Report: USMNT won’t make it out of group stage, says statistical analysis

Mix Diskerud, Jozy Altidore

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

The biggest question that the U.S. Men’s National Team faces this summer is whether it can make it out of the group stage at the World Cup.

While some might argue the U.S. will find a way to advance, American investment banking firm Goldman Sachs thinks otherwise. According to an analysis of the 2014 World Cup, economists at Goldman Sachs predict the USA will fail to make it out of the group stage.

The firm gave the USMNT a 41 percent chance of making it to the knockout stages, and predicted a pair of 1-1 draws with Ghana and Portugal and a 2-1 loss to Germany in the final match. Goldman Sachs predicts that the U.S. will finish tied for last in the group with Ghana, which is predicted to have the same exact score lines. Germany and Portugal are expected to finish in first and second, respectively.

Goldman Sachs also gave the U.S. a 22.4 percent chance of making the quarterfinals, an 8.7 percent chance of making the semifinals, a 2.2 percent chance of making it to the final, and a .5 percent chance of winning the World Cup.

According to the study, Germany has an 85 percent chance of making it out of the group, Portugal has a 54.1 percent chance, and Ghana has just a 19.9 chance of making it to the knockout stages.

While those odds don’t seem great, even the favorite to win the whole tournament, Brazil, only has a 48.5 percent chance to win the title. However, that number is much higher than the next contenders Argentina (14.1 percent chance), Germany (11.4 percent chance), Spain (9.8 percent chance), and the Netherlands (5.6 percent chance).

Goldman Sachs predicted that Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and Spain would be the four semifinalists, with Brazil defeating Argentina, 3-1, in the final to win the World Cup and purge the memory of the Maracanzo, the loss in the 1950 World Cup final to Uruguay.

The predictions are based on a regression analysis that used more than 14,000 international competitive games (no friendlies) to determine coefficient estimates in the model.

Goldman Sachs also used the less-known ELO Rankings as a variable, and considered goals scored, goals conceded, whether matches were played at home or away, on a home continent, and whether they took place in a World Cup or just in qualification matches.

Goldman Sachs then ran the variables through a simulator with more than 100,000 probabilities. The study’s authors did make clear that the analysis is completely statistical, and doesn’t take into account a team losing its top player to injury or, in the USMNT’s case, having a key player left off the 23-man roster.

——-

What do you think of this study? Think the USMNT’s chances are better than the statistics show? What variables do you think can give the USMNT a better chance in Brazil?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, FIFA World Cup, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

182 Responses to Report: USMNT won’t make it out of group stage, says statistical analysis

  1. Ali Dia says:

    I’ve got them at 100% to win the group outright. But Vegas gave me 10-1 anyway.

    • milbo says:

      What do they have on Merritt Paulsonmake it to the playoffs

    • Hogatroge says:

      I’m putting $10 on Costa Rica to win it all. Payout’s 2500:1

      Low risk, high reward, baby!

    • Lorenzo says:

      What were the statistics we would get it out of the group in 2002? What were the statistics we would make it out of the group, beat Spain, and make it to the final. What were the statistics we would in the group last time?

      USA is particularly good at proving statistics (and commentators) wrong.

      • MLSsnob says:

        +1 however numbers don’t lie over the long term, ask warren buffet.

        • Rory Miller says:

          I wouldn’t throw away 10 bucks on this squad to make it out of the group unless i got like 300 to 1 odds.

          Seriously, I don’t see how anyone could say there’s a 41% chance of us finishing 2nd… but then again all these pre-stats are silly garbage anyway. There is no accurate data you can use in any stat like this, this isn’t like checking the weather and seeing on how many days with the same temp and barometric pressure that it rained on out of the last 100 matching days. It’s disgusting a guy like Nate Silver has made a living out of pushing nonsensical fantasy math.

      • DWE4 says:

        2002 World Cup – needed South Korea to needlessly push for the win against Portugal
        2009 Confed Cup – needed Brazil to beat Italy 3-0 to match our 3-0 win over Egypt
        2010 World Cup – needed England to…well…be England and draw Slovenia. Oh, and that last-minute goal by what’s-his-face.

