Nigeria Ranked 15th Best Country to Win World Cup

World Cup Predictor Ranks Nigeria 15th Best Country to Win Trophy
Opta, a football facts and statistics website, has ranked Nigeria in the 15th position of the most likely countries to win the World Cup, among the 32 countries that would participate in the competition.

According to the prediction published on Opta’s Twitter handle today, Nigeria has a 1.5 percent chance of winning the World Cup, while Argentina, one of Nigeria’s opponents in Group D, is ranked in the third position, with a 10.1 percent chance of winning the trophy for the third time.

Croatia, Nigeria’s first opponent in the competition, is ranked as the 12th most likely country to win the trophy, with a 1.9 percent chance. Iceland, Nigeria’s second opponent in Russia, is ranked in the 23rd position, with a 1.3 percent likelihood of emerging as champions.

Brazil, five time winners of the trophy, is ranked as the most likely country to wear the highly coveted crown in Russia, with a 13.2 percent chance. Cup holders Germany, are ranked second, with a 10.7 percent likelihood of retaining the crown.

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Opta’s ranking of the most likely teams to win the World Cup in Russia

Opta explained that: “The World Cup predictor has been built using Opta’s extensive database of past International and World Cup matches…. Each team has an attacking and defensive strength calculated based on past performances. Given these attacking and defensive strengths – and several other World Cup specific variables – for each game we can assign a likelihood to each potential result (either team to win or a draw).

“From these probabilities or likelihoods we can simulate the entire tournament. Once we simulate the tournament enough times we can imply the likelihood of any team to win the World Cup or reach a particular stage of the tournament.”

In that regard, Opta’s simulation implies that Nigeria would not advance beyond the group stage of Russia 2018. It has awarded 40.6 percent to the Super Eagles and placed the team in the third position of Group D, while Argentina and Croatia have been awarded 75.7 percent and 45.2 percent and placed in the first and second positions, respectively. Iceland has been awarded 38.5 percent and placed at the bottom of Group D.

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Opta’s prediction for Group D of Russia 2018

Opta adds this caveat to its model of prediction: “If Messi were to get injured tomorrow Argentina’s chances of winning the World Cup would decrease significantly but our model wouldn’t internalize this until Argentina start playing more matches and suffer as a result of missing Messi.

The World Cup would kick off in Russia, this Thursday. Nigeria’s Super Eagles arrived Russia last night and are camped in the city of Essentuki. The team is scheduled to have its first training session at 5pm today.

Meanwhile, Mikel Obi, Captain of the team, seems unperturbed by Opta’s kind of prediction about his team. He told Al Jazeera in a video interview that: “We like where we’ve been placed. We don’t want to be one of the favorites. I think this will give the team enough motivation to prove critics wrong that we can actually do better than they actually feel.”

In recent times, the Super Eagles’ best performance was a 4-2 victory over Argentina, in a friendly international match. The Super Eagles fared far better than they were expected to fare in that match. Nigerians anxiously expect a consistent reenactment of such feats in Russia.

Cornelius Ellah
Twitter: @lin_cornellah
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah

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