World Cup 2014: Is your team going to win?


So, the final squads are out and we now know the names of the 736 players who are heading for Brazil, and have updated our dashboard accordingly. Did the final cut have any effect on the data? Well yes - the average age of the players has gone up slightly to 26.9, as has average caps, a function both of managers relying on more experienced players, and also the recent round of friendly matches as the teams warm up for the tournament. Spain's squad is still the most experienced but now with an even-more-scary 59.8 caps on average (was 49.3 on the provisional squad), and Argentina are the oldest squad, average age 28 and a half. 

On the domesticity front, all of Russia's 23-man squad play their club football in their home country, and at the other end of the scale, four teams have only one home-based player (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Uruguay, Sebastien Coates having been loaned by Liverpool back to Nacional). 

The sticker-pickers continue to impress, with an 86% hit-rate, and 17/17 right for five teams, Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, Japan and Uruguay. Unfortunately, there have been some late drop-outs after the publication of the final list, so some stickers (Ribery for France) will only appear in the album and not on the pitch. NB - the dashboard is based on the official final squads announced last week, and does not include those unlucky players to drop out after that, or their lucky replacements.


There’s a little over two weeks to go until the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, and the Bime-team are terribly excited. So, we have been looking around for numbers to analyse, and the announcement of the provisional squads was the obvious place to start! 875 players feature, and we will be cutting the dataset down when the final squads are confirmed next week.

Check our World Cup dashboard to discover all these.

So, who’s the oldest player who could be going to Brazil? Back-up Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who is 42. The youngest? Cameroon’s Fabrice Olinga, who has only just turned 18. But that’s the easy stuff. How do you sift through this list of 875 players to find patterns and points of interest in the data?

Using the measure aggregator, it’s an easy matter to find the average age (26.7) and experience (29.7 caps) of the players, dynamic to any element of the dataset – but also benchmarked against the overall averages using fixed calculated measures. Thus, tab 1 can be filtered by national team, so you can see how your guys match up against the average. For example, Uruguay have the oldest squad (28 years old on average) whereas Ghana have the youngest (24.7); Spain are the most capped (49.3 on average) and Vahid Halilhodžić’s young Algerian team the least (15.2).

Those average measures – plus goals, naturally! – define an overall comparison of all the teams on tab two, and here we have added a decompose option, so you can dig into a particular team to see the details of all their players. Just click on a point to explode the chart.

Check our World Cup dashboard to discover all these.

Building on the heatmap visual which shows where players are based for their football club, we thought about that frequent debate – whether drawing your national team from your national league is a strength or a weakness. Using the calculation engine to split players into ‘domestic’ and ‘overseas’ groups, this provides the filterable pie chart on tab 1 and also an overall comparison on tab 2, from which we can see that Uruguay are the only team to have no players playing in their domestic league (and so might conclude that this is not a weakness, as they are 6th in the FIFA rankings!). But that also prompted us to look at which leagues – and clubs – will be best represented at the tournament. On the treemap, the decompose path option means that you can first select the league you are interested in to see the clubs represented – and then dig further to see who their representatives are.

One other extremely important and valuable metric is… stickers. The official sticker album obviously has to be printed up well in advance of the squad announcements, so we had a look at the figures to see just how good the sticker-pickers are. Pretty good, it turns out. With 17 stickers allocated for each team, that’s 544 in total, and by our reckoning, 495 of the players in the provisional squads are represented, a whopping 91% hit-rate. They got 17/17 for eight teams, and the lowest is a still-not-bad 13/17 for three countries (England, Russia and Greece). A round of applause for that.

Data taken from Wikipedia after the release of the provisional squads by FIFA. And from our sticker album. 8-)