        I’m not beating down the USMNT’s prior successes. They were awesome. It takes a little luck at the US’s level in world football. We don’t often advance without another force we can’t control improving our fortunes. Run that through your statistical model, Goldman Sachs. (Oh, and get back to work!! Who’s manipulating the markets when you’re playing soccer on your computers?)

        • Matt C says:

          DWef: Excellent point. It takes a some good fortune to win the world cup. Even when we did “well” in the WC (2002) as you point out we needed luck and help to get out of our group. Nice win against Portugal….but then we need other teams to fail, who probably shouldn’t have. we had a win, draw and a loss and some great goalkeeping to get to the knockouts. So it’s not as if we were a “great team” and cruised through the group play. Then we were lucky enough to draw Mexico, whom we were not afraid of.

          Some luck or good fortune—whatever you want to call it— has to fall your way to win this thing.

        • analyst/therapist says:

          These are good points, but we also got really screwed by refs in 2009 and 2010

          • Matt C says:

            Agree, and you kind of reinforced my point… We did not have good fortune.

            Also, i was reminded of a little luck from 1994 WC. We had a 1-1-1 record and only went through be/c we were one of the best 3rd place teams. And i was reminded today by Soccer American that in the Columbia game Lalas scored and own -goal that was wrongly disallowed b/c of a bad offside call.

            gotta have luck and good fortune.

      • Ali Dia says:

        Excellent question, Lorenzo. Was wondering the same thing this afternoon. While the enthusiasm for this type of analysis was not as “sexy” back then, and the internet was far less built-out, the statistical tools involved are hardly new. Would be interesting to see if Goldman could re-frame their dataset back and use the same model to give this response. I’m sure we must not be the only ones who are curious.

  2. stanson says:

    I for one, only trust the statistical analysis of FRANK. Has he released his latest spreadsheet and if so, what does it say?

  3. Stinky Pete says:

    Time to dust off the ol’ Mark Twain quote:

    “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      When discussing statistics, there is an 87.8% chance that someone will quote Mark Twain.

  4. RobsterCraw says:

    As dismal as it is. A 41% chance and predicting draws with both Ghana and Portugal is still better than I would have given in my own prediction.

    If the US can play through the group stage while only losing to Germany, it would be sad that they didn’t escape the group, but actually would be a pretty positive showing against really long odds.

    • Ben says:

      Yeah, if we have two draws and a loss and thus don’t advance, it wouldn’t the worst thing in the world. Most fans, the Lalas’ of the world, think the US needs to make it to the second round EVERY TIME.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        well shoot, i didn’t see this comment before i posted, and now i sound like goddamn alexi lalas.

        • georkt says:

          And now you’ll be hired by the mouse.

        • Bac says:

          Start a podcast, annoy people, make stuff up so you can hear yourself talk, take 30 years to graduate, and you too can be a millionaire…
          What a country!!

        • soccerhorn says:

          better than looking like him.

          • MLSsnob says:

            Am I the only guy that likes him, case in point, my friend who’s a casual follower of soccer every four years said he hates alexi lalas, I asked him if he could name any other soccer “experts” – he couldn’t.

      • Stew says:

        We should make the second round everytime and beyond. This is the US and we have more financial resources than anyone but we have NO PLAN.
        And those two words cancel out anyone who says that it takes more than money. It takes a vision and we have NONE.

        • GW says:

          In 2006 Arena had A PLAN.

          It did not work.

          • DWE4 says:

            In 2006, Arena’s plan was: “Landon played in Germany, right? That should give us an advantage.” Bruce Arena is a great coach, but the 2006 World Cup was not a good example of his managerial prowess. The team was too old and too predictable.

            Also, I have done no research to refresh my memory and support my opinions. Therefore, I’m probably correct.

        • AMP says:

          What kind of plan you talking?

        • foooo says:

          Of course the U.S. has a plan. MLS is part of that plan, youth academies are part of that plan, hiring JK is part of that plan. It just takes time.

      • Jack says:

        Is 2006 seen as a failure or success? I think most look at it as a failure even though we drew the team that went on to win the World Cup. 2002 the only reason we got out in the end was because a of South Korea goal. Perhaps its harsh but when people look back they aren’t going to care if it was the “group of death” or not. Getting out of the group is just the bar of success or failure for the US right now.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yeah, if we go 1-1, 1-1, and lose 2-1, i think most people would be okay with that.

      that said, i wouldn’t be *happy* unless we at least get out of the group. i think we can play well enough on a given day to beat any one of those teams, and that’s what i want to see.

