World Cup stats show Holland will win
A STATISTICIAN has modelled 100,000 possible outcomes in the knockout stages of the World Cup to predict the eventual winner – Holland.
Ian McHale, a senior lecturer in statistics at the University of Salford, said the Dutch have better than a one in six chance of becoming world champions.
But, according to the model, England's chances are plain average. The bookies may rate Fabio Capello's men at 10-1, but McHale said he would give the team just a one in 16 chance in the last 16.
This is partly down to their poor showing in the first two matches of the group stage and also because of a tough draw, which sees them face Germany this afternoon followed by a possible quarter-final with Argentina.
McHale used data from 9,000 international matches played over the past eight years. He found significant factors included how far teams had to travel, the difference in world rankings, and whether teams were moving up or down the rankings.
The type of tournament was a factor, with better teams taking major tournaments more seriously. He also looked at the last eight matches played by each of the teams and weighed the results relative to the strength of the opposition.
He said Holland are favourites over Brazil because they have won their last eight matches. Surprisingly, his model placed Uruguay as third favourites, with a one in seven chance.
McHale said: "Uruguay seem a little overrated, but they have a relatively easy run to the final."
Meanwhile, Chile, who play Brazil tomorrow, were given just a one in a thousand chance of being crowned overall winners.
Bookmakers William Hill said Brazil are 10-3 favourites while Spain are 4-1, Argentina 9-2, Holland 7-1, England 10-1 and Germany 12-1. Uruguay are put at 18-1 and Chile 40-1, while the big outsider is Slovakia at 125-1.
Punters looking to the statistics to guide their bets should be advised that before the tournament McHale said he was going to have a flutter on France, ranked 11-1 by his model.
However, the statistical analysis did not account for turmoil within the French camp, a players' boycott and a swift flight home.
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