Backtesting: Confederations Cup

Ultimately, the meaning of analysis is to either to improve or to predict. Being on the top-down side of analysis, my realm is the prediction of player performance and, based on this, team performance. Every prediction should be checked after the fact, so we can learn and improve.

Before the Confederations Cup I posted this ranking of national teams according to Goalimpact and other metrics. So how did they fare?


Betfair had all games right, just based on the odds of the World Cup (sic!) title. It was not entirely level playing field though, as Brazil's home advantage has been factored in into the odds while the other measures just rank the teams and thus got the final wrong. In all other games of Brazil, they would have been the favorite even without the home advantage.

However, we can still conclude that the cup was without any big surprises and was very predictable unless you use a very defunct scoring system such as the FIFA uses for their world ranking list. However, the market values published at transfermarkt.de are also not a perfect proxy for playing strength. Assuming transfermarkt.de publishes correct estimates of true market values, one must concluded that Mexican players are undervalued or Japanese overvalued.

Anyway, I'm content with Goalimpact's predictions. But the bar was low at this tournament. Everything but the final was right, so would I predict all the same? No! Of course not. Even if the predictions were correct, there is much to learn. Tahiti was rated far too good by Goalimpact and received a hefty downgrade as result of this tournament. This will also lead to a revaluation of historic Games of Tahiti with the new lower value and, in turn, common opponents will also experience a second order downgrade. Mainly this effects OFC countries. On the upside Brazil's performance raised the team's Goalimpact.

Uruguay's National Team at the Confed Cup

To continue posting all teams at the Confederatinos Cup, here is the one of Uruguay. Now only Nigeria to go.

Player GoalImpact Age Team Games Minutes
Goalkeeper
Fernando Muslera 116,4 27,0 Galatasaray 213 19.774
Martin Silva 107,4 30,2 Olimpia Asuncion 157 14.468
Juan Castillo 101,2 35,1 Danubio FC 144 13.263
Defender
Maxi Pereira 134,5 29,0 SL Benfica 256 21.880
Diego Lugano 133,6 32,6 Malaga CF 255 23.111
Diego Godin 119,0 27,3 Atletico Madrid 255 22.788
Sebastian Coates 116,6 22,7 Liverpool FC 106 9.213
Matias Aguirregaray 109,7 24,2 CA Penarol 83 6.325
Martin Caceres 108,5 26,2 Juventus 189 15.642
Midfielder
Alvaro Pereira 123,8 27,5 Inter 269 23.286
Cristian Rodriguez 120,8 27,7 Atletico Madrid 259 15.012
Walter Gargano 114,5 28,9 Inter 252 20.572
Andres Scotti 113,7 37,5 Nacional 214 18.731
Nicolas Lodeiro 111,8 24,2 Botafogo RJ 82 5.005
Alvaro Gonzalez 111,6 28,6 Lazio Roma 190 13.062
Sebastian Eguren 106,2 32,4 Libertad 194 13.899
Gaston Ramirez 105,5 22,5 Southampton FC 115 7.965
Egidio Arevalo 103,2 31,4 US Palermo 171 14.724
Diego Perez 102,3 33,0 Bologna FC 292 21.834
Forward
Luis Suarez 137,1 26,4 Liverpool FC 320 27.215
Diego Forlan 121,5 34,0 Internacional RS 495 36.660
Edinson Cavani 118,4 26,3 SSC Napoli 295 23.792
Abel Hernandez 98,8 22,8 US Palermo 105 5.863


Spain's Perfect Eleven takes on the Confed Cup

Spain's national team is full with so many excellent football players that it is a pitty only eleven can play at a time. If the staring XI consists of the players with the highest Goalimpact, it would average above 150. Many of the opponents in this tournament don't even have a single player that good.