      • BFBS says:

        Honestly, I would be ok even if we only got a point, as long as we don’t play like we are looking to draw every match and rely on last ditch hack-it-away defending. I mean, if Portugal sneaks by us 3-2 on a moment of Ronaldo brilliance, is that really something to hang our head over? Parking the bus is only acceptable, if at all, against Germany.

    • Paul says:

      Yeah, well, what does GS know about soccer?

      I’d gladly take their chances above reality. Not saying we don’t make it out of group, but if we do, it will be because someone else imploded.

  5. Colonel Angus says:

    Everyone knows that 62% of all statistics are just made up.

  6. UclaBruinGreat says:

    Changing the topic a bit; Maybe everyone already knew this except for me, but I just read that Jamaica will be the other Concacaf team (along with Mexico) to compete in the 2015 Copa America in Chile. Makes me wonder if USA was even considered, or if we were considered but declined?

    Would have been awesome to play in both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America’s like Mexico will do and Jamaica will have a chance to do.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Interesting question. I’d have to imagne they at least solicited our interest. Usually,these tournaments are about making money, and I’d have to imagine we are a far more profitable guest than Jamaica.

      On the other hand, last time we were invited, we brought a very weak squad (and likely a very weak fan following). So maybe they figured they’d just let us get the house in order for their visit in 2016.

      • AMP says:

        I can always expect quality comments from you, Ali Dia. That is, unless you read this, and don’t perform well under high expectations. Gosh, I hope from now on you aren’t nervously typing your SBI comments as beads of sweat form on your forehead, cursing out loud every now and then as you tap the backspace button down over and over.

        • Ali Dia says:

          Now you’re peering into my soul… Did I leave the shutters open or something?!?

          – Thanks AMP. For the record, cursing out loud (often very loud) is par for the course around here when focusing on soccer. On weekends, some of my neighbors use me as an alarm clock.

  7. Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    I think there statistical analysis also said that their Sub-Prime Loans and Default Swaps would hurt no one and we all know how that turned out.

    #TakenWithGrainsOfSalt

  8. TomM says:

    Well this changed all my plans. Anyone want a flatscreen TV?

  9. Raymon says:

    Landon Donovan discussion anyone?

    • danny says:

      I predict there is a 34% chance that Brad Davis will get an assist on a game winning goal that propels us out of the group. At which point, all those screaming about Donovan will refrain from commenting until the U.S. get’s knocked out.

    • soccerhorn says:

      I predict a 94% chance that one day in the future, someone will be interviewing Julian Green and John Brooks, and they will admit that Klinsmann promised them a trip to Brazil if they switched to the US team.

  10. TomM says:

    “and a .5 percent chance of winning the World Cup”. So you’re saying there’s a chance!

    • Paul says:

      Funny, but I’m still not buying it. Does anyone here really believe if we played this tournament 200 times, the U.S. would win it even once?

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Hmm, sure. 200 trials allows for a lot of odd results. The US can beat a strong country—like Spain or Italy—from time to time and so can other countries on the US’s level; e.g., Mexico. There are always a few powerhouses that bomb out of the WC altogether. With that in mind, it would be possible for the US to face only 1-2 really strong nations in a run to the final—and if we met Mexico there, then you know what the score would be.

  11. Derp says:

    Psssh, evidence-shmevidence. “Science” never stopped America from believing in itself and soldiering on. We’re Americans! *drives off in gas-guzzling Hummer while leaving the lights on and the sprinkler running*

  12. Alex says:

    Statistical analysis? WTF?!!! What a joke! Lets just play the games for crying out load. Lets not show up for Brazil if people read into this…seriously!

  13. Big Silk says:

    So your saying there’s chance….

  14. QuakerOtis says:

    Haven’t we learned anything? Goldman sets the line so they can bet against it.

  15. bryan says:

    oh man, this report is pretty awesome as a whole.

  16. Courey says:

    What the hell do economists know about soccer?

