I hope you're enjoying the World Cup as much as I have! I've been watching any game I can, and there's been some great stories. Particularly the growing trend of favourites struggling to get past smaller sides.
This leads to the question of will any big teams actually fail to get through the group stage? Well, in today's article I am going to use our World Cup model, with the latest odds, to give each team's probabilities for finishing in each position in the group.
So let's just go through each group and see how it's shaping up. Click on the name of each group to bring up its information:
In fact, Egypt's chances may be slimmer than presented, due to the huge nature of Russia's win meaning that it's hard for Egypt to pip Russia on goal difference - a plausible scenario if they draw tonight, then Uruguay and Egypt win in the final round. In fact, this is the third-most likely outcome in this group, with a 6.9% chance of happening.
It seems particularly unlikely Spain will fail to progress given their largely dominant showing against Portugal. However, Portugal themselves will need to win at win at least one game to progress - and they have now drawn their last four group games at major tournaments. It's not impossible to see them drawing with both Morocco and Iran and being eliminated - the chances of that happening are 4.9%.
This said, it's looking likely that wins for France and Denmark will see them through with a game to spare, and a dead rubber to play. Such an outcome is 31.3% likely to happen, the most probably outcome from the next pair of matches.
Despite dropping points against Iceland, Argentina are still well-fancied to qualify. This said, their showing against Iceland has raised big questions about their team, particularly at the back. In fact, I am surprised that their probability of beating Croatia has only dropped 1.6% from a pre-tournament estimation of 48.9%.
This said, in our previous update Brazil's chances of group stage elimination were 6.61%, so a total of 13.1% now is almost an exact doubling. Thanks to the quirks of statistics, it's fun to see that three teams are rated as over 50% likely to progress.
Wins for Germany and South Korea in the next round, coupled with two draws in the final round, would see this group end in that fantastic situation where every team is on 4 points. Sadly, there's a 0.4% chance of this happening.
There's a 60.5% chance of Belgium and England being safely through by their final game - and if Brazil & Germany do finish 1st and 2nd in their groups then it'll be interesting to see how these two teams approach a game where losing may be better than winning.
For Group A I mentioned the chance of there being a tied group, with 4 points all-round. Here this is more likely, with two draws next time and final-round wins for Colombia and Poland having a combined probability of 1.9%, and is the 10th most likely scenario for this group.
- Germany 38.1%
- Argentina 23.2%
- Portugal 19.7%
- Brazil 13.1%
- Spain 10.5%
- France 7.1%
- Belgium 6.2%
- England 3.7%
Well, well, well. Who would have thought that England are now the most likely team in the whole tournament to make it to the next round? What a difference a single header makes. Meanwhile, Germany are the most likely shock casualties - and it should be noted that the last three European sides to have won the World Cup went out in the following tournament's group stage (France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014).
Let's remove England and Spain from the equation (as there's another 'big team' in their group who is more likely to go out) - the chances of seeing NO upsets is a stunningly low 28.9%! So it might be time to prepare yourself for some monocle-dropping...
On our page for the World Cup simulator, there are now two predictors available. One is the original simulator based on pre-tournament odds. The other is based on the latest results and odds. So feel free to use this newer one to see if you can plot an escape route for your favourite team.
Remember that our World Cup articles are saying what is *likely* to happen. Not what *will* happen. So in fact the unlikely results we've seen are still without the bounds of our model. And the way probability works, we are almost certain to see more upsets. But where will it be? Will a stunning last-gasp goal from Ahmed Musa see Argentina out? Will Portugal finally run out of wishes from their magic Ronaldo genie? Will Panama and Tunisia mount a ludicrous fightback to claim 1st and 2nd in their group?
All I can say is - I can't wait to find out!