USA, Germany, Japan and Canada favoured for World Cup semis

The FIFA World rankings for women’s football have provided a good basis for forecasting the Women’s World Cup so far with seven of the eight favourites in the second round progressing through to the quarter-finals. In addition, our pre-tournament forecast correctly predicted six of the eight quarter-finalists, and two of the exact match-ups (France v Germany and England v Canada) in this round. Our forecast for the quarter-final matches expects the United States to play Germany and Japan to play Canada in the semis. These semi-final matches were also predicted in our pre-tournament forecast.
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Mourinho is Premier League manager of the season…..or is he?

Jose Mourinho was named LMA Premier League Manager of the Season a few days ago, an award to add to his similar award from the Premier League itself. These awards seem to be based on the subjective opinion of those voting on them so sometimes they go to, as in this case, the manager of the Premier League champions. In other seasons, they go to a more unsung name like Tony Pulis who won both awards in 2013/2014. Isn’t there a more objective and consistent way to judge a manager for this award though?

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Assessing the Premier League predictions

At the beginning of the Premier League season, and also at the end of the transfer window, we collected a total of 60 predictions for the final rank order of this season’s Premier League. Some were submitted to us with points and others were collected online or from newspapers and therefore did not include points. These were awarded points based on the average for each position from recent seasons. The forecasts came from statistical modellers (including two bookmakers), media and fans. The original post with an overview of these predictions can be found here: 

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How did we do? Assessing Eurovision forecasting

With the Premier League finishing, the result of the pre-season predictions competition will be announced here later today but yesterday’s interlude of a Eurovision Song Contest forecast also needs to be assessed and compared to others. We therefore scoured the internet and found three other forecasts to compare ours with. Microsoft Bing also appears to have forecast the competition but only a top five, including the correct winner, was published which is not enough to do anything with. If anyone can provide me with their full pre-competition ranking, I’ll happily add it here. When you see all sorts of claims on Microsoft Bing’s success in predicting this year’s competition, remember that an assessment should be made on the whole of a prediction and not just getting the winner right. Cherry picking the good parts of a forecast is a trick that many pull to promote themselves but is not something that we will do. Here it is full cards on the table, for everyone.

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Forecasting Eurovision: Europhoria expected in the North

A slight departure before the Premier League season is completed on Sunday as this evening there is the small matter of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. This is an opportunity for a little forecasting of tonight’s result and so I asked my friend and colleague Boudewijn de Jongh, who occasionally tweets as @oneminutecoach, if I could translate his original Dutch articles into a post here and forecast the competition this evening.

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Who were the best Eredivisie predictors of 2014/2015?

Back in August 2014, we collected 48 pre-season predictions for the Eredivisie. These forecasts came from fans, statistical models, online media as well as a group of prominent media experts. The majority of entries gave the order of the 18 clubs with the number of points that each would accrue in the season but the prominent media experts only provided a rank order and were therefore given points based on averages for each position. The full overview can be found in this article: https://scoreboardjournalism.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/48-forecasts-the-eredivisie-predicted/. With the season ending today, who can be called the oracle of this season’s Eredivisie for providing the best predictions?

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An afternoon in League Two

Made of Stone by the Stone Roses greeted my arrival at Cambridge United for the final day of the Football League season. The 26 year old song, older than many of the players on show, seemed vaguely appropriate given the state of the stadium and, later that afternoon, the Cambridge United defence.

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