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Actually, a lot. Or at least a lot about outcomes. Seriously – I work with financial economists, mostly to translate what they do into English. Get a big enough data pool you can understand the range of outcomes with a high degree of accuracy. Yes, “anything can happen” but anything HAS happened and is captured in the data. 41% is actually much higher than I would have assumed – lots of us routniely take bets or actions where the chance of success is much lower.

  17. Del Griffin says:

    100% chance Goldman caused the financial crisis that has made everyone’s life hard for the past six years.

  18. August Spies says:

    Goldman is nothing more than a criminal organization!
    Bunch of “vampire squids” who should be on death row.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      I can’t beleive they took time away from job creation to do this. They took errr jerrbs! Deh derk err derrr!!!

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      You have insulted the integirity of criminal organizations. At least the Mafia is honest about being loan sharks. Goldman pretneded to be helping people…

  19. John from Philadelphia says:

    .5% chance of winning the whole thing – that’s probably better than the chance we had of beating Spain in the Confed Cup.

    • Jesse says:

      no, I think the line was 8 to 1. Whatever it was it was significantly better than 200 to 1.

  20. The Other Jeff says:

    Following last night’s game I had an epiphany. I finally understood why we had to read Moby Dick in school. It was to prepare for a lifetime of World Cups.

    It starts with talk about whales in general, about whaling, whalers, where whalers stay when they aren’t whaling, people who serve meals to whalers when they aren’t whaling, people who finance whaling, whaling ships, tools used to hunt whales, the quirky personalities you find among whalers, about The White Whale in particular, the mad captain obsessed with hunting The Whale, what whalers eat when they are whaling, whalers who died hunting The Whale, whales who got caught, whales who got away, whale anatomy, how to cook a whale properly, how to find a single whale somewhere in the whole of the Pacific Ocean. Finally after about 1100 pages there is the ultimate presage: an enormous typhoon that spins them around and spits them out disoriented, sobered and dispirited (cough…LD…cough), then to resume the chase because that’s what whalers do. In a couple of weeks we’ll finally get to page 1285, Chapter 133: The Chase – First Day, when Melville finally stops presaging and gets around to the the real subject of the book, the battle between the whale and the obsessed captain. It’s over 80 pages later. I’ll have to drop a thank-you note to my 4th grade teacher, I can’t imagine better preparation for what it’s like to listen to things like statistical analysis by banking economists for four years because the whale isn’t close enough to fight yet.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Call me OJ-

      Stop peering into my soul.

      I actually got it into my head to read Moby Dick last year… An absurd decision that cost me about a month. Probably about the most densely written thing ever, and maybe the only time in the last 20 years I’ve swallowed my pride and broken out the dictionary.

      I’m glad I did it. I can see why it’s considered to be such an important American book. But it can be very depressing. And yes, it has occurred to me more than once since it perfectly encapsulates the experience of being a USMNT fan. One could actually go on for hours about it. (Melville would have loved SBI)

      But the fact that the Captain does find at battle the white whale. That’s a start.
      At least, I think it is….

      • Ali Dia says:

        How did I not see that moderation coming?

        • Ali Dia says:

          Am I somehow getting worse at this?

          • Ali Dia says:

            What a trainwreck. I’m going to stop commenting on Other Jeff’s work from now on, awesome though it is. It obviously makes me very disoriented.

            • The Other Jeff says:

              Its part of the buildup to the climax: getting moderated commenting on someone who got moderated commenting on the whale (which isn’t really a whale, but then you already figured that out, right?) You can’t help thinking, “What word am I going to miss next? This is soooo embarrassing.” The tension crackles like lightning.

          • GW says:

            Ali,

            Write your post on a word document.

            Paste it on.

            When it gets moderated go back and cut out the bad words like j++k, id++t, f++l, and so on, words frankly you wouldn’t think would be bad. But they won’t let you demean your fellow posters.

            Then cut and paste.

            That way you do not lose the whole thing and have to start all over again.

    • Morpheus says:

      Call me OJ-
      Stop peering into my soul.

      I actually got it into my head to read Moby D*ck last year… An absurd decision that cost me about a month. Probably about the most densely written thing ever, and maybe the only time in the last 20 years I’ve swallowed my pride and broken out the dictionary.

