Draws are upsets too

During the BBC live text feed of this week’s World Cup qualification matches Northern Ireland were described as having been “within 10 minutes of an upset” in Portugal. However, the draw which Northern Ireland managed in Portugal was not only an upset but the biggest shock of 2014 World Cup qualification so far in Europe.

There have been seven matches to date in the UEFA section of World Cup qualification in which the result had less than 22% chance of happening according to the adjusted bookmakers’ odds. Five of those seven shock results have been draws. So isn’t it about time that some credit was given to the teams who have managed to pull off these upsets?

Surprise results can happen at any time of course and many are due, at least in part, to random variation which undoubtedly exists in a sport in which scoring events are rare. Six of the seven matches in the table above required the team pulling off the surprise to score just a single goal at most to do so.

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2 Responses to Draws are upsets too

  1. Maniek says:

    No article about Poland – England? Fair draw. England didn’t delight. Good play of Polish team. I was expecting more from England.

    • I thought it was a fair draw on the basis of chances, yes. Poland played well and England didn’t. The Rooney miss just before the Poland goal showed how a match can turn on tiny things. If Rooney had made it 2-0 at that stage, it would have been over. Instead it was 1-1 shortly after. Loved having so many Polish visitors. My piece on the 1973 match was my most popular post ever. Thanks for visiting and hope you will return even though this is usually about the Eredivisie and Premier League.

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