Netherland’s next step? They followed a Runner-Up and Third Place finish with a DNQ for the 2018 World Cup.
  • How will Spain recover from their 2014 World Cup disappointment? After becoming the first team to win consecutive Euros (2008), World Cup (2010), and Euros (2012), they stumbled out of the Group Stages in spectacular fashion. What Spain will we see in Russia 2018?
  • Can France put together consecutive positive World Cup performances, which they have not done over this timeframe? Will their stockpile of talent be able to overcome this trend?
  • Can England and / or Belgium capitalize on their strongest squads in recent memory to propel a deep run in the World Cup? Neither has made a Semi-Final since 1990.
  • Can Mexico snap its Round of 16 streak, either for better or worse? They are a mercurial side equally likely to fall victim to a difficult group and not advance or finally buck their trend and advance deep into the tournament.
  • Will Romania ever recover? They have missed 5 consecutive World Cups after having advanced out of the Group Stages in the previous 3 World Cups.
  • Will Colombia exploit its golden generation and advance to the knockout rounds for the second consecutive World Cup, a feat it has never done?
  • How will Uruguay fare in Europe, after missing the past two World Cups on the continent?
  • Like Romania, will Ireland ever recover? They have missed 4 consecutive World Cups after having advanced out of the Group Stages in the previous 3 World Cups in which they competed.
  • Can Costa Rica take advantage of its golden generation one more time before age catches up to them?
  • Will Russia leverage home-field advantage to advance out of the Group Stages for the first time in 8 World Cups?
  • Can South Korea and Japan reverse their historical trends? Each nation has failed to advance out of the Group Stages in World Cups held in Europe. However, each country has experienced a Do Not Advance – Advance coupling for the past 5 World Cups that is slated for Advance if the trend were to continue.
  • Will Iran and / or Tunisia be able to make history? Neither country has ever advanced out of the Group Stages.

 

To continue on to Part III – click here.

 

ICYMI, please refer to Part I Introduction & Evaluation of Performance by Confederation.

 

[1] Criteria based on World Cups Made (World Cups), Matches Played (Matches), Total Goal Differential (GD), Total Points (Pts), Winning Percentage (Win %), Losing Percentage (Loss %), Per Game Goal Differential (Per Game GD), and Per Game Points (Per Game Pts).

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