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Friday, October 14, 2016

2018 World Cup simulations (14 October 2016)

The usual 10000 simulations, based on the current Elo ratings and including results up to 13 October 2016.

The play-offs are also simulated, with a slight twist: I used Elo ratings to seed the UEFA play-off draw.

Previous simulations (7 October 2016).

Taking into account the actual group distribution, these are the teams most likely to make it to Russia:

Nigeria, Chile, Republic of Ireland and Iceland replace Algeria, Ecuador, Wales and Denmark in the list of most likely qualifiers.

AFC: Iran, Australia, Korea Republic, Japan
CAF: Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia
CONCACAF: Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Panama
CONMEBOL: Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Chile
UEFA: Germany, France, England, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Iceland

99.71% - Germany
98.24% - Brazil
94.87% - France
94.57% - England
93.75% - Mexico
93.33% - Iran
93.24% - Uruguay
91.27% - Spain
88.98% - Belgium
87.77% - Argentina
85.67% - Costa Rica
83.76% - Switzerland
80.9% - Colombia
80.43% - Italy
79.72% - Australia
78.5% - USA
77.99% - Portugal
72.04% - Korea Republic
68.88% - Croatia
68.61% - Japan
66.43% - Egypt
63.07% - Côte d'Ivoire
61.95% - Poland
60.28% - Senegal
54.13% - Republic of Ireland
54.08% - Chile
51.94% - Nigeria
51.52% - Panama
50.45% - Ecuador
49.6% - Uzbekistan
47.16% - Netherlands
46.43% - Saudi Arabia
44.09% - Tunisia
42.99% - Iceland
34.51% - Congo DR
32% - Serbia
29.53% - Cameroon
29.35% - Romania
28.68% - Wales
28.43% - Bosnia and Herzegovina
27.98% - South Africa
25.42% - Honduras
24.86% - Montenegro
22.81% - Paraguay
21.53% - Ukraine
21.19% - Morocco
20.26% - Trinidad and Tobago
20.24% - Austria
19.87% - United Arab Emirates
19.5% - Greece
19.4% - Sweden
18.45% - Turkey
17.4% - Algeria
17.15% - Slovakia
17.01% - Ghana
14.34% - Uganda
13.81% - Guinea
12.38% - Mali
11.45% - Denmark
10.32% - Scotland
9.51% - New Zealand
7.87% - Northern Ireland
7.59% - Libya
7.4% - Slovenia
6.73% - Cape Verde Islands
6.51% - Czech Republic
6.47% - Syria
5.01% - Burkina Faso
4.77% - Hungary
4.05% - Qatar
3.36% - Gabon
3.18% - Iraq
2.22% - Congo
1.93% - Peru
1.44% - China PR
1.17% - Norway
1.13% - Zambia
1.13% - Albania
0.93% - Bulgaria
0.65% - New Caledonia
0.52% - Israel
0.44% - Belarus
0.39% - Georgia
0.32% - Lithuania
0.29% - Tahiti
0.19% - Armenia
0.14% - Thailand
0.14% - Finland
0.12% - Azerbaijan
0.09% - Bolivia
0.04% - Kazakhstan
0.02% - Papua New Guinea
0.01% - Fiji
0.01% - Solomon Islands
0.01% - Kosovo

Top 10 based on difference between these sims and those ran last time:


Egypt 66.43 40.92 25.51
Nigeria 51.94 29.34 22.6
Montenegro 24.86 6.87 17.99
Switzerland 83.76 68.23 15.53
Paraguay 22.81 7.76 15.05
France 94.87 80.37 14.5
Tunisia 44.09 30.26 13.83
Saudi Arabia 46.43 32.78 13.65
Republic of Ireland 54.13 41.07 13.06
Côte d'Ivoire 63.07 51.41 11.66

Bottom 10 based on difference between these sims and those ran last time:


Denmark 11.45 43.95 -32.5
Ghana 17.01 35.84 -18.83
Algeria 17.4 35.99 -18.59
Netherlands 47.16 65.35 -18.19
Turkey 18.45 35.61 -17.16
Wales 28.68 44.64 -15.96
United Arab Emirates 19.87 35.25 -15.38
Bosnia and Herzegovina 28.43 42.99 -14.56
Scotland 10.32 24.01 -13.69
Guinea 13.81 26.67 -12.86

21 comments:

  1. As a detailed expansion of the above:

    Here are (in a few parts) the probabilities for each team in each confederation in world cup 2018 qualifying after the October matchdays from last week. The scored goals for each team in a match are calculated using ClubElo's expected goals formula, which uses the home team win expectancy according to elo.
    All probabilities [%] after 1000 simulations.