      I’m glad I did it. I can see why it’s considered to be such an important American book. But it can be very depressing. And yes, it has occurred to me more than once since it perfectly encapsulates the experience of being a USMNT fan. One could actually go on for hours about it. (Melville would have loved SBI)

      But the fact that the Captain does find and battle the white whale. That’s a start.
      At least, I think it is….

    • Mark from LA says:

      That is the best comment I’ve ever seen on this board.

      A whale of a comment. You whaled on it. I’m wailing about it.

      Gareth should change his last name to Whale because of this comment.

      (I really did enjoy it)

    • soccerhorn says:

      You win this string, Other Jeff.

    • The Other Jeff says:

      This just in.

      Goldman Sachs economists predict The White Whale will win… again. “The trend is clear,” said a spokesman for Goldman Sachs. “Slightly over 31% of the time when a Goldman Sachs economist reads the book, the whale wins. Ahab was a distant second at 9%.”

  21. Joe says:

    I must be in the minority of fans who think were gonna finish fourth from a purely realistic standpoint. I hope I’m wrong but I don’t see it.

  22. jordanthesoccer says:

    Last nights performance against AZE was putrid. The run of play was disjointed and ugly throughout. The set pieces were a different story. Yes they are part of the game, but in a WC when has the US ever been a factor with their own set pieces? Almost never. On the highest level we are just not there yet and we will not be until we have our own Ronaldo/Messi on the ball or in the air (Ronaldo).

    Unfortunately with this year’s team Klinsy is very high on including a mix of athletes in his lineup that do not work well together and/or do not have the consistent touch/command of the ball (this is by far and away my biggest issue)
    Specifically J. Jones, T. Chandler, and F. Johnson

    All seem to be a similar player. Big, fast, athletic, none with a great first or final touch all with suspect passing/horrid shooting. Fabian Johnson probably less so than the other 2.

    What strikes me is that they have relied so long on their superior physicality, they have not sharpened their eyes or wits about them when it comes to some of the basic subtleties/necessities of defensive play. I would quite like to see a lineup where Chandler and Johnson are our starting flank banks. BUT if they are in, then Jones MUST ride the pine. the fact is that the 3 of them should NEVER be on the field at the same time.

    Beckerman has a much better command/presence defensively than Jones. His link up play with the other mids and Bradley is simply superior. If we have Chandler/Jones/Johnson on the field at the same time COUNT on 2-3 extra opportunities on goal AGAINST the USA. We will not make it out of the group and the play will be sloppy. (note I did not include Yedlin as his speed is so incredibly superior). Beckerman is a step slower than Jones, but is a defensive upgrade. He just stays a little further back.

    Offensively, this team is just better with Donovan in it/available. Unlike Davis. He has ability with both legs, and although not a dribbler the caliber of Dempsey/Diskerud, he is faster than Mix, has a feel for the run of play that Wondo does, but a stronger finisher (when the opportunity is there). Hopefully Julian Green will be able to make up for that some. Whether you are for him or not, it really would have been great for all of us to see Terrance Boyd and Landon get a shot in these pre-cup qualifiers.

    Legs can be heavy, sure, but that product last night was next to g-d awful. Honestly, that US team in ’98 would have beaten last nights version, the ’94 team would have tied them.

    We all want the best team on the field. We all want the US to give us some memories and make a run again this year. Who doesn’t want to cheer our boys on? But lets get the best product on the field, playing together, and playing smart. A smart team can play great for an extended period of time, while great teams don’t always play smart. That’s the truth, and it’s why anything is possible on the field.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      “On the highest level we are just not there yet and we will not be until we have our own Ronaldo/Messi on the ball or in the air (Ronaldo).”

      A popular mime that doesn’t quite hold water. As nice as it would be to have a world class once in a generation player from this country, it is top to bottom talent that wins out. Worth noting that, if “there” is represented by a WC victory….. even the teams that have Messi and Ronaldo haven’t arrived with them on the field.

    • danny says:

      Totally wrong about Jones and Fabian. I watched the game up close and those two looked like not only our best athletes, but also our most skilled and smartest players (given Bradley had an off-night). Be very grateful for those two Germans… without them, the U.S. would really be toast.

