Category Archives: Sports

EURO2016 – France

Le Rendez-Vous

After a long and hard-work 23 teams made their way to France for the biggest football event of this year. As the countdown continues, excitement culminates. The kick-off will take place with the “France – Romania” match at the Stade de France on Friday 10th, June at 21:00 (CET).

In this sixteenth occasion of the UEFA European Football Championship, France offers stadiums in 10 different Host Cities. Although there are some concerns about recent terrorist attacks and threats, it seems security and assurance seem to be achieved. In a country that lies in the middle of the Europe and plenty to offer in terms of tourism this might turn into a joy for the supporters who are widely spread around. 

2012

When it comes to the football, Spain will arrive with three titles and as the winner of last two competitions. Although they have created a huge disappointment at the World Cup in Brasil their strength is out of question.

france


On the other hand, France has already sat on top of the bet sites with 3/1 odds. As France hosts the Euro 2016 it will definitely take the benefit of its supporters and would like to repeat their last success once again. If they can achieve that they will be three-time-winners as Germany and Spain.

GermanyNeedless to mention Germany, as the winner of World Cup in 2014, would like to be alone at the winners club by holding the Trophy for the fourth time. And their recent track and potential supports the bet statistics are set for a reason.

The other 21 teams have all their pros and cons, and they have their words to say on the field. In order to have most out of this tournament I attached some files to the end of this article. You will find “Match Schedule” and “Regulations” and  links to the official web pages as well as my quick “Team Analysis“. [1]

Finally, I have prepared three more files for making things more fun. In the first file, which is called “Group Stage Matches”, you will find a fill-in form for all the group stage games for the possible or realised scores. Second file, which is “Road to the Cup”, is a map for further challenges after group stages, while this year there are some status changes for qualifying. Third and the last file is “My FORECASTS”. This is a final product of comprehensive analysis which is including but not limited to qualifying round and long-term performance of teams, squads’ talents, historical data and current motivation.

Enjoy the Cup!

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 07/06/2016

Official Documents:                   My Contributions:
Match Schedule                            Group Stage Matches
Regulations                                    Road to the Cup
                                                         

My FORECASTS 

Forecast Group Stage
Forecast AG Standings
Finals

 

[1] The photos in this article along with the “Regulations” and “Match Schedule” files are taken from UEFA’s Official web page.

World Cup Statistics

World Cup 2014 is going on at the full speed and we are witnessing a joyful tournament. Despite the time difference for the fans and climate difference among cities for the teams we had a chance to watch very good games. Some teams surpassed some boundaries and brought surprise to the group stage games. On the other hand some teams could not reflect their strength appropriately and head back to their homes early. All in all, every team deserves applause for bringing excitement to probably the most prominent football organisation of this year.

Following that, I would like to present an evaluation of the tournament statistics very broadly. During the group stage games 136 goals were scored and average of 2.8 is above the 2.3 goals per match statistics of the World Cup 2010. When it comes to red and yellow cards; averages dropped to 0.2 from 0.3 for reds and from 3.8 to 2.7 for yellows. These two indicators tell us that teams are playing more open and fair. Thus we observe more and more goals. Or it can also be interpreted as that FIFA encourages referees to foster more goals and less cards. The other two statistics reveal that tiki-taka is wide spread and teams improved their passes from the average of 353 to 384. Finally, we see that actual playing time drastically dropped from 69.8 minutes per match to 55.5 minutes. This can be due to the hot weather and mental change in the tactical play.

stat 48

Enjoy the “Road to the Cup”!

 

An Evaluation of my Forecasts

Now the group stage is over and teams qualified will have a rest day, but there is no rest for supporters. As I disseminated my match-end result forecasts before the kick-off and previously added note about my forecasts, now it is time for to reveal how accurate those were. In the group stage 48 matches took place and I managed to hit 23 correct results on the winner or draw, and 2 matches of it with exact scores. Roughly 50% of success ratio! However, when you make forecasts as an economist it is not so easy, there are always complications. 😉

First of all, if you claim a result before the match and would like to measure the discrepancy of the actual result with your forecast you need to calculate a variation and standard deviation of your forecasts. But in order to keep things simple (as much as I can do) I developed two methods: Namely, “Goal Average” and “Goal Difference” respectively.

