2018 World Cup Second Round Predictions

I think I did alright with my first round predictions, I got 13/16 right.

Group A
Prediction = Uruguay and Egypt
Actual = Uruguay and Russia

I did not expect Russia to achieve the dizzy height of competence, even with the home team bounce. I was wrong. I also didn’t expect Egypt to be so flat. It’s more than just Salah being injured. Everyone else appeared to be lacking in energy. Flat might not be a harsh enough term for a team that somehow lost to Saudi Arabia.

Group B
Prediction = Spain and Portugal
Actual = Spain and Portugal

But it was a lot closer than I expected. Poor Iran 😦

Group C
Prediction = France and Denmark
Actual = France and Denmark

This one went more or less the way I expected it to go.

Group D
Prediction = Argentina and Croatia
Actual = Croatia and Argentina

Got the right teams, the wrong way round, but I doubt anyone saw the Argentina vs Croatia result coming

Group E
Prediction = Brazil and Serbia
Actual = Brazil and Switzerland, due to refereeing malfeasance. I will be nice about Switzerland never!

Group F
Prediction = Germany and Mexico
Actual = Mexico and Sweden

Well that was unexpected!! I should have known no good would come of a team that lost to Austria in the warm ups.

Group G
Prediction = Belgium and England
Actual = Belgium and England

Bang on, because I knew England wouldn’t beat Belgium. I know people will say it wasn’t their starting 11, but I remain convinced it’s not the country with the best A team that wins World Cups, it’s the one with the best A minus team.

Group H
Prediction = Colombia and Japan
Actual = Colombia and Japan – bang on.

Second round matches:

Uruguay vs Portugal = Which should be joyous, if only for Pepe vs Suarez. I suspect it will be a cagey affair that one team will sneak. My heart says Uruguay, my head says Portugal. I will go with Uruguay.

France vs Argentina = I didn’t see this match coming and it may be the only thing that stops my vision of a glorious French victory at this World Cup. Then again, while France haven’t been inspiring going forward, Argentina have been insecure at the back so France could still do it.

Brazil vs Mexico – While I fear Brazil will win this, vamos Mexico.

Belgium vs Japan – probably Belgium but closer than people expect.

Spain vs Russia – despite my Spanish boss’s deep misgivings, Spain.

Croatia vs Denmark – which should be a good match if nothing else. If Croatia keep it together, they should win.

Sweden vs Switzerland – could also be good. Switzerland to sneak it.

Colombia vs England – Very good attack, iffy at the back vs good at the front and not quite as iffy at the back. So lots of goals, and probably Colombia win.

World Cup 2018 Inter-Team Network Diagrams

Sorry that these are quite so late. The combo of the number of players, the relatively late date that the final squads were announced and a busy time at work meant that I couldn’t get the diagram anything like finished until the 12th, and I then went to Sweden for a week for work.


And then I wanted to tinker with the colours and force separation a little because part of the diagram was so overlapped.

Having now had the chance to tinker, please see the 2018 World Cup team interaction network diagram, with the players being attached to the team they last played for, with a cut off date of the 26th of May. The teams are as accurate as Wikipedia can make them. (You’re all lucky you missed the great “Inter” vs “Internazionale” revert fest.)


network vizualisation

As you can see, the top of the diagram is basically one giant smush, showing the international flavour of club football nowadays.

England are the only team where all of their players play in their home league, while Sweden and Senegal are the only teams where no-one plays in their home league. (A very simple bar chart pending on this topic some time soon.)

Iran, Panama and Peru are the least connected teams, while several others are so interconnected it’s hard to see them, and almost impossible to prevent them overlapping (looking at you, Croatia and Portugal).

This is one of the situations where the community view helps:


network diagram in community view


Using the community view makes it easier to see the team names. It also makes it easier to see which teams are tightly related to each other due to players either playing in each others leagues or players from both teams playing for teams from a third country.

There is a giant community of Croatia, France, Germany and Spain followed by a slightly smaller one of Brazil, Belgium, England (due to Manchester City). Then there are four two team groupings; Senegal and Poland, Australia and Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Colombia and Egypt and Tunisia. Everyone else is their own community.

It’ll be interesting to see how the inter-relations develop as teams are knocked out.

2018 World Cup Predictions

I’ve made my World Cup predictions. I used the Manchester Evening News Predictor. I suspect it’s the same one that all the local newspaper websites are using but it’s the only one that didn’t crash my laptop with its video.

Using some serious guesswork as to the scores, I have the follow teams qualifying from the group stages. The first-named team is the team I think will be top of the group.

Group A – Uruguay and Egypt
B – Spain and Portugal
C – France and Denmark
D – Argentina and Croatia
E – Brazil and Serbia
F – Germany and Mexico
G – Belgium and England
H – Colombia and Japan

Which leads to the following matches in the first knock out round:

Uruguay vs Portugal – Portugal. After possibly the worst game of football you will ever see.
France vs Croatia – France
Spain vs Egypt – Spain
Argentina vs Denmark – Argentina
Brazil vs Mexico – Brazil, although P will be annoyed at me for saying that.
Belgium vs Japan – I’ve gone with Belgium winning, but I am by no means sure. If someone unexpected is going to go out here, it may be Belgium.
Germany vs Serbia – Germany
Colombia vs England – England, just

If I am right, the quarterfinals will be:

Portugal vs France – France
Brazil vs Belgium – Brazil (but it will be closer than people think)
Spain vs Argentina – Argentina
Germany vs England – Germany (I get complaints from friend L. Because he thinks England can beat Germany because England have *potential* and Germany lost to Austria. England always have potential!)


France vs Brazil – France, I have a feeling about them. I will be upset when I am wrong but I have a feeling.
Argentina vs Germany – Argentina (because Germany did lose to Austria after all.)

So I think the final will be:

France vs Argentina – France! because I have a feeling.