Expected versus actual goals in the World Cup

Jul 6, 2018

Benjamin Pavard from France made a low-probability goal the other day. Seth Blanchard and Reuben Fischer-Baum for The Washington Post explain the rarity and use it as a segue into expected versus actual goals to gauge how teams have played.

This statistic can also tell us which teams are over and under-producing given their level of play so far, by comparing their expected goals and actual results. Surprise quarterfinalist Russia is the biggest overproducer, with an actual goal differential of +4 compared with an expected goal differential of -1.7. This can mean a lot of things. The team could be getting a bit lucky, or just playing extremely well in such a way that they finish more hard challenges than you would normally expect.

Seems right, I think. I mean, I have to take it at face value, as the sports world is essentially dead to me until basketball season starts again.


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