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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Resources for Following the World Cup


The first match of the World Cup is in the books with Brazil winning (ugly) over Croatia, 3-1. The U.S. doesn't play until Monday (6pm EST) when they take on Ghana, the team that has knocked the U.S. out of the last two World Cups. In this post I list a few resources that could enhance your knowledge as you follow the action. The first three are from the FiveThirtyEight website, which is run by the big data expert, Nate Silver, author of "The Signal and the Noise". The first provides a series of interactive graphs that present the odds that a team will advance beyond the group stage, as well as the odds that it will survive the knockout round ("FiveThirtyEight's World Cup Predictions").The second compares FiveThirtyEight's rankings with other sets of rankings ("How FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup Predictions Compare to Other Ratings"). The third compares the results from all of the World Cups graphically ("The History of the World Cup In 20 Charts").

The last is a podcast from the folks at Freakonomics ("Why America Doesn't Love Soccer (Yet)"), which features NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, who is a rabid soccer fan, as well as Sunil Gulati, an economist at Columbia who also is the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation and on the FIFA Executive Committee and Jonathan Wilson, a professor at Tufts university who is the author of Kick and Run: Memoir with Soccer Ball. As the podcast's title suggests, it explores why the U.S. has yet to reach elite status in terms of mens soccer (but already has in women's soccer). You can listen to the podcast at the Freakonomics website ("Why America Doesn't Love Soccer (Yet)") or download it from iTunes. You can also find the audio transcript at the Freakonomics website.

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