Player GoalImpact Age Team Games Minutes Position
Victor Valdes 184,6 31,4 FC Barcelona 477 44.369
GK
Iker Casillas 172,8 32,0 Real Madrid 692 64.244
GK
Pepe Reina
152,5 30,8 Liverpool FC 571 53.172
GK
Sergio Ramos 164,5 27,2 Real Madrid 426 37.948
DF
Pique 162,8 26,3 FC Barcelona 279 23.075
DF
Arbeloa 161,6 30,4 Real Madrid 287 24.521
DF
Raul Albiol 138,2 27,7 Real Madrid 301 25.267
DF
Azpilicueta 114,2 23,8 Chelsea FC 219 19.069
DF
Nacho Monreal 112,3 27,3 Arsenal FC 201 17.880
DF
Xavi 175,0 33,4 FC Barcelona 671 54.314
MF
Cesc Fabregas 173,2 26,1 FC Barcelona 432 33.105
MF
Iniesta 170,1 29,1 FC Barcelona 449 31.742
MF
Busquets 170,0 24,9 FC Barcelona 232 18.530
MF
David Silva 139,1 27,4 Manchester City 364 28.325
MF
Mata 133,9 25,1 Chelsea FC 299 22.491
MF
Jesus Navas 129,9 27,5 Sevilla FC 355 29.607
MF
Santi Cazorla 127,8 28,5 Arsenal FC 375 27.528
MF
Jordi Alba 126,6 24,2 FC Barcelona 192 14.371
MF
Javi Martinez 113,3 24,8 Bayern München 281 23.485
MF
Pedro 162,7 25,8 FC Barcelona 200 12.888
FW
David Villa 148,8 31,5 FC Barcelona 450 34.928
FW
Fernando Torres 133,7 29,2 Chelsea FC 506 39.235
FW
Soldado 120,2 28,0 Valencia CF 254 18.099
FW

Spain looks unbeatable in this tournament. Only Brazil may have a chance due to the home advantage.

Mexico's National Team at the Confed Cup

Despite of many players playing in Mexico's domestic league, Primera Division, this team has no weak spots. Whilst few players stand out, all have a sound Goalimpact at least. A fact that indicates the relative strength of the Mexican football. This team will be difficult to play against.

Player GoalImpact Age Team Games Minutes Position
Guillermo Ochoa 109,2 27,9 AC Ajaccio 344 31985 GK
Jose Corona 108,8 32,3 Cruz Azul 347 32179 GK
Alfredo Talavera 103,7 30,7 Deportivo Toluca 196 17924 GK
Carlos Salcido 140,4 33,2 UANL Tigres 411 37141 DF
Maza 127,9 31,6 CF America 352 30182 DF
Hector Moreno 117,6 25,4 Espanyol Barcelona 230 19989 DF
Hiram Mier 115,3 23,8 CF Monterrey 125 11098 DF
Diego Reyes 112,8 20,7 CF America 103 8645 DF
Severo Meza 112,1 26,9 CF Monterrey 245 18599 DF
Jorge Torres Nilo 109,5 25,4 UANL Tigres 206 16810 DF
Jesus Molina 104,9 25,2 Cruz Azul 177 14227 DF
Gerardo Flores 103,4 27,3 Cruz Azul 168 11744 DF
Gerardo Torrado 130,2 34,1 Cruz Azul 407 33867 MF
Andres Guardado 117,0 26,7 Valencia CF 295 24181 MF
Angel Reyna 114,7 28,7 CF Pachuca 264 18072 MF
Javier Aquino 113,7 23,3 Villarreal CF 111 7080 MF
Hector Herrera 97,0 23,1 CF Pachuca 59 4409 MF
Javier Hernandez 135,5 25,0 Manchester United 208 12217 FW
Aldo de Nigris 114,3 29,9 CF Monterrey 281 18831 FW
Pablo Barrera 114,2 25,9 Cruz Azul 180 11640 FW
Giovani Dos Santos 113,3 24,1 RCD Mallorca 179 11547 FW
Jesus Zavala 111,9 25,9 CF Monterrey 194 13000 FW
Raul Jimenez 111,6 22,1 CF America 62 4374 FW

Top players are Javier Hernandez, a.k.a. Chicharito, Carlos Salcido, and Torrado. However, the later two are approaching the age limits for professional football and may not perform as good anymore as indicated by their career average Goalimpacts over the full time.

Italy's National Team at the Confed Cup

Italy has a strong first eleven at the Confederations Cup that consists of more than just Andrea Pirlo and Buffon. Players from the second row are not world-class, but certainly also good substitutions. As many play together in at Juventus or Milan, they will also profit from many automatic movements and understanding.