With the first method, goal average in a match is calculated both for forecasts and realisations then difference of these two has been taken. Therefore, if you claimed that match result would be 2-0 and it ended as 4-2, then it is possible to conclude that the home team was strong enough to win by 2 goals in average. On the other side of the coin it is not logical to claim that your forecast was accurate with such a calculation, because there has been six goals in the end while you claimed only two. Thus, I added another calculation parameter to consider this handicap. This time, difference of realized total goals and the estimated total goals in a match has been computed. As in the above example if you claim 2-0, then the number of total goals is two and if the result is 4-2, then the number of total goals is six. Consequently difference is 4 (6-2=4), which shows that your bet was not that accurate in the end.

 

Having this information at hand I can briefly summarize my forecasts with some graphs (You can click on the link for the PDF format of graphs).

stat ERG

In the first graph; horizontal axis shows 48 group stage matches in line with the match numbers appointed by FIFA, and vertical axis indicates the possible match results (1: Home team wins, 0: Draw, and 2: Away team wins). When it comes to content of the graph blue dots represent my forecasts and red circles represent the actual outcomes. In order to keep visualisation clear I connected actual outcomes with red lines. As it is obvious, some dots are within the red circles, which means that forecasts fit the actual outcomes. 2 of this overlaps are perfect and 21 other overlaps are correct by the categories, which makes 23 hits.

 

In the second graph, discrepancies have been screened by the two methods I already explained above. Horizontal axis is shared with first graph and vertical axis redesigned for the number of goals. In the graph; red bars represent goal averages and green bars stand for goal differences. As an example, for the perfect hits (match number 23 and 31) these figures are zero and for the first match there is only green bar. Because I estimated as 2-0 for Brazil and actual outcome was 3-1 which makes the goal average zero and good estimate by the strength but incorrect estimate by the misspecification of number of goals. Instead of 2 goals in total there was 4 goals which is indicated with the goal difference of 2 in the left axis.

 

As a result it is required to combine these two methods in order to penalise such estimation errors. So, I decided to use equally weighted average of these two calculations and showed the results at the third graph. On the left axis “0 goals” is the base point and indicated that forecasts are satisfactorily in line with the actual outcomes. In the graph discrepancies calculated with the weighted average of goal averages and goal differences are showed with blue dots and connected to each other with a blue line. Any dot above the base line indicates that forecasts were under-shooting of outcomes, and dots below the line indicate an over-shooting of forecasts. While the maximum value is 2 and minimum is -3 and most of the dots scatter around the base line with a small discrepancy. In other words, this means that I could have done better but I am still satisfied with my forecasts.

When it comes to Round of 16, I managed to predict 9 teams to qualify with  two exact parings. From that standing, I have forecasted 5 out of 8 quarter-finalists with also two exact pairings. For the semi-finals, success rate is higher with 3 out of 4 due to underestimating Dutch power / overestimating Spanish tiki-taka.    

 

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 27/06/2014

 

 

For more statistics visit the official web page of FIFA and/or send me e-mail

World Cup Forecasts

And here are the afore-promised Forecasts!!!

(SPOILER ALERT)

I must warn you that if you do not want to lose the excitement of the matches and keep wandering about the results, I strictly recommend you not to open the files attached 😉

In the following three files you will find: Forecasts for whole Group Stage Games; build on it, Standings after the GS; round of 16 and finals due to Road to the Cup rules as well as teams that achieve podium standing.

May the tournament be joyful, competitive and fair.

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 11/06/2014

An Apology 

Although I had full confidence on my forecasts with a room of error the realisations were surprise to me. Yes, opening match was scened to home country support via referee; yes teams covered large distance before the matches; climate, injuries, nutrition might be all culprits for an excuse but I admit that I failed in accurate forecasting.

One way or another, some teams made a difference in this tournament with their hearts, hard-work and efforts; while some others did create disappointment. In this regard, I feel obliged to apologise for not to be able to precise in this statistically crazy World Cup event on my part for the discrepancies in my forecasts. 

