Last time we told you, with some success, what was going to happen in the group stage of the Women’s World Cup in Canada. Now we move on to the next stage and give you our predictions for the knockout rounds and see if the favorites have stayed the same.

Ups and downs

Our predictions for the group stage went relatively well, you can check for yourself here. We were able to guess all the first placed teams but missed Cameroon and Colombia who qualified instead of Spain and New Zealand. Cameroon’s run is possibly the main surprise of this tournament at this point, giving Ecuador a 6-0 thrashing then moving on to beat Switzerland.

After the tournament, we’ll take some time to go over our predictions, see what went right and look for areas of improvement. Here are two pointers:

  • Predicting draws is a subtle affair.
  • Gauging the strength of African teams is still mostly guess work.

For now, let’s move on to our new forecast.

What’s next ?

As we explained last time, we have been using the FIFA Women’s World Ranking to make our predictions, since it has historically shown good predictive power. The ratings we used last time were the last one realeased by FIFA on March 27th but we decided to be a bit more precise for our next round of predictions. As such, we updated the original ratings using FIFA’s own formula. We used the results of all the matches since the last ranking was released, including the matches from the World Cup group stage. Click below if you want to see our new ratings.

Once again we gave Canada 100 points to account for their home field advantage. With these updated ratings, we obtain the following odds for any match-up between teams involved in the round of 16.

Note that we do not predict such things as extra times or penalties. In a simple model, these can usually be considered as draws that have a 50% chance to go either way.

You can use these odds for potential match-ups in the next rounds as well. To obtain our complete predictions, We tried to be a bit more precise, though, by updating a team’s index after each possible win. As such if, for example, Cameroon were to play against the USA today, we would estimate their chances of winning at around 3.1%. However, if they win against China, their rating would jump by 35 points, while the USA’s rating would only increase by 3 points if they win against Colombia. As such, if they meet in the quarter final, Cameroon’s chances will have jumped all the way to 3.7%. Alright, this may not sound like much, but when running our model and going over all possible bracket configurations (that’s over 30,000 in total), this does have a small effect on our final predictions.

And so we can jump to our complete forecasting for the World Cup’s knockout stage:

Looking at the potential winner, we can see four groups of teams.

The favorites

The U.S.A. (26%) and Germany (21%). Interestingly, though Germany has the highest rating, they will have a much tougher go at first, possibly having to beat Sweden, France and the U.S. before making it to the final. Meanwhile, The U.S. will face Colombia and most likely China in the quarter final before they meet Germany. If Germany reaches the semi-finals, they will become the new favorite, but for now the U.S. have the edge.

The outsiders

Canada, Japan and France whose chances hover around 10%. Canada’s chances in our model mainly stem from their home field advantage. If you do not believe it can have such a strong effect, you should lower their odds somewhere betwen Australia’s and England’s. France is a tough call here: should we believe in their chances based on what they showed before the World Cup or does their loss against Colombia indicate some deeper troubles? Our personnal assessment is that their rebound win 5-0 against Mexico is a sign of their resilience.

The long shots

Sweden, Brazil, England, Norway and the Netherlands each probably want to have a say in this story, and they have shown in recent history (and even in the group stage) that they can beat even the strongest teams. Still, betting on any of these teams at this point would be a bold move.

The bystanders

Cameroon, Korea, Switzerland, Colombia and to some extent China, have, according to our model, virtually no chance of winning. Of those, China is the only one we expect to see in the quarter finals. Still, if you’re looking for an upset, you should take a look at their match against Cameroon. Nobody saw them coming so far, who knows what Neymar Gaelle Enganamouit and Gabrielle Onguene have in store next!

We’ll debrief the World Cup and our predictions after the final. Meanwhile enjoy the show !

Photo by IQRemix shared under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

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