At the time of writing, England’s Football World Cup dreams are still very much alive. This was actually predicted by Michael Molyneaux, Program Manager for Excel, and his team more than a month ago . But what about other 2018 World Cup predictions?
Michael and his colleagues developed an Excel-model where they, among other techniques, are using a Poisson Distribution  to determine the probability of a team scoring a goal during a match and they have also incorporated Football Elo ratings  to determine the expectancy of a team winning a game.
As you can see in the picture, the model predicted a match between England and Colombia as part of the round of 16.
The match was played on Tuesday 3 July and according to the model developed by Michael and his Excel-team, England is a bit more likely to win than Colombia.
And the model got it right!
When Models of Reality fail
However, the model is far from perfect. Germany, the current World Champions, were supposed to clash with Brazil for the 2018 World Cup title, but, as you probably know, Germany didn’t even make it past the group stage.
Similarly, Russia qualified to the Quarter-Finals after beating Spain, but they were not even considered good enough to make it past the group stage by Michael and his team’s model.
That’s just some of those real-life events that wreak havoc with carefully constructed models of reality. It is easy to get it wrong.
Even if you deploy a team of 18 analysts to develop a model and then run 10,000 computer simulations of the tournament you can still get it wrong – as UBS did shortly before the tournament started . Their predicted World Cup winner? Germany.
You can change the outcome
If you think you are smarter than UBS and the Excel team, you can download Microsoft’s spreadsheet  and adjust the model according to your superior football knowledge (or maybe just guess?).
You can change the parameters used by increasing or decreasing the baseline set by the developers and also change the ranking of the teams.
Bing’s World Cup Predictions
If that is too much tweaking and fiddling, you can just use Bing instead to predict the outcome of the upcoming matches. Just search for “World Cup predictions” and Bing will give you it’s own predictions of the upcoming matches.
Bing was actually quite successful in predicting match winners in the knockout stages of World Cup 2014 , so maybe you should check Bing before you make a quick bet with your friends?
We will know which team is the World Champion in Football on 15 July.
We will also know how well various predictions have fared.
My prediction is that no one gets it 100 percent correct.
P.S. Please don’t mention Denmark’s penalty shoot-out against Croatia. I am still recovering from that defeat.
P.P.S. If you saw Denmark playing against France, I want to apologise for the most boring 0-0 match ever. Sorry!
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 How We Built our Soccer Tournament Predictor in Excel
 Poisson distribution
 World Football ELO Ratings
 Germany Will Win the World Cup, UBS Says After 10,000 Simulations
 Download: Excel Winner Predictor
 Microsoft Bing beats Google in World Cup predictions