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The algorithm and the Three Lions

Tuesday, 10 June, 2014

FiveThirtyEight has launched an interactive thingy that calculates every team’s chances of advancing past the group stage in the World Cup and eventually winning the trophy. The forecasts are based on the Soccer Power Index (SPI), an algorithm Nate Silver developed in conjunction with ESPN. For England, SPI predicts unrosy tournament prospects:

“Betting markets see England, Italy and Uruguay as about equally likely to advance while Costa Rica is in a distant fourth place. SPI, by contrast, has England and Uruguay ahead of Italy and views the group as middling enough that Costa Rica could pull off a huge upset…

…It also might not matter much in the end. England, Italy and Uruguay are the sort of teams that might be able to entertain championship dreams in a World Cup with more parity, but not in one where they would have to overcome Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Spain at some point.”

Group D


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