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World Cup Scoreline Summary Ahead of Semi-Finals


If you’re currently predicting scorelines for the World Cup Semi’s and fancy a flutter, a 2-1 home win seems a worth a shout…

The figure below summarises scorelines from the 60 games of the 2014 tournament so far. The area of the circles, indicate how many times each scoreline has occurred.

There have been a freaky number of 2-1 home wins – 11 in total, out of the 60 games played. This is equivalent to 18% of all games. There have been 20 different scorelines so far and almost 20% of games have had the same one: a 2-1 home win. The 2-1 home win also has more than 3 times it’s opposite number – the 2-1 away win – which has happened only 3 times.
Bubble chart Showing World Cup 2014 scoreline frequencies up to the semifinals

I haven’t looked at scoreline frequency before but, aside from the 2-1 home win, things look fairly sensible. You might expect high scoring games to happen less often and the figure below supports this. The 2-1 home win is the only outlier from this curve, by a fair way. Bizarre. (The curve shown is a second order polynomial fit to all data).


Other notes:

  • Out of 20 different results, 1/3 of all games have either been 0-0 or 2-1 home win.
  • Several sources state, without data, that 1-0 is the most common world cup scoreline with 0-0 in second place. So far 2-1 is beating both of these in this world cup.
  • The winners of the high goal games are fairly imbalanced, with the away team’s winning much more often. The Away team has won roughly twice as many games as the home team (11-6), when 3 or more goals have been scored.

I’m sure the wise will prefer to weight their predictions toward the specifics of the new pairings involved in the forthcoming games and will also be aware that the World cup home advantage (excluding the hosts) shouldn’t count for much at this stage. But perhaps there’s something in the Brazilian water and as I’m not very wise – I think there’s probably enough to warrant a little flutter…