It’s been a helluva week on a personal level, but I’m completely stoked for the Women’s World Cup which starts Saturday. All of the games are being shown on Fox, Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2, and theoretically you can stream them through FoxSportsGo (I can’t get it to work) if you’ve got cable or pay $19.99 for a month of subscription to the online service FoxSoccer2Go — I’m waiting to buy mine until the last minute to make sure I get the final match in my month, because hopefully it works like that.
Anyway, before every world cup I like to do a FIFA spreadsheet that uses the FIFA rankings to predict the winners of every match. This year I threw in the 538 rankings as well, and they actually did predict slightly different games.
It’s worth noting that games never go the way my spreadsheets predict, they’re just a fun exercise in what “should” happen. You can also download it and update it as games are played to predict based on actual results. I will be doing that at least once, before the round of 16 begins.
Some cool takeaways:
- Notably missing (by ranking) are number 8 Korea DPR, 13 Italy, and 15 Denmark.
- As usual, stiff competition and sheer number of countries in Europe means that teams with higher rankings than many in the world cup are excluded from the games.
- Korea DPR was disqualified for doping — it’s really hard to tell what a doped 8 actually means.
- There are 8 new countries out of the 24 invited to the World Cup: Netherlands, Thailand, Cote D’Ivoire, Switzerland, Ecuador, Cameroon, Spain, and Costa Rica.
- Spain is such a powerhouse in men’s soccer that it’s interesting to note that they’re at the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
- Current projections have 3 first-time teams making it past the group stage: Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain.
- Figuring out how to get 16 out of 24 involves some weird maths and calling teams 3 a/c/d is in no way helpful.
- It looks like it’s all going to come down to the US and Germany
- Even though we’re ranked 2nd, 538 has us as slight favorites to win.
- There may well be a US v Japan final again
If you’re interested to know who I’m cheering for, it’s important to note that I have different rules for the Women’s World Cup than I do for the Men’s. There is, in fact, only one rule: whatever’s good for the US Women is what I want to happen. I want the US to win every match and for the underdogs to win the rest of them. I will be actively cheering against Germany. Although Japan is supposedly our rival, it would be fun to have a rematch at the final.
June 8, 7:30 p.m. ET.
TV: FOX Sports 1
June 12, 8 p.m. ET.
TV: FOX Live
June 16, 8 p.m. ET.