    -- UEFA --
    columns:
    1: group
    2: 2nd place in group is seeded in play-offs (for now based on December 2016 ranking)
    3: 2nd place in group is unseeded in play-offs (for now based on December 2016 ranking)
    4: 2nd place in group is worst in the ranking of groupnumbers 2

    A - 52,9 - 39,8 - 7,3
    B - 95,7 - 4,0 - 0,3
    C - 2,7 - 60,0 - 37,3
    D - 31,1 - 57,5 - 11,4
    E - 23,5 - 64,4 - 12,1
    F - 25,6 - 55,5 - 18,9
    G - 92,2 - 7,4 - 0,4
    H - 29,3 - 70,2 - 0,5
    I - 47,0 - 41,2 - 11,8

    columns:
    1: team
    2: 1st place in group
    3: 2nd place in group and seeded in play-offs (for now based on December 2016 ranking)
    4: 2nd place in group and unseeded in play-offs (for now based on December 2016 ranking)
    5: 2nd place in group and worst in the ranking of groupnumbers 2
    6: 3rd-6th place in group
    7: total probability to qualify for WC2018 (col2+col3)

    Group A
    FRA - 81,3 - 14,8 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 3,9 - 96,1
    NED - 11,7 - 38,0 - 10,1 - 3,3 - 36,9 - 49,7
    SWE - 7,0 - 0,1 - 25,9 - 3,2 - 63,8 - 7,1
    BUL - 0,0 - 0,0 - 2,1 - 0,7 - 97,2 - 0,0
    BLR - 0,0 - 0,0 - 1,7 - 0,1 - 98,2 - 0,0
    LUX - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group B
    SUI - 66,4 - 29,3 - 2,0 - 0,0 - 2,3 - 95,7
    POR - 31,7 - 56,9 - 0,0 - 0,3 - 11,1 - 88,6
    HUN - 1,9 - 9,5 - 1,8 - 0,0 - 86,8 - 11,4
    LVA - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,2 - 0,0 - 99,8 - 0,0
    FRO - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0
    AND - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group C
    GER - 98,9 - 1,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,1 - 99,9
    NIR - 0,8 - 1,5 - 30,1 - 12,7 - 54,9 - 2,3
    CZE - 0,3 - 0,2 - 14,5 - 9,6 - 75,4 - 0,5
    NOR - 0,0 - 0,0 - 8,4 - 7,0 - 84,6 - 0,0
    AZE - 0,0 - 0,0 - 7,0 - 8,0 - 85,0 - 0,0
    SMR - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group D
    IRL - 41,1 - 4,0 - 19,4 - 2,6 - 32,9 - 45,1
    WAL - 20,3 - 18,9 - 0,0 - 2,1 - 58,7 - 39,2
    SRB - 26,5 - 0,0 - 26,7 - 4,2 - 42,6 - 26,5
    AUT - 12,0 - 8,2 - 10,6 - 2,0 - 67,2 - 20,2
    GEO - 0,1 - 0,0 - 0,8 - 0,5 - 98,6 - 0,1
    MDA - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group E
    POL - 54,9 - 21,2 - 3,0 - 0,8 - 20,1 - 76,1
    MNE - 20,8 - 0,0 - 22,0 - 3,3 - 53,9 - 20,8
    ROU - 18,2 - 2,2 - 22,8 - 3,8 - 53,0 - 20,4
    DEN - 6,0 - 0,1 - 15,7 - 3,1 - 75,1 - 6,1
    ARM - 0,1 - 0,0 - 0,4 - 0,5 - 99,0 - 0,1
    KAZ - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,5 - 0,6 - 98,9 - 0,0

