And the winner is...

13 July, 2018

As our oddsmakers told us in Wednesday’s pregame probabilities report, the World Cup 2018 semi-finals were going to be very interesting! What they didn’t prepare us for was Croatia beating England in extra time, but only by a few percent.

As generators of our own in-house prices for sports events (odds, and probabilities), we never get tempted to think ‘that will never happen”. We’re never vague, and we never guess. We pride ourselves on making specific calculations using all the data and considering all possible outcomes, however unlikely.

GiG’s in-house modelling team has created its own Monte Carlo simulation model for the 2018 World Cup. In the World Cup every match is simulated 100,000 times. This has helped us forecast how likely different teams are to win the tournament.

Now, onto the part everyone wants to know: who’s going to lift the trophy on Sunday?

Winner of World Cup 2018:

We looked at the most common results at full time and there is a 61% chance that France will win the World Cup, while Croatia’s chance is less positive at 39%.


France 61%
Croatia 39%

Five most common results:

Score Probability
0 – 0 16.75%
1 – 0 15.76%
0 – 1 14.70%
2 – 0 10.73%
2 – 1 9.11%

Fairs core:

Our oddsmakers are expecting a total goal of 1.91 at full time, while the supremacy (how many more goals we expect from the favourite) is 0.38. Our calculated fair score for the match is France 1.11, and Croatia 0.76.

As we mentioned before, there is a 39% chance that Croatia will win the World Cup. 39% of the time where Croatia wins, 23.37% is after full time, 5.3% is after extra time and 10.33% is after a penalty shoot-out. There is 61% chance that France will win, and there is a 41.7% chance that this happens after 90 mins, 8.5% after extra time and 10.8% if the game should go to penalties.

Third place winner World Cup 2018:

Belgium: 49.2%

England: 50.8%

Expected total goals: 2.9

Calculated fair score (full time):

Belgium 1.477

England 1.507

Five most common results:

Score Probability
1 – 1 10.29%
1 – 2 8.69%
2 – 1 8.64%
0 – 1 7.93%
1 – 0 7.83%

How did our probabilities match-up to semi-final results?

In the first match Belgium created the biggest chances, but Samuel Umtiti secured France a ticket to the final with a brilliant header just six minutes into the second half.

In the following day’s second semi-final, England was favourite by only a few percent and shocked Croatia with a goal by Kieran Trippier in the first five minutes. However, Croatia managed to break through England’s defence after an impressive second half and Perisic equalised to take the match into extra time.

Mario Mandzukic then dealt England’s dream of reaching the World Cup final a crushing blow in extra time, bringing this dramatic semi final to conclusion without the need for penalties.

What does our fair score say?

Our total goals expectation in the semi finals was a lot lower than the market and our fair score calculations also came out lower than expected given the attacking flair on the pitch. It was a close game where Belgium can rightly feel unlucky to lose, but all but one of our fair score methods made France the better team over the 90 minutes.

The second semi final between Croatia and England was a more unusual game where England scored early and could have put the game to bed had Harry Kane not narrowly missed two chances on the goal mouth. Statistically there were warning signs at half time as Croatia had more than matched England in the number of chances created.

The longer the game continued, Croatia took control and had several further chances to score after Perisic equaliser. At 90 minutes all our fair score assessments confirmed that Croatia were the better side – a trend continued into extra time to England’s eventual detriment.


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