2018 World Cup Final Diagram

What a match!

Probably the best final since 1994, although, admittedly, my memory only goes back to 1994.

Exciting, excruciating, and while the better team won, I feel terribly sorry for Croatia. Also, I told you that Lloris would drop a clanger.

No community view this time because once you’re down to two teams it doesn’t add any value.

Two team network

Five teams would have had a winner either way (Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Monaco, Real Madrid), this is a lot more than normal.

Possibly because very few Croats (2/23) play in their home league, and only 9/23 French players play in the French league.

At the last World Cup final, only two teams would have had a winner no matter who won, and those two teams were Real Madrid and Lazio.

Comparing it to the last two Euros, which I can do because this World Cup final was an all European final, in 2016 only Lyon would have had a winner whichever side won, and in 2012 there was only 1, Manchester City who had Mario Balotelli on one side and David Silva on the other.

Six clubs jointly had the most players in the final two teams, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Marseille, Monaco, Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid.

Juventus are the club team nearest the centre.


World Cup Final Prediction

I’m going to say France will win because I predicted them before the start of the tournament and I like to be consistent.

I think they’ll do it because they’ve got that little bit more quality throughout. Before anyone says anything about *that* Croatian midfield, I know they’re good, and I love them, but the thing they don’t like, real, proper Modric and Rakitic kryptonite, is someone who harries them and doesn’t give them space on the ball. In N’Golo Kante, France have an excellent proponent of that.

I am looking forward to the tiny midfielder football off.

While Lloris hasn’t had one of his regular clangers, I have the greatest of doubts about Danijel Subašić’s goalkeeping. Croatia also have Vida, who is one of those players *things* happen to and I fear the next one is going to be a bad thing.

France also have Mbappe. Who is better than advertised!

There’s also more than a small part of me that wants France to win just for Didier Deschamps who I loved as a player.

2018 World Cup Semifinal Network Visualisations

Semi final team data viz

As Croatia are the team sticking out, I suspect that they are the least likely to progress.

France, Belgium and England are a giant smush still.

Spurs are the team with the most have most players left with 9, followed by Manchester City and Manchester United on 7. Manchester City lost several players when Brazil were knocked out.

Paris Saint Germain are the club team nearest the centre, while France are the national team nearest the centre.

The community view is interesting.


There are 4 teams and 7 communities, one for each country and then 1 for Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool. I don’t quite follow why Barcelona is separate but Monaco isn’t since they both connect 3 teams and have one player from 2 of the teams and 2 from the third. I presume Juventus are their own community because they have 1 player from Croatia and 1 from France and it’s more logical than giving Juventus to either country. However, following that logic, I’m not sure why Lovren is in the Croatia community rather than the Liverpool one, unless it’s because of the extra distance he is away from the others.

2018 World Cup Semifinal Predictions

Of the quarterfinals, the only one I called wrong was Brazil vs Belgium and I was very happy to be wrong.

I was unfortunately right that Uruguay minus Cavani lack bite, well, they still had Suarez, but that’s the wrong kind of bite 😉

I am both sad for Russia and happy for Croatia.

As for the semifinals, I cannot separate France and Belgium. France do have the feeling of having reached the semis without difficulty, and they have Mbappe (and Didier Deschamps). On the other hand, N’Golo Kante and Mbappe apart, Belgium may have the better player in most positions – I really rate the Alderwiereld / Vertonghen combination, Lloris hasn’t had his monthly clanger yet in the French goal, and that Belgian midfield are terrifyingly good.

I will stick with my France prediction from before the start of the World Cup.

It should at least be a good match.

Croatia vs England may well not be as good. But it should be interesting. Because um, yeah, they’re reasonably well matched. Or rather I have the greatest doubts about the Croatian goalie and defence, but their midfield are stonking, while England have a solid attack and a solid defence.

Logic says Croatia, an unfortunate promise to be nicer to England says England.

2018 World Cup Quarterfinal Network Diagrams

Quarterfinal network diagrams

Note how far Russia are from everyone else.

Manchester City remain the team with the most players (11) but they are now followed by Spurs (9) and Paris Saint Germain and Manchester United (8 each). Real Madrid and Barcelona’s numbers dropped rapidly and suddenly. I think Russia are responsible 😉

France or Croatia are the national side nearest the middle. It’s very hard to tell which is the closest given how far away all the teams are from the centre, mostly because Russia and Sweden are so far away from other teams that it distorts the graph.

Monaco are the club side nearest the middle.

When Shinji Okazi was removed from the network (because of Japan’s sad loss) it separated Belgium from England. I think that’s because the weight of Japan was pulling England down into Belgium.

Network diagram coloured by community

All 8 countries are their own communities. It’s interesting to see which teams have been linked to which countries. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man City are all “Brazilian”, while Spurs, United and Liverpool are English. Chelsea are “Belgian” while Krasnodar are “Swedish”, which is probably news to them. Atletico Madrid are Uruguayan, but that at least makes sense.

2018 World Cup Quarterfinal Predictions

My second round predictions were:

France vs Argentina – predicted France, France won, the match was every bit as close as I thought it would be.

Uruguay vs Portugal – predicted Uruguay, Uruguay won, a much better match than I expected. I do hope Cavani is all right for the quarterfinals.

Spain vs Russia – predicted Spain, Russia won because this World Cup is glorious. My Spanish boss got the details right about what would happen in his doom-laden prediction beforehand.

Croatia vs Denmark – predicted Croatia, was right, damn it.

Mexico vs Brazil – predicted Brazil, was right, damn it all.

Belgium vs Japan – predicted Belgium, was right, damn it all again, and was even more right about it being closer than people expected. Japan are a good side and I don’t get why people don’t realise that.

Sweden vs Switzerland – predicted Switzerland, was wrong.

England vs Colombia – predicted lots of goals and Colombia and was wrong on both counts.

Predictions for the quarterfinals:

France vs Uruguay – on the one hand, France were my pre-tournament pick to win the whole thing and have been solid. On the other hand, my heart belongs to Diego Godin. Being rational, I think France will win, especially if Cavani is injured but I am hoping for Uruguay.

Russia vs Croatia – logic says Croatia. Logic has little to do with this Russian team. I think Croatia will do it though.

Brazil vs Belgium – probably Brazil but …

Sweden vs England – this will either be really exciting or the dullest match ever. Sweden have enough about them to frustrate England but I don’t know if they have enough going forward to beat them so I will go with England.

2018 World Cup Second Round Network Diagrams

While most of the eliminated nations were, as expected, the ones around the edges of the diagram, the elimination of Germany has helped to reduce the crowding in what was the top of the diagram.

Network diagram of teams through to the second round of the 2018 World Cup

In the first round diagram Werder Bremen and Denmark (probably) were the club and national team closest to the centre of the diagram. I say probably because it was really hard to tell because even the closest national team was some way away from the centre.

In the second round diagram Genoa and Switzerland and the club and national team closest to the centre.

The club team with the most players still in hasn’t changed, it is still Manchester City, who have only lost one player, going down from 16 players to 15 players. The teams in second and third place haven’t changed but have changed order, because Barcelona are now in second place with 13, having lost only one player, while Real Madrid who had been in second place, having lost 3 players.

Community view of the teams in the second round of the 2018 World Cup

The community view has changed significantly. There is now only one multi-team community, England and Belgium, who remain a single community because of number of Belgian players who play in England. Several of the other multi-team groups have either had both members knocked out (Poland and Senegal and Tunisia and Egypt) or the removal of one team (Germany) has split the entire group.