Sports Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for participants in team and individual sport activities. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the context of the FIFA World Cup, does a team being placed in a "Group of death" have much of an impact on the likelihood of a team winning the tournament?

For example, would a mid-ranking team have its likelihood of winning the tournament, prior to any matches being played, be 1 in 10 if it's in an easy group, and 1 in 100 if it's in a difficult group, or would the difference be more like 1 in 10 versus 1 in 10.1?

share|improve this question
That type of statistic is very uncommon for football, I believe it's more common for predominantly american sports. Besides there haven't been THAT many world cups (19 to be precise, #20 is being played now) to draw proper statistical power for such analysis. – posdef Jun 24 '14 at 12:14
The term 'Group of Death' is fairly subjective—official rankings have only existed for a few years and are themselves of dubious value (favouring strong teams in weak confederations). The last two winners (at the time of posting) navigated groups where at least three of four teams were competitive. Looking at this page (doesn't contain sources, not definitive), Italy were 10/1 going into the 2006 tournament—the longest odds of any winner in recent times. Clearly the tough group didn't deter the bookies that much. – rgchris Jul 10 '14 at 6:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.