    Group F
    ENG - 83,8 - 10,2 - 0,1 - 0,9 - 5,0 - 94,0
    SVK - 5,4 - 15,4 - 16,2 - 5,5 - 57,5 - 20,8
    SVN - 5,1 - 0,0 - 23,9 - 5,8 - 65,2 - 5,1
    SCO - 5,1 - 0,0 - 13,2 - 5,1 - 76,6 - 5,1
    LTU - 0,6 - 0,0 - 2,1 - 1,6 - 95,7 - 0,6
    MLT - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group G
    ESP - 61,6 - 35,4 - 0,1 - 0,1 - 2,8 - 97,0
    ITA - 37,3 - 56,8 - 0,8 - 0,2 - 4,9 - 94,1
    ALB - 0,7 - 0,0 - 3,7 - 0,1 - 95,5 - 0,7
    ISR - 0,4 - 0,0 - 2,7 - 0,0 - 96,9 - 0,4
    MKD - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,1 - 0,0 - 99,9 - 0,0
    LIE - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group H
    BEL - 77,4 - 18,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 4,6 - 95,4
    BIH - 10,7 - 9,6 - 37,8 - 0,4 - 41,5 - 20,3
    GRE - 11,8 - 1,7 - 32,0 - 0,1 - 54,4 - 13,5
    EST - 0,1 - 0,0 - 0,3 - 0,0 - 99,6 - 0,1
    CYP - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,1 - 0,0 - 99,9 - 0,0
    GIB - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    Group I
    CRO - 51,7 - 21,4 - 1,5 - 3,5 - 21,9 - 73,1
    ISL - 29,7 - 13,2 - 17,6 - 2,7 - 36,8 - 42,9
    TUR - 5,9 - 10,3 - 5,9 - 2,2 - 75,7 - 16,2
    UKR - 12,4 - 2,1 - 15,4 - 3,4 - 66,7 - 14,5
    FIN - 0,3 - 0,0 - 0,8 - 0,0 - 98,9 - 0,3
    KOS - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed - surely you can't just assume all seeded UEFA teams to defeat all unseeded teams??

      0/40 or 70/30 or even 80/20 would seem reasonable (or basing it on some type of ELO win %)

      Delete
    2. There's one big problem with elo. You need to know both teams in a scheduled match before you can say something about their respective chances. The only thing you can predict here is if a team is seeded or unseeded in the play-offs. We don't know the exact draw. And in this predcition it's anyone's guess who will prevail with what probability of success.

      Of course not all seeded teams will prevail. History shows:
      EURO 2016: 50/50;
      WC 2014: 75/25;
      EURO 2012: 100/0
      WC 2010: 75/25
      EURO 2008: no play-offs
      WC 2006: 67/33
      EURO 2004: no seeding for play-offs
      WC 2002: 50/50
      EURO 2000: no seeding for play-offs

      Average over the last 6 tournaments: 70/30. If it makes you happy, I will use this distribution the next time, I don't mind :)

      Delete
  2. -- CAF --
    columns:
    1: team
    2: 1st place in group (= total probability to qualify for WC2018)
    3: 2nd-4th place in group

    Group A
    TUN - 44,3 - 55,7
    COD - 37,7 - 62,3
    GUI - 9,7 - 90,3
    LBY - 8,3 - 91,7

    Group B
    NGA - 44,7 - 55,3
    CMR - 28,8 - 71,2
    ALG - 24,8 - 75,2
    ZAM - 1,7 - 98,3

    Group C
    CIV - 70,2 - 29,8
    MAR - 15,7 - 84,3
    MLI - 9,2 - 90,8
    GAB - 4,9 - 95,1

    Group D
    SEN - 63,8 - 36,2
    RSA - 22,7 - 77,3
    BFA - 7,7 - 92,3
    CPV - 5,8 - 94,2

    Group E
    EGY - 58,5 - 41,5
    GHA - 23,3 - 76,7
    UGA - 14,1 - 85,9
    CGO - 4,1 - 95,9

    -- AFC --
    columns:
    1: team
    2: 1st-2nd place in group
    3: 3rd place in group
    4: 4th-6th place in group
    5: winner 5th place play-off
    6: winner 5th place play-off, given a team is in that play-off (100*col5/col3)
    7: winner CONCACAF-AFC intercontinental play-off
    8: winner CONCACAF-AFC intercontinental play-off, given a team is in that play-off (100*col7/col5)
    9: total probability to qualify for WC2018 (col2+col7)

    Group A
    IRN - 89,2 - 8,6 - 2,2 - 5,4 - 62,8 - 3,5 - 64,8 - 92,7
    KOR - 58,2 - 29,1 - 12,7 - 20,3 - 69,8 - 11,9 - 58,6 - 70,1
    UZB - 44,9 - 38,2 - 16,9 - 23,0 - 60,2 - 13,3 - 57,8 - 58,2
    SYR - 4,1 - 10,2 - 85,7 - 5,2 - 51,0 - 3,0 - 57,7 - 7,1
    QAT - 2,9 - 10,7 - 86,4 - 5,6 - 52,3 - 3,2 - 57,1 - 6,1
    CHN - 0,7 - 3,2 - 96,1 - 1,7 - 53,1 - 1,1 - 64,7 - 1,8

