World Cup Data Analysis: Part IV – Trends & Insights on Performances by Confederation and Country

By @k2thedubs

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

 

The table below ranks all 208 individual country performances over the last seven World Cups based on the following criteria – Goal Differential, Total Points, and Place.

Exhibit W: Country Performance Ranking from 1990 – 2014

Image 27

Image 28

Image 29

Image 30

Image 31

The list above ranks the individual country performances at the World Cup in order from best to worst. The notes that follow highlight various takeaways.

Dominant, Nearly Flawless Performances

  • Brazil (2002), Germany (2014), and France (1998) had the three best performances ever. They each went undefeated with at least six wins and +13 Goal Differential.

Notable Performances

  • Germany (2002) is the first non-Champion performance (#7) mainly due to its +11 Goal Differential, which is tied for fourth best.
  • Spain (2010) is the lowest rated Champion performance (#8) due to its +6 Goal Differential. They only scored eight goals the entire tournament.
  • Brazil (2006) and Colombia (2014) each had the best non-Semi-Finalist performances (#19 and #20) where they won four games, finished in fifth place, and had a +8 Goal Differential.
  • The top 34 performances were all from UEFA or CONMEBOL countries.
  • The first non-traditional countries appear among performances #15-23 related to uncharacteristically deep runs – Croatia (1998), Sweden (1994), Colombia (2014), and Turkey (2002).
  • Quarter-Final runs from powerhouse nations appear high on the list – Argentina (2006, 2010, 1998), Italy (1998), Spain (2002), and France (2014).
  • Argentina (1990) is the lowest Runner-Up finish with only two wins and a +1 Goal Differential. They won two of their knockout round games on penalty kicks, which are recorded as ties.
  • Spain (2006) has the best non-Quarter-Finalist performance (#43) where they won three games, finished in ninth place, and had a +5 Goal Differential. In hindsight, this performance was a harbinger of the historic three-peat that followed in the Euros (’08 and ’12) and World Cup (’10).
  • Costa Rica (2014) is the highest non-UEFA, non-CONMEBOL performance (#45) other than South Korea (2002), who benefited from being the co-host nation.
  • Bulgaria (1994) is the lowest Semi-Final finish with only three wins and a negative (-1) Goal Differential.
  • Every Mexico performance, all Round of 16 exits, occurs within #60-102.

Country Performance Trends

  • Germany
    • Won 5 or more games and reached at least the SF in 5 of 7 World Cups
      • Won 3 games and reached QF in both 1994 and 1998 (prior to Das Reboot)
    • Scored 14 or more goals in 5 of 7 World Cups
      • Scored 8 and 9, respectively, in 1994 and 1998
    • Lost 1 game or less in 6 of 7 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 3rd place in 2010
    • 5 of the Top 9 Goal Differential performances
    • At least 10 Points in all 7 World Cups
  • Brazil
    • Won 3 or more games in all 7 World Cups
    • Lost 1 game or less in 5 of 7 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 2nd place in 1998 and 2 losses and 4th place in 2014
    • Scored 10 goals or more in 5 of 7 World Cups
      • Scored 4 and 9, respectively, in 1990 and 2010
    • At least 9 Points in all 7 World Cups
  • Italy
    • Only won more than 1 game once since 1998
      • Won 5 games in their World Cup victory in 2006
    • Double digits Points in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2006 World Cups
      • 4 Points or less in 2002, 2010, and 2014 World Cups
    • Lost 1 game or less in 5 of 7 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 15th place in 2002 and 2 losses and 22nd place in 2014
    • Conceded 5 or less goals in all 7 World Cups
  • Argentina
    • Only won more than 3 games in 2 World Cups (2010 and 2014)
    • Lost 1 game or less in 5 of 7 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 2nd place in 1990 and 2 losses and 10th place in 1994
    • Positive Goal Differential in 6 of 7 World Cups
  • Netherlands
    • Won 3 or more games in 4 of 6 World Cups
    • Lost 1 game or less in 5 of 6 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 7th place in 1994
  • Spain
    • Lost 1 game or less in 6 of 7 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 23rd place in 2014
    • Positive Goal Differential in 6 of 7 World Cups
  • France
    • Crazy back-and-forth streak from 1998 2014
      • 6 wins, 0 wins, 4 wins, 0 wins, and 3 wins
      • 15 goals, 0 goals, 9 goals, 1 goals, and 10 goals
      • Goal Differential of +13, -3, +6, -3, and +7
      • Points of 19, 1, 15, 1, and 10
    • At least 1 tie in all 5 World Cups
    • Conceded 4 goals or less in all 5 World Cups
  • England
    • Declining performance from 1990 2014 (missed 1994)
      • 3 wins, 2 wins, 2 wins, 3 wins, 1 win, and 0 wins
      • 8 goals, 7 goals, 6 goals, 6 goals, 3 goals, and 2 goals
      • Goal Differential of +2, +3, +3, +4, -2, and -2
      • Points of 12, 7, 8, 11, 5, and 1
    • Lost 1 game or less in 5 of 6 World Cups
      • 2 losses and 26th place in 2014
    • At least 1 tie in all 6 World Cups (including two or more in 4 of 6 World Cups)
  • Mexico
    • 1-2 wins, 1-2 losses, and 1-2 ties in all 6 World Cups
    • Goal Differential between -1 and +2 in all 6 World Cups
    • 4-7 Points in all 6 World Cups
  • Paraguay
    • Exactly 1 win in all 4 World Cups
    • -1 to +1 Goal Differential in all 4 World Cups
  • Russia
    • Never won more than 1 game or earned more than 3 Points at a World Cup
  • Nigeria
    • Exactly two losses in all 5 World Cups
  • South Korea
    • Besides its 4th place finish in 2002, has only won 2 games in 6 World Cups and earned 4 or less Points in these 6 World Cups
    • Lost 2 games or more in 5 of 7 World Cups
  • USA
    • Won 1 game or less in 6 of 7 World Cups
    • Lost 2 games or more in 6 of 7 World Cups
    • No positive Goal Differential in any World Cup (0 GD in 2002 and 2010)
  • Cameroon
    • Only scored more than 3 goals in 1 of 6 World Cups
    • Conceded 5 or more goals in 5 of 6 World Cups