Hope you enjoy the rest of the matches.

World Cup 2014

 

After a long and hard-work 32 teams made their way to Brazil for the biggest football event of this year. As the countdown continues, excitement culminates. The kick-off will take place with the “Brazil – Croatia” match at Sao Paulo on Thursday 12th, June at 17:00 (CET).

In this twentieth occasion of the World Cup series, Brazil has 12 stadiums in as many Host Cities. Although teams might have rightful concerns about travel fatigue, in a country that is in love with football and plenty to offer in terms of tourism this might turn into a joy for the supporters who are widely spread around. 

When it comes tophoto 1 the football, Spain will arrive as an invincible armada due to its last three consecutive titles of 2008, 2012 European Champion and 2010 World Champion. Therefore, Del Bosque will definitely try to keep the trophy with his proud but declining team. 

photo 3On the other hand, Brazil has already sat on top of the bet sites with 3/1 odds. As Brazil hosts the World Cup it will definitely take the benefit of its supporters and its legendary background. Their records are impressive as participating all of 19 previous competitions and achieving to collect 5 trophies. Even only these two statistics make them unique but will it be sufficient? We will see. 

The other 30 teams have all their pros and cons, and they have their words to say on the field. If you also have yours I added some files at the end of this article. You will find groups, venues, match calendar with days and hours at the “Match Schedule”. There are also “Rules of Game” and “List of Players” as official documents. You can click the official web pages of FIFA and UEFA for more information and further details.[1]

Finally, I have prepared three more files for making things more fun. In the first file, which is called “Group Stage Matches”, you will find a fill-in form for all the group stage games for the possible or realized scores. Second file, which is “Road to the Cup”, is a map for further challenges after group stages. Third and the last one is “My FORECASTS”. This is a final product of comprehensive analysis which is including but not limited to qualifying round and league performance of teams, squads’ talents, historical data and current motivation.

Enjoy the Cup!

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 30/05/2014

Official Documents:                      My Contributions:
Match Schedule                             Group Stage Matches
Rules of the Game                         Road to the Cup
List of Players                                 My FORECASTS (Will be avaialable as of the kick-off whistle)

 

[1] The photos in this article along with the “Rules of the Game”, “Match Schedule” and “List of Players” files are taken from FIFA’s Official web page.

UEFA Winners

This is it! Season is over and both Champions League and Europa League have their winners. FC Bayern München had their fifth European Cup victory at their tenth appearance. With these statistics Bayern have become the joint (with Liverpool FC) third most successful club in European Cup history after Real Madrid CF (9) and AC Milan (7).

Ch L winner

When it comes to Chelsea FC, this win might stay under the shadow of last year’s Champions League winner title but story has more. With this reward they became entitled to be called as “a member of illustrious band of clubs”. There were only four teams who have lifted each of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. And those were AFC Ajax, FC Bayern München and Juventus. Now the blues managed to be the fourth.


Eu L winner

As a final word, I would like to add some personal comments on finals. First of all, it is striking that both games ended 2-1 and deciding goal was at last minutes. Second, runner-ups’ scored from penalty spot although they had many occasions to score fantastic goals. Last but not least, both of the games resulted in favour of the favourites based on historical data and economic power with no surprise. These observations of mine are not intended to create plot stories. I liked the way Benfica and Dortmund played during the season and at the finals. Their discipline, fortitude and eye-pleasing football is worth to be credited. However, it takes more than it seems. In this regard a special praise must be given to Fernando Torres and Arjen Robben. I recommend you to watch once again how they make room for themselves, control the ball and create a position from out of nothing. And how smooth and calm are their final touches. When you weight all these things small details change the whole outcome.  

From another perspective, I think these finals were a match-up of “Statistics vs Passion“. And out of question, statistics are not compiled with luck or support from outside. Although Dortmund’s passion prevailed against Real Madrid this time it did not work. Bayern showed us that when they lost last year they learnt from their mistakes and improved themselves. This was their third final in four years and it can be concluded that, if you work hard and fix your problems you can make it. Needless to say you can say similar things for Chelsea, too.

Winner takes it all!
Congratulations for them and their supporters.   

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 26/05/2013