Effectiveness of FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in Predicting the Results of FIFA World CupTM Finals

Koya Suzuki and Kazunobu Ohmori

[Received April 11, 2007 ; Accepted January 22, 2008] 

The aim of this study was to examine effectiveness of FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (FIFA Ranking) in the prediction of the results of FIFA World CupTM (World Cup) finals. All results of World Cup USA 94, France 98, Korea/Japan 2002, and Germany 2006 and FIFA Rankings just prior to each World Cup were used as data. The analytical procedures were as follows: 1) establishing rules for winning and losing in the World Cup, and 2) confirming the prediction accuracy of results of World Cup Germany 2006 based on these rules. The probability that the top sixteen teams in FIFA Ranking would advance to the final tournament was 78.0%. The probability was statistically higher than the probability for teams lower than the top sixteen teams. The probability that high-ranked teams beat low-ranked teams in the preliminary round was 69.1% (p < 0.05). The probability that the top sixteen teams in Germany 2006 would participate in the final tournament was 68.8%. There was no significant difference between competitions (χ2(1) = 0.024, ns). In Germany 2006, the prediction accuracy of participation in the final tournament was 62.5%. FIFA Ranking and results of World Cup were moderately correlated (r = 0.40). These findings indicated that FIFA Ranking was effective as a prediction method for the results of World Cup finals.

Keywords: soccer, team skill, accuracy

[Football Science Vol.5, 18-25, 2008]