      • Stew says:

        Skilled and smartest players? Wow, Jones DRILLS balls at teammates and thinks they are passes. Wow. that is all I can say about that post.

        • danny says:

          Hey- that’s what I saw field level in the game. Jones really commanded the ball and flow of the game for the U.S. The guy has quality along with Bradley who didn’t do as well as usual.
          Conditions were really bad, so I would not hold a couple overly hard passes against him. It seemed like offense was stagnating and he was trying to ping Jozy to get him more involved and Jozy makes poor runs and tends to dissapear in the game. The fact is the Bradley/Jones pairding in the middle is irreplaceable- and I am a big fan of Beckerman. Also, no one on the wing matches Johnson’s mix of athleticism and skill, so I’d also call him irreplaceable.

    • GW says:

      jts,

      You are laboring under a few misconceptions.

      “Yes they are part of the game, but in a WC when has the US ever been a factor with their own set pieces? Almost never. On the highest level we are just not there yet and we will not be until we have our own Ronaldo/Messi on the ball or in the air (Ronaldo).”

      Forgive me but that is laughable. Set pieces , in respect to scoring off of them and preventing the other guy from scoring off of them, are often a major factor when smaller teams beat bigger teams. Strong, smart, disciplined teams who are underdogs work very hard on their set pieces as they can serve as something of an equalizer.

      “But lets get the best product on the field, playing together, and playing smart.”

      Your idea of the best product may not be the same as other people’s idea of the best product.

      It’s not the best 11 players, it’s the 11 who play the best together.

      Last night was a practice session, a scrimmage, nothing more, nothing less. And the idea of practice is to work on things so that when the big game comes, you will be ready. They started out ragged and ended up a little less so. That’s how it works. On Sunday they will play a tougher opponent and hopefully have a better looking show. But it will still be practice.
      This team is building up to the Ghana game by which time , they hope to have it all going at once.

      As for the three players you want replaced, it won’t happen because not only are they three of the best all-around soccer players on the team but whatever tactics and strategy JK has planned, they almost certainly will be integral to it. I rate Kyle highly and I expect to see him play in Brazil but he is not as versatile or a competent as Jones. Jones tends to come up big when it really matters. Look at his performance in the Snow Bowl game where he played with a hole in his leg for about a half. And that was a game we really needed to win.

      The midfield diamond with Kyle and Mikey worked great in Mexico, for a half. But games have two halves. Mexico adjusted and shut it down. And Mexico are not exactly a noted defensive monster. Mikey as a #10 was great for a half, but one of the reasons that position is no really used anymore is because when your whole offense goes through one man , shutting him down, regardless of who it is, is just a question of readjusting. You’ll still see the diamond but it will be modified..

      • AMP says:

        I agree with most of your points, but I think MB is perfect at the top of the diamond for this team, mainly because the position is already modified, simply by the way he plays that role.

        The offense didn’t seem to revolve around Michael that much to me, because we had our backs consistently in the attack, wings cutting inside, and some pretty fluid position switching.

      • Ali Dia says:

        Many good points in here. One that got me thinking was the bit about the set pieces. Specifially, corner kicks, where we have had quite good success in the past year or so.

        Other than the goal, I thought we were dangerous all night. But we have produced a number of different looks here. Last summer, in both the Gold Cup and the friendlies, we started taking a high number of short corners, and it went very well (as I recall, both LD and Zusi were running the same scheme with nearly identical results– let me know if I am mistaken on the personnel involved).

        Omar has not scored this way (or any way) for the USMNT, but it may be that his is an excellent decoy with experience in freeing up space. Or perhaps it’s just a benefit of having a team that is difficult to scout, and largely unknown to most non-CONCACAF oppnents. Hard for them to know who the targets are. Heck, it’s hard for me… look at the guys in the current pool who have scored headed goals off corners/ wide crosses- I can think of AJ, Bradley, Cameron Orozco, EJ… that’s off the top of my head. Most certainly there are others.

        I’d be willing to bet that if — sorry WHEN — we get out of the group, it’s because we got at least one goal off of either a corner or a wide-set FK. We do very well here.

  23. Baptista says:

    Here’s the deal, with Landon Donovan that would’ve been a 50 percent chance, and I am not joking here. He will be sorely missed, I gurantee you.

