Tuesday, May 11, 2010

World Cup First Look

A couple of readers have asked whether I will be running a World Cup fantasy competition and I'm pleased to say that the answer is yes. I have setup a mini league over at Sky Sports, though I am open to suggestions if people find a game that they think is better. The pin code in 902 if you want to join in the fun.

I will get to focusing on the strategy involved with the game later, especially given the strange format of having 15 transfers (yes 15!) to use over the group stages, but for the time being lets look back at how all the teams have got here.

I have taken the teams that all the qualifying nations played in qualification to look at the number of goals they scored and conceded. I have then tried to adjust the results based on the opponents world rankings to try and equalise the results. While this is a pretty crude measure it should give a better idea of where teams' strength lies rather than just "Germany always have a tight defense" (somewhat true) or "Argentina scores loads of goals" (false). Relying on last year's world cup is also dangerous given that a squad could be totally different 4 years on.

The table below shows the adjusted goals for and against for every qualifying nation (aside from hosts South Africa for whom insufficient data is available):

Uruguay A 2.3 0.8
France A 1.9 0.8
Mexico A 2.0 1.1
South Africa A - -
South Korea B 1.3 0.6
Nigeria B 1.3 0.8
Argentina B 1.9 0.8
Greece B 2.0 1.0
Slovenia C 1.7 0.4
Algeria C 1.5 0.7
England C 2.9 0.7
USA C 2.1 1.2
Australia D 1.4 0.1
Ghana D 1.4 0.6
Germany D 2.4 0.6
Serbia D 2.4 0.7
Netherlands E 2.3 0.2
Cameroon E 1.5 0.3
Denmark E 1.5 0.5
Japan E 1.3 0.8
Paraguay F 2.0 0.7
Italy F 1.8 0.7
Slovakia F 2.1 1.1
New Zealand F 1.7 1.3
Brazil G 2.6 0.5
Portgual G 1.6 0.5
North Korea G 0.9 0.6
Ivory Coast G 3.0 0.7
Spain H 2.7 0.5
Switzerland H 1.9 0.8
Chile H 2.6 0.9
Honduras H 2.0 1.0

A lot of the usual suspects rank near the top of the goals scored charts but I think Ivory Coast's goal scoring threat is highlighted here and I expect Drogba to be highly sort after in the game. Spain will be widely liked but injured pair Torres and Fabregas are massive risks and I would stay away for the group stages.

Defensively, I am really surprised to see Netherlands rank so highly, while Brazil's rating is also encouraging for those looking to pickup attacking full backs like Dani Alves.

Hopefully these first stats give you some ideas as to which teams to target when picking your preliminary team (remember it's unlimited transfers until the tournament kicks off). I'll be back throughout the coming weeks to focus on which players are guaranteed starters, which team's have the best fixtures and some strategies on how to best play the transfer game.


AlumKnight said...

Here is a fun fantasy game that will run daily.

David said...

Ive been reading around and a lot of people have been recommending the Mcdonalds fantasy league which (i believe they had a game for the qualifying and it wasnt too bad). Im thinking of joining this one but will decide one the best on closer to the time.