WC 2022 SophCon: Standings after the QFs

And then there were 4. Croatia, Argentina, Morocco and France are still alive in the World Cup. How did the events of the last week affect the SophCon? Here are the intermediate standings at the end of the QFs:

James Reade (@jjreade) ‘s Red model still at the top, followed by Jesus P’s human prediction, and the “Goalkeepers” prediction, based on the TransferMarkt value of the top goalkeeper on each World Cup squad. Others in the top-10: FiveThirtyEight (a good prediction model, not for the first time), FIFA (!), Stephen K, and the KU Leuven team.

Almost all the predictions are doing better than Agnostic (except for some human predictions that took too risky gambles), and other predictions that were not expected to be that good in the first place (a country’s Scrabble score does not predict footballing success. Sorry Switzerland and South Korea! And economic variables alone cannot account for Luka Modric and Hakim Ziyech).

There are now 8 possible scenarios left for the SophCon, and if you are so inclined, you could download the Master Spreadsheet (Google sheets link here. Excel link below) and see how different scenarios affect the final SophCon standings. I won’t spoil the fun, but will just say that the final winner has not been determined yet (and there is still a lot of jostling for positions in the back).

That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of the World Cup!


WC 2022 SophCon: Standings at the end of the Group Stage

And then there were 16…

It has been an exciting group stage (maybe the most exciting ever?), with only 5 teams that were sure of their destiny after the first two match days, and lots of changes in rankings in many of the groups in the last match day. This has also meant lots of changes in the SophCon intermediate standings. Given the nature of the scoring system, some of these changes have been quite dramatic!

But now the dust has settled, and we can look at final standings at the end of the group stage:

The “Match Day 2” prediction was made after the end of Match Day 2, with full knowledge of what had happened up to that point. It is not part of the competition, but I included it in the table because I was curious to see how other predictions stacked up against it.

Congratulations to Red (@jjreade on Twitter), who storms to the top of the standings despite his late entry into the competition. It looks like Red’s predictions were based on a very simple algorithm!

Going down the rankings, we find two human-based predictions in the top 5 (Jesper and yours truly), FiveThirtyEight with yet another strong showing in the top 10, and then a lot of predictions based on TransferMarkt’s player valuations. If you ever wondered, attack wins matches and defense wins championships, but it’s goalkeepers that win the Sophisticated Prediction Contest!

If you want to follow the standings live or play with your own scenarios, you can download the updated master spreadsheet here:

Or, you can also follow on Google Sheets: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s4uHM7OfXUhJ9nF4rrbeFDYNjRQukwnk/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=115635134690621713751&rtpof=true&sd=true

Now on to the Round of 16! Enjoy the rest of the World Cup, and the rest of the SophCon!

WC2022 SophCon: Standings after Match Day 2

There are a lot of highly contested groups in this year’s World Cup, with teams that did well in Match Day 1 having a poor showing in Match Day 2, and vice versa (hello Costa Rica!). This means also a lot of changes in the SophCon standings. Without further ado, here are the intermediate(*) standings after Match Day 2:

We have a new leader at the top of the standings! Congrats to Jesus and his human prediction! In fact, by my count, three of the top 10 forecasts are not computer generated. Computers can beat humans at chess and Go, but can they do it in the Sophisticated Prediction Contest? We will have to wait and see until the end of the World Cup!

As a reminder, you can download the Master Spreadsheet here:

The master spreadsheet is now also available on Google Sheets here.

Match Day 3 starts tomorrow, enjoy!

(*) To calculate the intermediate standings, I have applied the log loss formula only to the predictions about qualifying to the second round. That is, the following two predictions for Brazil (one that thinks that Brazil will crash out in the Round of 16 with probability 0.9, and the other one that thinks will win the World Cup with probability 0.9) will have the exact same intermediate score.


WC2022 SophCon: Standings after Day 1

We are already at the end of match day 1, and here are the intermediate standings of Sophisticated Prediction Contest. I am following the World Cup Wikipedia page to determine the standings and the tiebreakers (South Korea ahead of Uruguay in Group H because of alphabetical order).

Congrats to AIrgentina for the prestigious intermediate award, but there is a lot of fĂștbol left to be played, so don’t despair even if you are trailing at the moment.

You can download the Master spreadsheet below and play with your own scenarios:

Good luck to everybody, and enjoy the rest of the World Cup!

WC2022 SophCon: the Master spreadsheet

Thanks to all those who entered the Sophisticated Prediction Contest. We have a grand total of 57 submissions! Below is the full list of participants.

And here are Collective Consciousness’ predictions:

Or, sorted by the overall probability of winning the World Cup:

No big surprises here: Brazil are the clear favorites, followed by Argentina (this is based on predictions before the WC began!), then the big European powers (France, Spain, England, Germany and the Netherlands, in that order), then everyone else.