    Group B
    AUS - 77,0 - 14,2 - 8,8 - 5,7 - 40,1 - 3,4 - 59,6 - 80,4
    JPN - 60,0 - 25,4 - 14,6 - 13,0 - 51,2 - 7,1 - 54,6 - 67,1
    KSA - 47,5 - 30,0 - 22,5 - 9,6 - 32,0 - 4,2 - 43,8 - 51,7
    UAE - 13,2 - 23,3 - 63,5 - 8,6 - 36,9 - 4,5 - 52,3 - 17,7
    IRQ - 2,3 - 7,0 - 90,7 - 1,8 - 25,7 - 1,0 - 55,6 - 3,3
    THA - 0,0 - 0,1 - 99,9 - 0,1 - 100,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0

    -- CONCACAF --
    columns:
    1: team
    2: 1st-3rd place in group
    3: 4th place in group
    4: 5th-6th place in group
    5: winner CONCACAF-AFC intercontinental play-off
    6: winner CONCACAF-AFC intercontinental play-off, given a team is in that play-off (100*col5/col3)
    7: total probability to qualify for WC2018 (col2+col5)

    Hexagonal
    MEX - 88,3 - 7,5 - 4,2 - 4,6 - 61,3 - 92,9
    CRC - 76,9 - 12,3 - 10,8 - 6,2 - 50,4 - 83,1
    USA - 68,3 - 15,9 - 15,8 - 7,7 - 48,4 - 76,0
    PAN - 35,3 - 29,0 - 35,7 - 12,7 - 43,8 - 48,0
    HON - 16,8 - 17,6 - 65,6 - 6,5 - 36,9 - 23,3
    TRI - 14,4 - 17,7 - 67,9 - 6,1 - 34,5 - 20,5

    -- OFC --
    columns:
    1: team
    2: 1st place in group
    3: 2nd-3rd place in group
    4: winner 1st place play-off
    5: winner 1st place play-off, given a team is in that play-off (100*col4/col2)
    6: winner CONMEBOL-OFC intercontinental play-off (= total probability to qualify for WC2018)
    7: winner CONMEBOL-OFC intercontinental play-off, given a team is in that play-off (100*col6/col4)

    Group A
    NZL - 67,4 - 32,6 - 58,4 - 86,6 - 6,7 - 11,5
    NCL - 22,5 - 77,5 - 16,6 - 73,8 - 0,8 - 4,8
    FIJ - 10,1 - 89,9 - 6,0 - 59,4 - 0,3 - 5,0

    Group B
    TAH - 46,9 - 53,1 - 10,5 - 22,4 - 0,2 - 1,9
    PNG - 28,7 - 71,3 - 5,3 - 18,5 - 0,1 - 1,9
    SOL - 24,4 - 75,6 - 3,2 - 13,1 - 0,0 - 0,0

    -- CONMEBOL --
    columns:
    1: team
    2: 1st-4th place in group
    3: 5th place in group
    4: 6th-10th place in group
    5: winner CONMEBOL-OFC intercontinental play-off
    6: winner CONMEBOL-OFC intercontinental play-off, given a team is in that play-off (100*col5/col3)
    7: total probability to qualify for WC2018 (col2+col5)

    Group
    BRA - 94,5 - 4,0 - 1,5 - 3,5 - 87,5 - 98,0
    URU - 85,5 - 7,6 - 6,9 - 6,8 - 89,5 - 92,3
    ARG - 72,3 - 15,3 - 12,4 - 14,8 - 96,7 - 87,1
    COL - 66,3 - 15,7 - 18,0 - 14,3 - 91,1 - 80,6
    CHI - 33,8 - 21,2 - 45,0 - 20,2 - 95,3 - 54,0
    ECU - 34,7 - 20,4 - 44,9 - 17,8 - 87,3 - 52,5
    PAR - 12,1 - 13,7 - 74,2 - 12,0 - 87,6 - 24,1
    PER - 0,8 - 2,1 - 97,1 - 2,0 - 95,2 - 2,8
    BOL - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0
    VEN - 0,0 - 0,0 - 100,0 - 0,0 - 0,0 - 0,0