Player GoalImpact Age Team Games Minutes Position
Gianluigi Buffon 154,5 35,3 Juventus 659 61056 GK
Salvatore Sirigu 120,0 26,4 Paris Saint-Germain 176 16353 GK
Federico Marchetti 110,4 30,3 Lazio Roma 159 14541 GK
Giorgio Chiellini 136,6 28,8 Juventus 320 29015 DF
Andrea Barzagli 134,8 32,1 Juventus 410 37124 DF
Leonardo Bonucci 124,6 26,1 Juventus 215 19212 DF
Christian Maggio 119,9 31,3 SSC Napoli 294 24453 DF
Mattia De Sciglio 116,2 20,6 AC Milan 39 3336 DF
Davide Astori 97,7 26,4 Cagliari Calcio 144 12829 DF
Andrea Pirlo 153,2 34,0 Juventus 630 50305 MF
Daniele De Rossi 132,1 29,9 AS Roma 443 37270 MF
Claudio Marchisio 122,0 27,4 Juventus 237 19560 MF
Alberto Aquilani 120,8 28,9 ACF Fiorentina 266 16885 MF
Riccardo Montolivo 119,0 28,4 AC Milan 356 28845 MF
Stephan El Shaarawy 114,9 20,6 AC Milan 108 6957 MF
Ignazio Abate 113,3 26,6 AC Milan 211 16113 MF
Antonio Candreva 97,6 26,3 Lazio Roma 202 13962 MF
Mario Balotelli 135,9 22,8 AC Milan 186 11076 FW
Emanuele Giaccherini 113,0 28,1 Juventus 127 9139 FW
Alberto Gilardino 113,0 30,9 Bologna FC 513 37684 FW
Sebastian Giovinco 109,4 26,3 Juventus 207 13729 FW
Alessio Cerci 102,5 25,9 Torino FC 124 7509 FW
Alessandro Diamanti 89,2 30,1 Bologna FC 191 14128 FW


Tahiti's team at the Confed Cup

One the highlights of this year's Confederation Cup is certainly the qualification of Tahiti. By all measures this team is not among the best 100 teams of the world. According to Goalimpact, it is on rank 126. In the FIFA ranking, it is even a few places lower on 134. Only one player, Marama Vahirua, is professional football players. Everybody else has a 'real job' for a living.

Player GoalImpact Age Team Games Minutes Position
Mickael Roche 102,3 27,4 AS Dragon 9 837 GK
Xavier Samin 86,4 35,4 AS Tefana Faa'a 28 2549 GK
Nicolas Vallar 101,7 29,6 AS Dragon 13 1129 DF
Edson Lemaire 101,2 22,6 AS Dragon 7 522 DF
Tamatoa Wagemann 99,2 33,2 AS Dragon 8 593 DF
Yannick Vero 89,9 28,4 AS Dragon 8 627 DF
Stephane Faatiarau 86,0 23,2 AS Tefana Faa'a 17 935 DF
Vincent Simon 85,7 29,7 AS Dragon 20 1631 DF
Tehevarii Ludivion 77,2 23,9 11 1023 DF
Henri Caroine 100,6 31,7 AS Dragon 10 777 MF
Jonathan Tehau 95,5 25,4 AS Dragon 15 1265 MF
Rainui Aroita 89,6 19,3 1 35 MF
Ricky Aitamai 89,2 1 27 MF
Heimano Bourebare 88,5 24,0 AS Dragon 27 2391 MF
Stanley Atani 88,4 23,3 AS Tefana Faa'a 14 979 MF
Lorenzo Tehau 86,6 24,1 AS Tefana Faa'a 22 1747 MF
Marama Vahirua 106,0 33,1 Panthrakikos 358 21593 FW
Samuel Hynanyine 101,8 29,3 AS Dragon 3 93 FW
Yohann Tihoni 92,5 1 82 FW
Teaonui Tehau 89,4 20,7 AS Dragon 16 833 FW
Alvin Tehau 87,0 24,1 AS Tefana Faa'a 21 1799 FW
Steevy Chong Hue 83,4 23,3 AS Dragon 17 1413 FW

The chances to earn a point at this tournament are not very high. For a tactical analysis (sic!), I recommend the German blog Spielverlagerung.