    • Curtis says:

      Not sure about the percentages involved, but totally agree that his experience, decision-making and speed of thought will absolutely be missed.

      They were certainly missed last night, while trying to unlock a compact, mediocre Azeri side.

      In a different context, and against better sides in Brazil that play faster — we will miss him even more.

    • Mason says:

      That’s not how statistics work.

    • GW says:

      “with Landon Donovan that would’ve been a 50 percent chance”

      I’m not sure what you are referring to but if it is a goal scoring opportunity , any player has a 50/50 chance. He either makes it or he does not.

    • MikeV says:

      Actually what the story implied is that the USMNT had one of is key players (LD) left off the roster.
      Goldman Sachs then ran the variables through a simulator with more than 100,000 probabilities. The study’s authors did make clear that the analysis is completely statistical, and doesn’t take into account a team losing it’s top player to injury or, in the USMNT’s case, having a key player left off the 23-man roster.

  24. milbo says:

    They also have England at 25-1 to take it all

    lol

  25. Sharkbait says:

    “or, in the USMNT’s case, having a key player left off the 23-man roster.”

    Couldn’t resist could you?

  26. Iggypibe says:

    How with these “Predicted Group Results” by Goldman Sachs are the USA eliminated?

    Germany 2 – Portugal 1
    Ghana 1 – USA 1
    Germany 2 – Ghana 1
    Portugal 1 – USA 1
    Germany 2 – USA 1
    Ghana 1 – Portugal 1

    Positions Group G:
    Germany 9 Pts 6 GF 3 GA
    USA 2 Pts 3 GF 4 GA
    Portugal 2 Pts 3 GF 4 GA
    Ghana 2 Pts 3 GF 4 GA

    Unless they already know who won in the “coin toss” (they don’t provide numbers for the Fair Play Factor in the tiebreaker), they can’t assume that Portugal is the team who will come out of the Group and not the USA (or Ghana) when the three teams are in an identical situation (tied in points, goal differential, goals scored, etc.). Economists can’t throw “economic scenarios” into soccer… It just don’t make sense… Don’t believe a word from this “Statistical Analysis”… No economist coached yet a winning team in the World Cup (and with this criteria, never will).

    • TheFrenchOne says:

      Well done. if everyone’s assumption that Germany will win all its games proves accurate, then it’s a knife fight between the remaining 3 teams to get results.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Bravo. That means we have at least as good a chance as getting out of the group as Portugal. I’ll take it. Of course, a headline like “US has at least as good a chance as Portugal” doesn’t have us commenting here.

    • Jovins says:

      There were many, many simulations. The results given are the median outcomes I would assume, whereas the percent chance of going through is the percentage of simulations that each of the teams qualified.

    • Louis Z says:

      I’ll wait for the octopus to tell me who is going to win.

  27. Justice from Brooklyn says says:

    reports mean nothing, jon snow

    • AMP says:

      Haha, when is that dude gonna get a break? At least he has his special wolf.

      • Justice from Brooklyn says:

        Maybe we should sign that direwolf up. Talk about adding bite to our midfield….

        (sorry i had to…)

  28. Has been? How about Never Was says:

    I don’t understand how this is news…..we knew this already.

  29. Vasco says:

    After watching last nights game. I am predicting it too.

  30. Vinz Clortho says:

    The report also had zero games predicted with any score including a zero. I read about their model and all of the dummy variables and monte carlo simulations. What about the goose eggs? Apparently every team will score in every game. Did I miss some underlying qualifier in the criteria?

  31. Good Jeremy says:

    BREAKING: The sky is blue.

  32. Derek says:

    Wow!! No I feel MUCH better about our chances since CLEARLY Goldman doesn’t know anything about anything.They most likely telling everyone to bet against the US, while betting on the US to advance.

  33. gettin booked says:

    I’ll take 41% all day, everyday in this group.

  34. SAO says:

    Report: USMNT won’t make it out of their own half. HHHHHHAAAAA. I didn’t know until I saw the group HHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAA

  35. MakinBacon says:

    I think there’s a 90% chance JK will start the same team he did last night (+ Dempsey) and that leads to an 80% chance we will not score a goal while that group is on the field. If he stands by that selection for all 3 games, there is a 85% chance we will go 3 and out and score no goals at all

  36. bryan says:

    hmmmmmm, reports saying David Villa will sign with NYCFC for 3 years.

