Monday, June 12, 2006

Using Business Models To Predict Golden Boot Winner
World Cup 2006

Standard & Poor’s index services group predicts that French striker Thierry Henry will score the most goals in soccer’s World Cup tournament. The S&P custom index group created a methodology to calculate the Golden Boot Indicator (GBI) in order to speculate on the most likely winner. S&P took the goal-scoring totals for 12 of the world’s most proficient goal scorers and divided by the number of games each has played over the past four years, beginning at the 2002 World Cup.

The firm's analysis suggests France's Thierry Henry is most likely to lift the trophy, with a GBI of 0.6756 (152 goals scored in 225 games played). Here’s S&P's full GBI results:

1) Thierry Henry, France: 225 games, 152 goals, GBI 0.6756
2) Adriano, Brazil: 160 games, 105 goals, GBI 0.6563
3) Ruud van Nistelrooy, Netherlands: 189 games, 124 goals, GBI 0.6561
4) Ronaldo, Brazil: 165 games, 106 goals, GBI 0.6424
5) David Trezeguet, France: 146 games, 88 goals, GBI 0.6027
6) Luca Toni, Italy: 95 games, 55 goals, GBI 0.5789
7) Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine: 159 games, 92 goals, GBI 0.5786
8) Michael Owen, England: 166 games, 83 goals, GBI 0.5000
9) Miroslav Klose, Germany: 177 games, 84 goals, GBI 0.4746
10) Ronaldinho, Brazil: 184 games, 84 goals, GBI 0.4565
11) Hernan Crespo, Argentina: 144 games, 62 goals, GBI 0.4306
12) Wayne Rooney, England: 189 games, 64 goals, GBI 0.3386

S&P is full of brainiacs but there are a few shortcomings with the model, first I would add another factor, that is ranking the opposition each team has played with - the ranking would take into account the average goals conceded by each opposing team. The second factor is factoring in the top 3 assist players (players who makes the penultimate pass, cross before the goal is scored) in each respective team. The level of assists for Brazil would be significantly higher owing to their accuracy of passes. No matter how good a striker is, without proper good passes/crosses, they have nothing to feed on.

The third factor is the likelihood of progressing past the first round, and to the semis or finals will have a big bearing on Gold Boot winner owing to the number of matches they get to play. The fourth factor is ranking the likely opponents during the tournament and factoring in the opponents defensive record as the historical data would probably reflect very different teams playing in Germany and the ones they met in qualifying. The fifth factor would a difficult one to factor in, its called strikers' visibility, the more potent a striker is and his reputation, the tighter will be the marking around him. Imagine the marking surrounding Klose, Rooney and Ronaldhino ... surely Klose would be marked with less vigour. So, Golden Boot usually ends up with a not very familar name. Remember Schilachi, Rossi... they were nobodys prior to the tournament.

There are so many other factors that needed to be taken into account, but S&P should have done a lot better - this needs to be better than a idea hashed up in ten minutes and taking another 60 minutes to prepare. S&P needs to do better than that cause their basis of analysis is too shallow and one dimensional, I know its all for fun, but there should be "real substance" in having fun too or else you are just an over-rated nerd. I hope that is not the same structure for their research... or else they will be in big trouble. Gawd, I know... like Bob Paisley once said, .. football is not a matter of life or death..., it is something more important than that.

Hence, while I do not have the hard data, ... but based on the factors I have cited, I would rank the following with the best chance of ending up with Golden Boot:
1) Luca Toni, Italy
2) Miroslav Klose, Germany

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