Here at We Global Football, we always like to be on the cutting edge of football analytics. We feel we have the best predictor for international football out there. We have developed a unique rankings system unlike any other. We have personalized trackers that enable you to calculate your own standings. And now, we bring you xCRO. xCRO is the Expected Conditional Results Outcome for any football competition.
In simple terms, xCRO is a simulator. It runs a number of trials based on conditional probabilities to predict potential results. The key here is that these probabilities are not arbitrary. Our Predictor compares two teams and produces an expected goal differential. These goal differentials correspond to probabilities which are fed into the simulator.
The first run is on the World Cup Qualifying in CONMEBOL. With each teams having only 5 or 6 games remaining, the standings do not have that much fluctuation. We put the CONMEBOL teams through 2,500 trials in xCRO, broken into 3 groupings: Automatic Qualifier, 5th place Play-off, and Out. Here are the results:
What we want to make a point of is that the “Percent of Total” does not represent exactly a team’s odds of making the World Cup. While it is a good approximation, it is simply the number of our 2,500 trials that ended up in each category.
It is obvious that xCRO likes Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia. There was not a single trial of the 2,500 in which one of those teams did not qualify automatically. This certainly makes a lot of sense. Argentina currently has a commanding lead at the top of the standings and has a strong chance of officially qualifying this June. For Ecuador or Colombia to miss out on the auto spot, 2 teams that are 4 or more points behind them would have to somehow leapfrog them despite having 1 less game remaining. This is very, very unlikely.
In 23 of the trials, Ecuador and Colombia wound up in 4th place, but neither fell lower. Argentina finished top 3 in all 2,500 trials, including first place in a whopping 72% of the simulations and 2nd place in another 21%. There was at least 1 trial in which every other team ended up as an automatic qualifier, and of the remaining teams, Chile finished in one of the top 4 spots at the highest percentage of any other team
5th place Play-off
According to xCRO, Chile, Venezuela, and Peru have the best shot of ending up in the Play-off. I really can’t argue too much with any of those teams other than wondering if Uruguay’s chances are truly that slim. The June 11th match between Venezuela and Uruguay is huge, and if Uruguay cannot get at least a point from that match, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble. 5th place is not a terrible spot to be in, but given that the top 3 teams seem set to qualify, there is not much margin for error here.
Paraguay and Bolivia are both at the precipice of elimination, and xCRO completely agrees. There were only 3 simulations total in which one of these teams qualified automatically, and each finished below the 5th place line in more than 98% of trials. Not good news for either of these nations.
Uruguay is the one team that is really troubling here. In 90% of the xCRO trials, Uruguay finished either 6th, 7th or 8th. The task ahead of them is a daunting one. They only play a game at Venezuela this June and must wait until September while teams around them pile up points. The rest of the schedule is @ Peru, home vs. Colombia, @ Ecuador, home vs. Argentina. Uruguay missed two huge opportunities in March, and they are going to pay for it. The odds are stacked against them, but a team with this much experience can never be counted out.
We will continue to bring you more xCRO projections for the other confederations as we get closer to the June match dates. Additionally, once games are played, we will continue to run trials until all teams have clinched a spot in Brazil. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @We_Global.
Thanks for reading!