  37. SingularityCup says:

    41 percent chance? Nice.

  38. THomas says:

    I love the last line of the article. Well played Dan.

  39. bottlcaps says:

    Remember this is a Goldman-Sachs that failed to predict the housing crisis and almost took down he US economy, says much much for their statistical analysis group. The other thing to note, is that the statistical analysis is based on pure past WC, qualifying, and possibly confed cup results, no friendlies and is not based on players on a team or current rankings. Based on this analysis, he US would not have got out of any group stage, and would have not won thier group in 2010.

    The caveats of this analysis are all spelled out, but the article skip over that part.

    Of more interest is the analysis that Steven Hawking has done for the England squad and world cup in general. As England has lost three shootouts and elimination, Hawking has come up with an equation that emphasizes some factors, i.e., penalty kicks taken to the right and left corners are 85 percent successful, kicks taken with speed and taken with the side of the foot are more succesful than those not.

    And finally, fair-haired and bald players tend to score more in WC play than those with darker hair.

    Take it as it is.

    The UK odds makers, those that evaluate football around the world for betting purposes, and no football odds better than anyone, downgraded the US chances AFTER the WC 23 were named, with the major point being no Landon Donovan.

    Yes the US has defied the odds before and they may do so again, but like in all gambling, the house eventually wins..

    • RB says:

      “Remember this is a Goldman-Sachs that failed to predict the housing crisis and almost took down he US economy, says much much for their statistical analysis group”

      But remember that Nate Silver, who was pretty much perfect state by state in his predictions for the last two presidential elections, based on such analyses, gave the US an even lower chance of escaping the group (39%). So you may want to stick with Goldman-Sachs’ work, here, actually…

  40. Artie says:

    By the same logic, no one will win the World Cup, because no one’s odds are over 50%…

    • away goals says:

      You don’t really understand probability do you?

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Probably not.

      • Ah says:

        Actually, he or she does. The OP’s point is that the headline doesn’t seem to understand probability. An accurate headline would read: “statistical analysis shows US has 41% chance of getting out of group.”

  41. Matt in Brooklyn says:

    I believe we are going to win the World Cup, say it with me. We want to be the world champions and will do everything we can to win.

  42. John says:

    Wait so USA record is 2 draws and 1 loss. Ghana is 2 draws and 1 loss then if portugal loses to Germany they also have 2 draws and 1 loss. Now everyone has a chance to make it through on goal differential. what a computer system they have there.

  43. Mark says:

    Did we really need some fancy economists to tell us this? A bunch of people spent a bunch of money to let us know that we are underdogs – by a large margin. We get it.

    For their next study, they will ponder the probability that water is still wet.

    Groundbreaking work going on over at Goldman Sachs.

  44. robo johnson says:

    22% to make the quaters? that’s not that bad

  45. Ah says:

    41 % sounds about right actually and I’ll take it. A couple of breaks fall our way and we’re dancing. More than a punchers chance. Go USA!

  46. mike says:

    duh. of course we are not making it out of the group. who needs statistics to tell the obvious.

  47. Louis Z says:

    “The predictions are based on a regression analysis that used more than 14,000 international competitive games (no friendlies) to determine coefficient estimates in the model.”

    The problem with that model is the roster selection changes or as we would call it the “X” factor.

  48. Kevin_H says:

    How much do bribes factor into their analysis?

  49. Shag says:

    60% of the time, it works every time.

  50. Shane says:

    Horrible report that should be thrown out and burned. 33 1-1 draws, 1 shutout, and 4 matches where 1 team scores more than 2 goals (3 of which are Brazil). Complete waste of time.

  51. Brett says:

    No noteworthy accomplishment is ever easy. I think we are the least talented team in the group, but the great thing is that we can still advance if we just play well. It’s the reason we love it.

  52. Glove69 says:

    GS ought to be spending more time looking at their portfolios and investments rather than dabbling in soccer. 160.74-0.45 (-0.28%) not good today…and oh yea the all tournament team they select… Neuer in goal? GTFO here GS…