France brings a formidable squad to the 2018 World Cup. This talent rich team has a 10.1% chance to win according to my ensemble numbers, 4th best among all teams.
The markets also like France. They not only have one of the best chances to win the tourney, but the markets say this France team will score 9.5 goals.
However, the numbers suggest this goal total is high. To analyze the tournament, I simulate it 50,000 times based on offense and defense rankings that take match results and adjust for strength of schedule. These simulations allow me calculate the win probability for each team.
Recently, I adapted my code so that it also calculates the number of goals each team scores. Note this team goal total depends on how far the team is likely to advance. Favorites like Brazil and France have the highest goal totals, while long shots like Saudi Arabia and Iran have the lowest.
The simulations give a goal total of 7.4 for France, much less than the market value of 9.5 goals.
We can dig further into the analytics to uncover why France isn’t expected to score up to their talent level. They tend to cross the ball, which leads to contested headers with a low probability of success. This is fine for less talented teams like the United States, but it’s a waste when you have strikers like Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.
According to a recent article on FiveThirtyEight, crosses make up 23.5% of France’s successful passes into the opponent’s penalty area. This rate is the 15th highest among 32 World Cup teams and a travesty for a team with loads of attacking talent.
The Power Rank 2018 World Cup Analytics now has projected total team goals for all 32 teams. It also has the following:
- Ensemble prediction for the win probability for each team
- Ensemble probability for each team to advance to the knockout stage
- Win, loss, draw probability for each group stage match
- Notes on injuries and situations for each team
To get The Power Rank 2018 World Cup Analytics, click on “I want this!”