Other Performance Observations

  • Wide Range of Performance
    • France – 28 place Range and 14.0 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 1st in 1998 and 29th in 2010
    • Japan – 22 place Range and 11.2 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 9th in 2002 and 2010 and 31st in 1998
    • Italy – 25 place Range and 10.3 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 1st in 2006 and 26th in 2010
    • Costa Rica – 23 place Range and 9.9 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 8th in 2014 and 31st in 2006
    • Croatia – 20 place Range and 9.3 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 3rd in 1998 and 23rd in 2002
  • Narrow Range of Performance
    • Mexico – 5 place Range and 1.9 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 10th in 2014 and 15th in 2006
    • Ivory Coast – 4 place Range and 2.0 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 17th in 2010 and 21st in 2014
    • Germany – 6 place Range and 2.2 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 1st in 1990 and 2014 and 7th in 1998
    • Tunisia – 5 place Range and 2.5 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 24th in 2006 and 29th in 2002
    • Brazil – 8 place Range and 2.9 Standard Deviation
      • Finished 1st in 1994 and 2002 and 9th in 1990
  • Multiple Performances Finishing in the Bottom Eight Teams
    • 3
      • Saudi Arabia (1998, 2002, 2006)
      • Cameroon (1998, 2010, 2014)
      • Japan (1998, 2006, 2014)
    • 2
      • Tunisia (1998, 2002)
      • Nigeria (2002, 2010)
      • France (2002, 2010)
      • Iran (2006, 2014)
      • South Korea (1998, 2014)
      • USA (1998, 2006)

Exhibit X: Performance Range by Confederation from 1990 – 2014

Image 32

The tables above show the number of occurrences and percentage of confederation total of individual country performances at the World Cup in quadrants of fifty. A breakdown by confederation follows.

UEFA

  • 35 of the Top 50 (70%) performances
  • 57 of the Top 100 (57%) performances
  • 82% of all performances in the Top 150

CONMEBOL

  • 39% of all performances in Top 50
  • 70% of all performances in Top 100
  • 91% of all performances in the Top 150
  • Only 3 of the Bottom 58 (5%) performances

CONCACAF

  • 1 of the Top 50 (2%) performances
  • 86% of all performances in 51-200 range
  • 2 of the Bottom 8 (25%) performances

CAF

  • 7 of the Top 100 (7%) performances
  • 97% of all performances in 51-200 range
  • 1 of the Bottom 8 (13%) performances

AFC

  • 4 of the Top 100 (4%) performances
  • 60% of all performances in the 151-208 range
  • 4 of the Bottom 8 (50%) performances

The following section will discuss various trends, insights, and takeaways from the World Cup analyses conducted.

Confederation Performance on Home Continent from 1990 – 2014

  • UEFA and CONMEBOL dominate World Cups on their home continents
    • UEFA
      • 1990, 1998, and 2006 all won by UEFA teams.
      • 1990, 1998, and 2006 all at least 3/4 Semi-Finalists by UEFA teams (4/4 in 2006).
      • 10 UEFA teams advanced to R16 in each. 6 UEFA teams advanced to QF in each.
      • 3 or fewer non-UEFA or non-CONMEBOL teams advanced out of Group stages. Only one reached the QF (Cameroon in 1990).
    • CONMEBOL
      • 5 of 6 teams advanced out of Group Stages and Ecuador, the lone exception, was top finisher amongst non-advanced teams.
      • Second time having 5 teams advance (the other is 2010) to knockout rounds.
  • Non-UEFA, Non-CONCACAF World Cups (so called “neutral sites”) experience more parity
    • 1994 (CONCACAF hosted)
      • 4 non-UEFA and non-CONMEBOL teams advanced out of Group Stages.
        • 2 CONCACAF (R16, R16), 1 CAF (R16), and 1 AFC (R16)
    • 2002 (AFC hosted)
      • 5 non-UEFA and non-CONMEBOL teams advanced out of Group Stages.
        • 2 AFC (4P, R16), 2 CONCACAF (QF, R16), 1 CAF (QF)
    • 2010 (CAF hosted)
      • 5 non-UEFA and non-CONMEBOL teams advanced out of Group Stages.
        • 2 CONCACAF (R16, R16), 2 AFC (R16, R16), 1 CAF (QF)