    -- Intercontinental play-offs --
    CONCACAF 43,8
    AFC 56,2

    CONMEBOL 91,9
    OFC 8,1

    ReplyDelete
  3. And the static elo-prediction:

    -- UEFA --
    After MD3 (of 10) of the European qualifying campaign for Russia WC 2018 elo predicts the following 9 countries to qualify as group-winner:
    1: France
    2: Portugal
    3: Germany
    4: Republic of Ireland
    5: Poland
    6: England
    7: Spain
    8: Belgium
    9: Croatia

    and as 8 best group numbers 2 (ordered by December 2016 ranking for now)
    4: Wales
    2: Switzerland
    7: Italy
    9: Iceland
    1: Netherlands
    6: Slovakia
    8: Bosnia-Herzegovina
    5: Northern Ireland
    Denmark from group 5 is worst group number 2.

    Changes compared to the initial prediction:
    Republic of Ireland group winner instead of Wales in group 4;
    Wales (instead of Republic of ireland) and Iceland (instead of Turkey) are seeded numbers 2;
    Netherlands is an unseeded number 2;
    Northern Ireland instead of Denmark is an unseeded number 2;
    Denmark instead of Czech republic is worst number 2.

    -- CAF --
    After MD1 (of 6) of the third round of African qualifying for Russia WC 2018 elo predicts the following 5 countries to qualify as group-winner:
    1: Tunisia
    2: Nigeria
    3: Cote d'Ivoire
    4: Senegal
    5: Egypt

    Changes compared to the initial prediction:
    Nigeria group winner instead of Algeria in group 2

    -- AFC --
    After MD4 (of 10) of the third round of Asian qualifying for Russia WC 2018 elo predicts:
    1: Iran and Korea Republic to qualify
    2: Japan and Australia to qualify
    Uzbekistan from group 1 and Saudi Arabia from group 2 qualify for the 5th-place play-off. Uzbekistan qualifies for the intercontinental play-off against Panama.

    Changes compared to the initial prediction:
    Saudi Arabia instead of United Arab Emirates as number 5 in group 2

    -- CONCACAF --
    Before MD1 (of 10) of the hexagonal in CONCACAF qualifying for Russia WC 2018 elo predicts the following 3 countries to qualify:
    Mexico, Costa Rica and USA.
    Panama at fourth place qualifies for the intercontinental play-off against Uzbekistan.

    -- CONMEBOL --
    After MD10 (of 18) of the South American qualifying campaign for Russia WC 2018 elo predicts:
    Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay to qualify.
    Chile at fifth place qualifies for the intercontinental play-off against New Zealand.

    Changes compared to the initial prediction:
    Uruguay and Chile trade places and are now number 4 and 5 respectively in the group

    -- OFC --
    Before MD1 (of 6) of the third round of Oceania qualifying for Russia WC 2018 elo predicts the following 2 countries to qualify for the 1st-place play-off:
    1: New Zealand
    2: Tahiti
    New Zealand qualifies for the intercontinental play-off against Chile.

    -- intercontinental play-offs --
    Uzbekistan qualifies for Russia WC 2018.
    Chile qualifies for Russia WC 2018.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man... Netherlands amongst the unseeded in play-offs! That would be one rough draw for any seed.

      One question though, why did you use December 2016 rankings for seeding, instead of a projected October 2017 one?

      Delete
    2. For at least two reasons (I think...):

      1. Too many competitions to simulate
      2. Publishing dates for 2017 are yet to be published.

      Delete
    3. 1. But for European qualifiers you only need to simulate matches of European teams, i.e. the matches of 8 teams that are currently predicted to be in the play-offs. It's the relative rankings that are important, right?

      2. Edgar assumes that 12 October 2017 will be the publishing date, so maybe we can start with that assumption?

      Delete
    4. Well, I'm not convinced that we are that much of a threat to any top-20 team at the moment. Maybe if we can patch up a decent remainder of the qualifying campaign, the team can grow in confidence. But it is how it is, the Dutch team lacks quality on too many positions at the moment.

      I do not know the official ranking publication dates yet for 2017. As soon as these dates are known, I will use the predicted October 2017 ranking.

