Monday, September 7, 2009

CONMEBOL Qualifying - 15 Matches In

Brazil are now mathematically in. Paraguay and Chile are just shy of that. Despite losing to Brazil in convincing fashion, Argentina are still in great shape, though worse than usual for them, because of the other results. In the battle for fifth, or even fourth if Argentina continue to slip up, Colombia came up big with a 2-0 win over Ecuador and Uruguay damaged their own chances with a loss in Peru.

Here is the table:

Here are the remaining schedules for the 4th through 8th teams:

Paraguay away
Peru home
Uruguay away

Uruguay away
Chile home
Paraguay away

Bolivia away
Uruguay home
Chile away

Argentina home
Venezuela away
Colombia home

Peru home
Paraguay home
Brazil away

From hardest to easiest schedules, it appears to go Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay with the easiest.

Poisson Predictions

The first column gives the percentage chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying automatically. The second gives the percentage for finishing in 5th and playing a playoff against the 4th CONCACAF team. The next column is the qualifying percentage if it is assumed that the team would have a 50% chance of winning the playoff. The last column is the change in that number from before last Saturday's matches.

As you can see, Uruguay really shot themselves in the foot with the loss. Argentina actually gained despite their loss. This is mostly because the model didn't give them much of a chance against Brazil anyway and also the other results were much better than expected for them - most notably Uruguay losing. Colombia essentially tripled their chances.

Wednesday's Matches:

Other than the first one, the model predicts that the home team will be heavily favored in every match.

Bolivia - Ecuador
Bolivia win: 49%
Draw: 23%
Ecuador win: 28%

Ecuador could really use a result here and a win would put them in position to even fight for fourth. With a win they go to 44% overall to qualify, 26% automatically in fourth. A draw actually helps them a bit - they'd go up to 26.5% overall but be a few percent less likely to go through automatically. A loss doesn't completely kill their chances but they go down to just 2% for a top 4 finish - they'd need a lot of help to get there - and a 12% shot overall.

Paraguay - Argentina
Paraguay win: 64%
Draw: 23%
Argentina win: 13%

Paraguay are all but mathematically in so this result hardly matters. If Argentina pull off a win then they would have one foot in - 96% for a top 4 finish and 98% overall. Just a draw puts them in a solid position - 77% for top 4 and 87% overall. A loss isn't that bad, but it does reduce their chances to 57% for the top 4 and 75% overall. In other words, winning is significantly better than a draw but a draw is just as big compared to a loss. It's important for Diego's boys to keep their head up and fight for a draw if they get down.

Venezuela - Peru
Venezuela win: 70%
Draw: 19%
Peru win: 11%

This is a must-win for Venezuela whose chances aren't good anyway. With a draw they are about one in a thousand to make it. With a win they have about a 3% chance.

Uruguay - Colombia
Uruguay win: 71%
Draw: 23%
Colombia win: 6%

This match is obviously very important for both teams. For Uruguay, they could rebound nicely from the disappointment of Saturday and put themselves into a pretty good position if they can get the win. They would have about a 27% chance at qualifying automatically and a 46% chance overall. A draw would really damage them and drop them to just an 11% chance of finishing in the top 4 and 20% chance overall. A loss pretty much eliminates Uruguay as they go to just a 6% overall shot at qualification. If Colombia get the likely loss then they are just 2% to make it. A draw raises that to 12% and they go into a great position with a 40% chance, 16% for the top 4, with a win.

In short, the loser is eliminated and the winner is in pretty good shape. A draw is a lot better for either team than a loss.

Brazil - Chile
Brazil win: 83%
Draw: 13%
Chile win: 4%

This match is a friendly for Brazil and practically that for Chile.


  1. can you update the Poisson Predictions through match 16?

  2. Yeah, sorry for the delay. Working on it now. Should be up shortly.