Country Performance on Home Continent from 1990 – 2014

Exhibit Y: Host Nation Performance Boost from 1990 – 2014

Image 33

The table above show the performance boost from hosting the World Cup as measured by a country’s improvement as host of the World Cup relative to its average performance in all other World Cups. Unsurprisingly, hosting the World Cup has a significantly positive impact on a country’s performance at the World Cup. As seen above, every country who hosted the World Cup fared at or better than their average World Cup performance with most countries experiencing a substantial uptick.

Except for South Africa, every host country has advanced from the Group Stages so it’s a safe bet to expect Russia to make it out of Group A. Other than USA and Japan who each made the Round of 16, every host country has made it at least to the Semi-Finals. As our country ranking analysis displayed in Part II, Russia fell into the same cohort as USA, South Korea, Japan, and South Africa (cohort # 5). Interestingly, those four countries experienced a wide spectrum of results as host nation with one (South Africa) failing to advance from the Group Stages and one (South Korea) reaching the Semi-Finals.

Given the strength, or lack thereof, of Group A (the easiest of the World Cup by far), I fully expect Russia to advance out of the Group Stages, though I would not count on them to make a deep run into the knockout rounds as they will likely face either Spain or Portugal from Group B in the Round of 16.

Qualification Difficulty

Only five countries[1] (Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and South Korea) have qualified for the past eight World Cups and Argentina was in danger of missing out on Russia if not for some Messi heroics in their qualification finale.

CONMEBOL Improvement

  • CONMEBOL has been improving over the last 3 World Cups
    • 2 QFs and 1 R16 in 2006 (out of 4 teams)
    • 1 SF, 3 QFs, and 1 R16 in 2010 (out of 5 teams)
    • 1 F, 1 SF, 1 QF, and 2 R16 in 2014 (out of 6 teams)
    • Only 2 teams (out of 15) have failed to advance from Group stages in last 3 World Cups
      • Bodes well for Peru in Russia 2018

CONCACAF’s Struggles in Europe

  • CONCACAF
    • 1 team has advanced from Group Stages in each World Cup in Europe
    • 2+ teams have advanced from Group Stages in each World Cup outside of Europe

CONCACAF, CAF, AFC Weakness

  • Aggregate Stats Across Confederations
    • No team with more than 5 wins except Mexico (8).
    • No team with a winning record[2] (Mexico is 8-8-8).
    • No team with a positive Goal Differential except Mexico4 (+2).
    • No team wins more than 33% of their matches4.

CAF > CONCACAF > AFC on Top 3 Basis

Exhibit Z: Aggregate Stats by Confederation Based on Results from 1998 – 2014

Image 34

Since CONCACAF, CAF, and AFC have not had the same number of countries in the World Cup and it appears that CAF and AFC are overallocated places in the World Cup field, I performed an analysis on each confederation’s performance on an equivalent basis – the top three performing teams at each World Cup. The exhibit above shows the aggregate confederation stats based on the last 5 World Cups (since the field expanded to 32 teams) on an overall basis, a top 3 team basis for CONCACAF, CAF, and AFC, and the difference between the two.

The difference column is quite revealing and certainly supports the idea that CAF and AFC have been overallocated teams at the World Cup. Teams that do not finish in the top 3 of their confederation have not won any matches at the World Cup, have lost over 80% of their matches, and are outscored by more than 1.5 goals per game. CAF has 33 of these matches, AFC has 18 of these matches, and CONCACAF has 6 of these matches.

When the confederations are compared on a top 3 team basis, the pecking order changes to CAF, CONCACAF, AFC with alignment across Wins, Losses, Goals For, Points, and Goal Differential.

 

To continue on to Part V – click here.

 

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

ICYMI, please refer to Part II Evaluation of Performance by Country.

ICYMI, please refer to Part III Evaluation of Performance by and within Confederations.

 

[1] Mexico has qualified for seven consecutive World Cups in which it was eligible to participate. Mexico was banned from the 1990 World Cup for fielding overage players at a junior world championship in the late 1980s.

[2] Amongst teams with multiple World Cup appearances.

Advertisements

Stir Up the Pot!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s