      Delete
  4. Rep Ireland now automatic qualifiers...Wu Hoo!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Ed for all the info, it is mind-boggling and fascinating stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ger, you do realise it's just a predicted future of many possible futures, not THE future ? :)
    Group D seems to contain the by far hottest fight for top spot and RoI is in the thick of it, so any chance you got, it's in your own hands anyway ! Good luck.
    And... you're welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes Ed, I do realise it is a projected outcome, and that you are not Nostradamus.
    The three exclamation marks after my Wu Hoo were an homage to Homer Simpson.

    Thanks again,
    Ger

    ReplyDelete
  8. FIFA could be in trouble with deciding which ranking to use to seed the World Cup. If they opt for October 2017, then the last round of African qualifiers would not have been taken into consideration, which is odd and unfair. But if they opt for November 2017 ranking, then teams who play and win in play-offs get an unfair advantage over teams who qualified directly.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Following UEFA they should opt for the October ranking and accept the "fact" that there will be no African team in the top 7 anyway.
    But it's FIFA. I've lost all confidence that they will act logically and fair, after their hilarious (and sickening) acts last June regarding the seeding of CAF-qualifying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was brought to my attention at Bert Kassies' forum recently that FIFA has taken a new trend in their national team competitions of seeding ALL pots based on FIFA ranking, instead of only the top pot. Geographical protection is still applied, similar to the UEFA's Champions league draw.

      If this will indeed be the case with the 2018 World Cup draw, then African last round could play a major role in determining the pots.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I read that too. But I wouldn't hold my breath for it. FIFA has traditionally reserved all rights in their WC-regulations for seeding the teams for Russia the way they want it.
      I have for now nothing more to go at than the seeding mechanism they applied last time in Brazil.

      But if they really gonna take a step forward with the WC-seeding according to this new trend, then I expect it will be the current ranking at the time of the draw that will be chosen, i.e. the November ranking. Be it unfair or not.

      Delete
    3. Maybe they'll be forced to do it. There is a realistic chance that all 5 CONMEBOL teams will end up in the top pot (courtesy of having two Copa Americas in back-to-back seasons), joined by only 3 UEFA teams. So 11 UEFA teams remain. If we keep the current seeding format, 8 of them go into a separate pot, and 3 teams are the odd ones out. Where will they put them? Together with African teams? Nonsense... Last couple of times they had only 1 odd UEFA team so it wasn't that big of a deal (although it was extremely unfair for that odd team!).

      Even if there is only 4 CONMEBOL teams in the top pot (and I think it is all but certain that there'll be at least 4 of them), they will still have 2 odd UEFA teams to deal with.

      There is not a single reason why FIFA should use their ranking to seed all 4 pots. Continental protection is not a problem, computers deal with that easily.

      Delete
    4. correction: "...why FIFA shouldn't use..."

      Delete
    5. I've made exploratory elo-predictions for the October and November ranking 2017, based on assumptions about publishing dates.
      With the known schedule of matches (no AFCON, Confed Cup or Gold Cup yet) the top 7 in October is:
      1 Argentina
      2 Brazil
      3 Portugal
      4 Colombia
      5 France
      6 Germany
      7 Chile (just in front of England at 8th)

      And for November 2017:
      1 Argentina
      2 Brazil
      3 Germany
      4 Colombia
      5 Portugal
      6 France
      7 Belgium (just in front of England at 8th)
      Predicted intercontinental play-offs are incorporated, no UEFA-play-offs.

      So at least 3 and at most 4 CONMEBOL teams will be in the top 7 (Uruguay is predicted 13th in October and 14th in November). So 1 or 2 odd UEFA team to be placed in another pot, using the current seeding mechanism.

      FIFA could easily decide to place the lowest ranked UEFA-team(s) in the same pot with f.i. the CAF-teams. Why not? They did it with Italy for the Brazil-draw already.
      Predicted strengths of the teams in that pot would be 'sort of' comparable: strongest CAF-team is Senegal at 23rd spot; 13th (Italy) and 14th (Netherlands) UEFA-team are at 19th and 20th spot in the October 2017 ranking. And for this I have simply taken the 14 highest ranked UEFA-temas to qualify. There could well be 1 or 2 worse ranked UEFA-teams that qualify.

      But, I like the idea of using the ranking throughout the 31 teams to seed them. It's better than the current seeding system where in most geographical pots by definition big differences in strength occur.

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  10. South American qualifying has been altered a little with Bolivia having 2 results changed to 3-0 forfeits.

    http://www.espnfc.com.au/world-cup-qualifying-conmebol/story/2986350/bolivia-forfeit-two-world-cup-qualifiers-for-fielding-ineligible-player

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