Last time we had a look at what the teams in Groups A-C of the Women's World Cup need to do to ensure qualification. Groups A and B will play their final games tonight, but our attention now shifts to the remaining three groups.
1. USA; +2; 4pts
2. AUS; 0; 3pts
3. SWE; 0; 2pts
4. NGA; -2; 1pt
1. BRA; +3; 6pts
2. CRC; 0; 2pts
3. ESP; -1; 1pt
4. KOR; -2; 1pt
1. COL; +2; 4pts
2. ENG; 0; 3pts
3. FRA; -1; 3pts
4. MEX; -1; 1pt
Below are the possibilities for each group, including the probabilities of each outcome suggested by odds:
Using the same method as last time, we can work out the probabilities of each side progressing:
USA - 94.9%
AUS - 57.7%
SWE - 41.1%
NGA - 6.0%
BRA - certain
ESP - 44.6%
KOR - 29.0%
CRC - 26.4%
FRA - 84.5%
ENG - 62.1%
COL - 48.9%
MEX - 4.4%
Group E sees Brazil already winning the group. Therefore, we see a three-way race between Spain, South Korea and Costa Rica. Even though Costa Rica narrowly lead this race, they face Brazil in their final match, meaning they are actually the least likely to progress.
And in the final group we see an even more curious phenomenon, where group leaders Colombia, who can go through in eight of the nine possibilities, are still more likely to fail to make the top two. Although it is not hard to think that the bookmakers have underestimated their ability, given how well they played against France.
Long-term vs short-term odds
As we did with Groups A-C, we can compare our probabilities for a top-two finish with those suggested by odds:
Colombia being given odds of qualification of 3/1 is quite high, given that we showed they can progress with eight out of the nine possibilities. Although given that 4 points is likely to be enough even if they finish third, there is a chance Colombia take their foot off the pedal in their match against England.
But the most significant difference is in Group D. We commented earlier that it was slightly surprising that Sweden were less likely to finish in the top two than Australia, given they went into the match as favourites, and this shows in the long-term odds. This means that either betting on Sweden to win the match is good value for money, or betting on Australia to win the group is. In fact, these two outcomes trade off against each other perfectly, since if Sweden fail to win, then Australia will qualify (unless this match is a draw, and Nigeria beat USA by 2 in a high-scoring match - but such a situation is exceptionally unlikely).
Therefore, if you place a bet on:
- Sweden to beat Australia (5/4)
- Australia to finish in the top two (9/10)
It may be a result of there being less public attention on the Women's World Cup than in the men's tournament last year, but we have seen some very surprising slip-ups from the betting companies. Given the disaster of the bets placed on the 2015 General Election, this presents a chance to recoup some money.
With all six groups looked at now, our articles should provide some clues as to what to expect in the next few days.