The World Cup is approaching and we are all excited about it, so here’s a round-up of some football stuff that has more or less to do with social science:
- Dan Drezner complains that the United States (and the other real countries) does not dominate world football. (hat tip to Erik Voeten)
- Nate Silver explains what’s behind the Soccer Power Index (SPI). It’s insanely complicated and, quite clearly, it does not pass the sniff test as Switzerland is ranked only 36th, even worse than funny countries like Costa Rica. If someone wants to waste some time, it would be fun to see the correlation with FIFA’s official ranking.
- A mathematician says that the probability that Switzerland wins the World Cup is 1.1%. Now I admit this sounds bad, but I am inclined to reply: so you’re telling me there’s a chance!
- Speaking of math, Ottmar Hitzfeld may want to re-read his John Nash in case Switzerland makes it to a penalty-kick showdown in the final, as it turns out that goalkeepers play mixed strategies.
- Players with exposure to civil war are more likely to do things like these, so watch out.
Feel free to suggest more in the comments!