SEBA Projections

World Cup projections

In place of the usual SEBA updates for MLS, USL, and NWSL (see usual interactive graph links for updates), we instead present projections for tomorrow’s World Cup.

For those unfamiliar with my typical pieces:

  • I use a system of models to assess the probability distribution for all possible match outcomes for every match.
  • I then pick randomly within each of these match distributions for each of 10,000 simulations.
  • The result of each of these simulations is aggregated to a probability.


The biggest opportunity for me to look like a genius or with considerable egg on my face is with Senegal. I have them as the 5th-best-team in the tournament (6th-best overall), despite their FIFA ranking of 27th. The most frequent scenario for them according to my simulations is to win their group, defeat England in the round-of-16, and lose to Germany in an unfortunate quarter-final match-up.

The World Cup is the best source of cross-confederation data we have to work with, so as the games pour in, it should impact the model’s future assessments substantially.

Power Ranking

Below is the power ranking of the 32 World Cup teams. The ‘strength’ score on the x-axis represents the amount of points-per-game the team would be expected to score if they competed against each of the World Cup teams in neutral territory.

Also note that Russia, playing at home, is expected to outperform their ranking here since this assumes neutral territory.

World Cup Projections

The following are the probabilities of each team for winning the World Cup, accompanied by their SEBA ranking and FIFA ranking.

Next we have the probabilities for advancing from the group stage.

After the group stage, we see the probabilities of advancing past the round-of-16.

The probabilities of advancing beyond the quarter-finals are as follows.

The following are the probabilities of advancing beyond the semi-finals.

The following shows which teams, according to SEBA, are among the best 32 teams despite not qualifying for the World Cup.

The following shows which teams, according to SEBA, are outside the top 32 teams in the world, but nonetheless qualified for the World Cup.

For comparison, USA is currently ranked 39th by SEBA.

Next, the left table shows the top 10 overrated teams on FIFA’s rankings according to SEBA, and the right table shows the top 10 underrated teams.


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