World Cup round-up, volume 3

  • June 26, 2018

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In English football nomenclature, we’ve reached “squeaky-bum time” in the group stages of this year’s World Cup. in an evening of VAR madness, Spain and Portugal slipped through to the second round last night, while Argentina’s hopes hang by the thinnest of threads – only a win tonight against the Nigerian super eagles will suffice for Messi & co.

England, however, have no such problem. Progress is now assured for Gareth Southgate’s set piece maestros, after they scored 6 goals in the so-called “we’re not tax havens, honest gov” derby versus Panama on Sunday.

With England hitting the onion bag with such surprising regularity, Goldman Sachs’ Soccerbot 3000™, which deploys “recent developments in machine learning”, and is definitely not just a marketing ploy to please clients, has a new set of predictions for us.

Ta-da! England are now heading for the final, after beating Spain 1.20 to 1.17 in the semi-final:

From the note:

For England fans who might find themselves daring to dream, our updated model predictions might constitute a beacon of hope. We continue to predict that Belgium will top Group G, ahead of England, using the unrounded goal difference as the tie-breaker on points. After a projected victory over Colombia in the Round of 16, we now expect England to meet Mexico in the quarter-finals, rather than meeting Germany. This tips the outcome in England’s favour, as they are projected to defeat Mexico, before overcoming Spain—just—in the semi-finals. In turn, this would set up a Brazil—England final on 15 July (though those hoping for an England victory should look away now). Germany are now expected to finish second in Group F, which sets up a Round of 16 match—and an early tournament exit—against Brazil ( GS forecast Brazil 1.70—1.37 Germany).

We’ll take that all day long, although after Colombia demolished Poland at the weekend, we’re not so confident about our chances in the second round if England up end facing James Rodriguez’s band of merry men.

If we were to make it to the final, shortening beer supplies may become an issue. Last week the British Beer & Pub association announced a shortage of carbon dioxide in the UK, due to an unusually high number of ammonia plant maintenance shut downs across Europe.

Used by both bottlers and pubs to produce fizzy lager, Liberium reckon Carlsberg and Heineken are most exposed to a continuing shortage, as 9 and 8 per cent of their sales come from the UK respectively. Heineken are attempting to source surplus C02 from its European network, according to Liberium.

The Great British Barbecue, an often rain-sodden affair which has yet to be turned into a BBC One cooking contest, may also be under threat. This is because C02, according to the FT, “is used by meat producers to stun birds and pigs as part of the slaughter process, and to package fresh meat to extend its shelf life”.

With the 8 to 9 factories, which produce 60 odd per cent of all British poultry, running low on C02, it seems we may be in for period of forced vegetarianism. Tofu burger anyone?

Sadly the jovial World Cup sell-side algo-generated prediction marketing ploy seems to have run its course. Reasons are unclear, but this remark from Rabobank might help explain why:

…if we can’t even predict what 22 men are going to do with a ball for 90 minutes in an arena of fixed size, and with clear rules, how are we supposed to have any accurate models for what the broader economy or financial markets are going to do?


Related Links:
World Cup round-up, volume one – FT Alphaville
World Cup round-up, volume 2 – FT Alphaville

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