World Cup squads perfectly illustrate the birthday paradox

Two members of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s squad, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (27)  and defender Sead Kolasinac (21), celebrate birthdays today but what are the chances of this happening? Pretty unusual one would have thought, or not?

It used to be the preserve of statistics teachers to impress new students but the birthday paradox is becoming better known due to our improved methods of communication and people’s natural curiosity into seemingly odd phenomena. In the past, a statistics teacher would often introduce probability to the class by making a bet that at least two people in the class would share the same date of birth. It sounds unlikely but there is already a 50% chance of this happening with just 23 people. That number makes using World Cup squads a perfect example to illustrate this paradox.


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