After yesterday’s enormously entertaining games – 7-0!!! – there’s the distinct possibility of a couple of World Cup snoozefests today, although we imagine South Africa will go all out to knock seven bells out of the French cheese-eating surrender monkeys, as Bafana Bafana strive to do their country – and the host nation – proud.
So the conclusion of Group A this afternoon might largely be something of an anti-climax, as Mexico and Uruguay would both be happy with a point and we’ll be surprised if the French bother to show up at all – that’s if there’s even enough of them left in the country to put a full team out.
Circumstances being what they are, our panel might appear to be on easy street today, but football’s a funny game. Who knows where that wacky ball will end up when punted goalwards from a 30-yard free kick? Or which goalkeeper will forget the fundamental skills they picked up at goalkeeping school and let a harmless daisycutter roll between their legs? Or which top-class professional footballer will gaily slap an opponent or elbow them in the chest – causing a mysteriously related facial injury – and get themselves sent off?
Oh, yes, Mexico vs Uruguay might seem innocuous enough, but surely both teams want to win the group? Who fancies playing Argentina and who wants to avoid them? Might their be an undercurrent of national pride and Latin American rivalry coursing through the players’ veins? Or will we all relive the heady days of 1982, when West Germany and Austria virtually brought sleeping bags on to the pitch to play out the dullest game in the history of football in order to secure qualification for all concerned?
Here are today’s predictions from our panel:
- Dr Ian McHale, a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Salford: “If they draw they both go through. Mexico have looked pretty good, though. They are pretty close according to the model, so I am going to go for a draw.”
- David Williams, head of PR at Ladbrokes: “Draw”.
- Chris Day, goalkeeper for Stevenage FC: “0-0!!”
- Laura Daligan, ‘psychic, artist and pin-up’: “I feel Mexico will beat Uruguay. They seem to be playing well and in control of the ball.”
So it’s three draws and a win for Mexico predicted. The last time we had a 3:1 prediction ratio like this was for the Italy game – and Laura was right about that. In the crazy world of 2010, you just never know. As our stats man Dr Ian McHale said yesterday, “This World Cup has turned into the most unpredictable tournament in history. France looks like a silly tip now! Note – it was not my tip; rather, it was the mathematics’ tip!”
These are just predictions, of course – what will the reality be? Why not add your comments and predictions below?
Remember: this is just for fun and all predictions are for entertainment only. Any mortgages lost or other sums squandered based on the information supplied are your own responsibility! And yes, I will keep mentioning this every day. I’s on a roll now.
Incidentally, if you want to read our magazine feature on the science of football prediction, I can heartily recommend it. If you’re not much of a reader, wear your eyeballs out on the accompanying football predictions video.