Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Advertisement

Why it is important to win your World Cup group

Why it is important to win your World Cup group
June 29
10:40 2014
Advertisement

The Netherlands wanted to top their group at all costs in order to avoid a ‘strong’ Brazil in the next round.

Their coach, Louis van Gaal, fielded a strong team against Chile in a game that was to decide the group’s winner. Holland won 2-0 and will now meet a ‘weak’ Mexico in the second round.

So, how important is it to top your group at the World Cup so as to have a knockout match with  a supposedly weak team who came second in another group?

TheCable tries to find out.

1930 World Cup

Only group winners (Argentina, United States, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia) played the knockout games.

1934 World Cup

The group stage used in the first World Cup was discarded in favour of a straight knockout tournament.

1938 World Cup

The knockout format from 1934 was retained.

1950 World Cup

Only group winners (Brazil, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay) advanced to the final group stage.

19541954 World Cup

In this edition, the group winners (Brazil, Hungary, Uruguay, and England) didn’t get paired with the runners-up for the next stage but with a fellow group winner! Brazil lost to Hungary 4-2 while Uruguay beat England by the same result.

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

No. West Germany, who had earlier lost 8-3 to Hungary in the group stage, got their revenge in the final with a 3-2 win.

1958 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 8 hurdle

All group winners – West Germany, Sweden, France, and Brazil – triumphed.

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

That’s an obvious yes! Brazil won their first World Cup.

1962 World Cup

Group winner who scaled Round 8 hurdle

Brazil

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Soviet Union (Chile), West Germany (Yugoslavia), Hungary (Czechoslovakia)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Brazil retained their trophy.

19661966 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 8 hurdle

All group winners – England, Portugal, West Germany, and Soviet Union – defeated the ‘weaker’ runners-up.

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Another obvious yes! Host England won their first World Cup.

19701970 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 8 hurdle

Brazil, Italy, West Germany

Group winner who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Soviet Union (Uruguay)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Brilliant Brazil in an emphatic 4-1 win against Italy.

1974 World Cup

In a change from the format used in the previous three competitions, the second round consisted of another group stage. The eight remaining teams were divided into two groups of four. The winners of each group played each other in the final.

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

No. Although West Germany won their final group stage and defeated the Netherlands, the winner of the second final group stage in the World Cup final, West Germany, were second to bitter rivals East Germany in the first group stage. Confusing, right?

1978 World Cup

The format of the competition stayed the same as in 1974.

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

No; same ‘confusion’ of four years earlier. Though Argentina won their final group stage and defeated the Netherlands (again), the winner of the second final group stage in the World Cup final, the hosts, were second to Italy in the first group stage.

19821982 World Cup

A unique format was used in this edition. The first round was a round-robin group stage containing six groups of four teams each. The top two teams in each group advanced. In the second round, the twelve remaining teams were split into four groups of three teams each, with the winner of each group progressing to the knockout semi-final stage. Hmmm.

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

No and yes, like in the previous two tournaments. Italy who defeated West Germany 3-1 in the final, came second in the first group stage won by Poland. They topped their next group ahead of Brazil and Argentina.

19861986 World Cup

The format of the competition changed from 1982, with the second round being played on a knockout basis rather than groups.

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

Argentina, Mexico, Brazil

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Soviet Union (Belgium), Denmark (Spain), Morocco (West Germany)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Argentina won their first World Cup outside their country.

19901990 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

West Germany, Czechoslovakia, England, Cameroon, Italy, Republic of Ireland

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Spain (Yugoslavia), Brazil (Argentina)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. West Germany won a drab final 1-0 against Argentina who wobbled and fumbled to the last match of the competition.

1994 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

Romania, Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, Spain

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Saudi Arabia (Sweden), Mexico (Bulgaria), Nigeria (Italy)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Brazil won their first World Cup in 24 years!

1998 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

Brazil, Netherlands, Argentina, Italy, France, Germany

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Nigeria (Denmark), Romania (Croatia)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. France made the most of being the host to win their first World Cup.

2002 22002 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

Germany, Spain, South Korea, Brazil

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Mexico (United States), Denmark (England), Sweden (Senegal), Japan (Turkey)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Brazil, inspired by Ronaldo, won their fifth World Cup.

2006 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

Germany, Argentina, Italy, England, Portugal, Brazil

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

Switzerland (Ukraine), Spain (France)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Italy defeated champions France via penalty shootout.

2010 22010 World Cup

Group winners who scaled Round 16 hurdle

Uruguay, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Paraguay, Spain

Group winners who lost to the ‘weak’ team

United States (Ghana)

Did a group winner end up winning the World Cup?

Yes. Spain won their first World Cup.

Findings

1) The first four World Cups – 1930, 1934, 1938, and 1950 – had fewer teams and a simple format so the results are not applicable in this exercise.

Also, the formats used in 1974, 1978, and 1982 World Cups were quite clumsy and wouldn’t add substance to this research.

2) So, in the 12 World Cups under review, of the 74 games played between winners and runners-up in the second round 51 were won by teams who topped their group (representing 68.9 per cent) while 23 were won by teams who came second in their group (representing 31.1 per cent).

3) When there was a change in the World Cup format, like in 1954 (where group winners played one another instead of runners-up in the second round), 1974, 1978, and 1982, teams that came second in the first group stages always ended up winning the World Cup.

There’s no new format in this World Cup.

4) In the last World Cup in South Africa, of the eight games played in the round-of-16, seven were won by teams who topped their group.

5) In 15 World Cups, excluding the first four, teams who won their group ended up as champions 11 times (representing  73 per cent) while teams who came second in the first round of matches won the World Cup four times (representing   27 per cent).

Conclusion

So, it is bad news for Nigeria and Stephen Keshi and the other teams who couldn’t win their groups. Van Gaal et al should get the choicest brand of champagne. And pop it will go!

 

RECEIVE ALERTS FROM THECABLE

BBM CHANNEL C0038F78B
WHATSAPP 08113975334
TWITTER @thecableng
Copyright 2018 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.
Tags
Advertisement

Social Comments

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

*

Advertisement
Advertisement

Exchange Rates

November 16, 2018USDGBPEUR
INTERBANK306397354
LAGOS359475418
KANO359476420
PH360476420
ABUJA359478419
NOTE: The black market rates represent the most prevalent. They could be slightly higher or lower among different sellers.
Advertisement
Advertisement