So, how can you know if your predictions are doing well? I will post regular updates here and on twitter (@Futbolmetrix1). But, you can also follow on your own by downloading the Master spreadsheet, where you can play with your own scenarios. Open the sheet named “Master”, try out different scenarios, and then check the “Standings” sheet (don’t forget to refresh the columns!).

Download the Master spreadsheet below:

That’s it for the moment, enjoy the World Cup!

World Cup 2022 Sophisticated Prediction Contest

Hello, and welcome to the 2022 World Cup Sophisticated Prediction Contest!

Your goal is to assign to each team the probability that they will be eliminated in the group stages, the round of 16, the quarterfinals, the semifinal, the losing finalist and the winner. Predictions will be scored using the logarithmic scoring rule. Can you beat ESPN’s prediction juggernaut, FiveThirtyEight? Can you beat predictions based on economic data alone? Can you at least beat Agnostic, who believes that all teams are exactly identical, and basically guesses randomly?

Here are the final results of the WC2018 contest, here is some analysis, and here is some additional analysis. The defending champion, ClubElo/ClubTM, ranked WC teams based on the quality of the clubs in which its team members play their club football (lots of players at Manchester City –> good, lots of players in the third tier of [insert your most despised country here] –> not so good). Full WC squads have not been announced yet, but I am optimistic that ClubElo/ClubTM will be back on the starting line to defend its title.

Without further ado, download the spreadsheet here:

Complete the spreadsheet[*] and send your completed entries with “SophCon” in the subject line to futbolmetrix@yahoo.com. Deadline for submissions is kickoff of the first match. I may accept marginally late entries if you pinky swear that you didn’t let early results influence your picks.

May the most sophisticated person or bot win!

[*] Note that there are some restrictions on the entries in the table. There can be only one final winner of the World Cup, so the sum of the probabilities in the P_WF column must add up to 1. If your entry is correct, there will be a number of cells in the spreadsheet saying “OK”. If there are mistakes, some of the cells will say “Must = 2” or “Must = 4”. Sometimes these are rounding errors. I may try to fix some of these errors myself, but cannot guarantee it. If you want to make sure that your entry will be counted, please check for yourself that the entry is correct.

European Cups Group Stage Sophisticated Prediction Contest: The Results!

Drumroll, please…

Champions League

Europa League

Conference League Final Standings

Combined Rankings

Some comments

In the most prestigious competition, MH defended his title from last year, and now has now a total of 11 different SophCon wins, starting from the first ever SophCon I administered, back in World Cup 2002.

You are welcome to have a look at the master sheets (links provided in the previous post) to see which of your predictions did well, and which ones hurt your score.

In the Europa League, the FiveThirtyEight juggernaut takes the crown (its 5th SophCon triumph across all competitions).

In the Conference League, money talks (or at least Transfermarket’s user assessed values of players).

Finally, another win for the humans in the combined rankings. Well done to Werner! TransferMarkt’s predictions (by yours truly) take the title of the best prediction model.

Thanks to all for participating, and see you in a couple of weeks for the World Cup SophCon!

European Cups SophCon: List of entrants and Master spreadsheets

Thanks to all who entered this year’s Sophcon. We have 18 participants in the Champions League SophCon, 16 in the Europa League one, and 17 in the Conference League one.

Below you can download the Master spreadsheets:

You can edit the spreasheet labeled “Master” to see how different scenarios affect the competition standings (in the “Standings” spreadsheet — refresh the Pivot Table to make sure you have the most up to date standings).

Good luck to everybody!

European Cups Sophisticated Prediction Contest 2022-2023: Group Stage

The SophCon is back! For a second year running, we have three different competitions, from the shiny nights of the Champions League to the obscure corners of the Conference League. Sure, you can predict PSG and Manchester City cruising to the Round of 16, but can you do it on a rainy Thursday night in Vaduz?

This year’s format is like last year: you have to assign to each team the probability of finishing in places 1-4. As a reminder, third place Champions League teams get transferred to the Europa League, and third placed Europa League teams get transferred to the Conference League.

Last year’s champions: MH (Champions’ League), TransferMarkt by Futbolmetrix (Europa League), JackC @thirteen_nil (Conference League). See also here: European Cups Group Stage 2021 Sophisticated Prediction Contest: The Results! Can you beat them this year?

Without further ado, here are the spreadsheets. As usual, send your completed entries to futbolmetrix@yahoo.com

Good luck to all, and the may the most sophisticated win!

European Cups Sophisticated Prediction Contest, Knockout Round: The Results!

Yes, we had a SophCon for the knockout round of the three main European club competitions this year. Without further ado, here are the results:

Champions League

A nice win for Jesper’s human entry in the main competition, but FiveThirtyEight’s prediction gets the consolation prize of the lowest Brier score and lowest RPS score.

Europa League

Jesper gets first place again, again just ahead of FiveThirtyEight. This time, all three scoring methods agree on the winner.

Conference League

Jesper falls just short of a historic treble. ClubElo ratings (with some help by yours truly) tops the Conference League ranking.

Thanks to all who played, and see you in September for the Group Stages of the 2022-2023 European Cups!