Crunching the Numbers of the Past World Cups: A Hopeful Trend

Beyond the laughter and tears, this past world cup continued a hopeful trend in international soccer.

In the 2002 South Korea/Japan games, of the 64 total matches, only 53% (34/64) of the matches were won by the higher ranked team, with 25% (16/64) of the games ending in an upset.

In the 2006 Germany World Cup, 52% (33/64) of the games were one by the favorites, while 31% (20/34) of the games were upsets.

In the 2010 South Africa games, 59% (38/64) of games were won by the higher-ranked nation, while 20% (13/64) of matches were upsets.

In the 2014 Brazil games, 69% (44/64) of games were won by the higher-ranked nation, while 17% (11/64) resulted in upsets.

In this recent 2018 Russia World Cup, only 53% (34/64) were won by the nation with the higher FIFA ranking, while a whopping 33% (21/64) of the matches resulted in upsets.

In the past five World Cups, the “favorites” of each matchup had only a 57% chance of winning. The inferior team won 25% of the time.

Furthermore, 92% (147/160) of the squads involved in the last 5 Cups obtained at least one point in the group stage.

These numbers sketch the unpredictable nature of the World Cup. To make the World Cup even more entertaining, lower ranked teams have improved drastically, thus decreasing the gap between the weaker sides and the European/South American powerhouses. I’m really excited about what the World Cup will hold in the future.

Citations: “2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan ™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2006 FIFA World Cup Germany ™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-15 May 2002.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-17 May 2006.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-26 May 2010.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-05 June 2014.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-07 June 2018.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Featured image from: Sky Sports. “World Cup Fixtures: The Full Schedule for Russia 2018.” Sky Sports. July 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.

ReCaP: What a World Cup!!

World Cup 2018 was absolutely amazing. The sheer excitement across every single match was unparalleled. We witnessed so many jaw-dropping games, with 169 goals scored across all matches. We watched Croatia dominate its group before they nearly lifted the Cup. We watched the Russian team put its nation on its shoulder as they nearly reached the semi-finals. Kylian Mbappé became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since the legendary Pelé. And of course, France lifted the Cup for the first time in 20 years.

These people got the anecdote correct…


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Every year? Maybe every two years so that the Cup doesn’t lose its incredibleness.

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Yeah, it was absolutely nuts.

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Can’t agree more with this guy. Japan stole the show.

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And just like that, life is back to normal.


Citations “2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.” Accessed July 16, 2018.

Comments from: FIFATV. “France v Croatia – 2018 FIFA World Cup™ FINAL – HIGHLIGHTS.” YouTube. July 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.

Featured image from: Mirror. “Didier Deschamps Calls on France Stars to Follow in His Footsteps with World Cup Final Victory over Croatia.” Evewoman – Woman’s World. July 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.






World Cup Game Analysis: Japan vs. Columbia


Everyone counted against Japan winning their World Cup opener against Columbia. Well, they were wrong. The Samurai Blue led a superb upset.

Japan started off with a bang as Yuya Osako (FW) pressured the Columbian backline and created a breakaway. Kagawa’s (MF) following shot led to a penalty kick and a red card for Carlos Sanchez (DF). I have already seen people saying that Sanchez’s hand ball was accidental and wasn’t deserving of a red card. This claim is ridiculous. To say that Sanchez’s hand naturally floated mid-air for that long until the ball hit it, is just absolutely insane. He definitely intended to pull a Suarez. Anyways, the Japanese shooter calmly put away the PK, and I hoped the rest of the game would go Japan’s way.

However, I saw a sloppy 30 minutes from both sides afterwards, as passes seemed to go wide. Japan is not used to having the upper-hand because people count us out. Their playing reflected this reality.

A dive from Falcao and a terrible referee decision led to a sneaky freekick goal by Quintero (MF) as he rolled the ball under Japan’s wall. Honestly, the ref’s decision to reward Falcao’s blatant dive was much worse than his decision to send off Sanchez. Watch the highlights, and you’ll notice that Falcao was LITERALLY the one who tried to lay the body on Hasebe (MF), but the Columbian dove. WHY? HOW DOES THAT WORK?

The second half was all Japan. Japan created chance after chance, but the Blue boys failed to concede. But in the 73rd minute, Osako scored a beautiful header. Ospina (GK) was caught off the goal-line as he fails to decide between punching the ball and keeping his ground. Columbia never seemed to find their attacking rhythm. Despite James Rodriguez’s entering the match in the second half, chances were minimal for the Columbian side. The long 5-minute stoppage time felt like an hour, but Japan came out with three points.

My man of the match was easily Osako (FW), and he rightfully won the award. Throughout the match, he made beautiful runs that exposed the Columbian backline. The opening goal was a result of Osako’s breakaway even though his initial shot was blocked. Furthermore, in the 78th minute, he barely blocked a close-range shot from James Rodriguez. Most importantly, he scored the decisive goal.

Other great performances came from Nagatomo (DF) and Gen Shoji (DF). Nagatomo showed outstanding ability to keep up with Cuadrado, and he made quick runs and had a few crosses. Shoji displayed his defensive coolness by outplaying Falcao in many situations.

The Columbian side didn’t display their South American flair in their first match, but I hope to see some exciting soccer from players like Cuadrado (MF) and James Rodriguez in the upcoming Group H matches.

Conclusively, Japan’s victory was a historical one as it was the Samurai Blue’s first time winning a World Cup matchup against a South American team. The game was yet another upset. I’m super hyped that Japan finally got their revenge against Columbia, following their 1-4 defeat four years ago. Never count us out!

“Colombia vs Japan June 19, 2018 – 2018 FIFA World Cup Commentary.” FOX Sports. Accessed June 19, 2018. “2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – Matches – Colombia – Japan.” Accessed June 19, 2018.