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World Cup Sweepstake

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Match Actual Paul Simon Carmen Jon Alex Tom Valerie Bethan Ian Emma Luke Des Jane Dave Caroline S2
Running Total 38 39 26 21 26 26 41 31 29 27 37 31 29 21 30 23
SouthAfrica(83) v Mexico(17) 1-1 1-1=3 1-0 2-1 1-2 0-0=1 1-0 0-1 0-1 1-0 2-1 1-1=3 1-2 2-1 3-0 0-6 4-0
Uruguay(16) v France(9) 0-0 0-1 0-2 1-2 1-2 0-0=3 1-0 0-1 1-2 0-3 1-3 2-1 1-2 0-2 1-2 0-0=3 2-1
SouthKorea(47) v Greece(13) 2-0 0-0 1-1 1-0=1 1-2 0-0 1-0=1 0-1 0-2 0-1 0-3 1-0=1 1-2 0-2 6-0=1 0-3 0-1
Argentina(7) v Nigeria(21) 1-0 2-0=1 2-1=1 3-1=1 2-1=1 0-0 1-0=3 1-0=3 2-1=1 2-0=1 3-1=1 2-0=1 2-1=1 1-0=3 3-1=1 1-0=3 3-1=1
England(8) v USA(14) 1-1 2-0 2-1 2-1 2-1 0-0=1 1-0 1-0 2-2=1 2-0 2-0 1-0 2-1 1-0 1-2 0-0=1 1-1=3
Algeria(30) v Slovenia(25) 0-1 0-1=3 0-0 2-1 2-1 0-0 1-0 0-1=3 1-1 1-1 1-1 1-1 1-2=1 1-1 2-0 0-0 0-3=1
Serbia(15) v Ghana(32) 0-1 1-1 0-1=3 0-2=1 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 1-0 2-0 0-0 1-2=1 2-3=1 2-1 0-1=3 1-1 1-0 1-1
Germany(6) v Australia(20) 4-0 1-0=1 3-1=1 2-0=1 1-2 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 2-1=1 3-0=1 2-1=1 2-2 2-1=1 0-3 5-1=1 1-0=1 0-3
Holland(4) v Denmark(36) 2-0 2-0=3 2-0=3 3-2=1 1-2 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 2-0=3 3-1=1 2-1=1 4-0=1 2-1=1 2-0=3 1-3 3-0=1 1-1
Japan(45) v Cameroon(19) 1-0 1-1 1-1 2-1=1 1-2 0-0 1-0=3 0-1 0-1 1-1 1-3 0-1 1-2 0-1 2-2 0-2 1-1
Italy(5) v Paraguay(31) 1-1 1-0 2-0 3-1 2-1 0-0=1 1-0 1-0 2-0 3-0 3-1 2-0 2-1 3-0 3-0 2-0 0-2
NewZealand(78) v Slovakia(34) 1-1 0-2 0-1 1-2 2-1 0-0=1 1-0 0-1 0-0=1 1-1=3 2-0 0-3 1-2 0-1 15-0 0-4 2-2=1
IvoryCoast(27) v Portugal(3) 0-0 0-1 2-3 1-3 2-1 0-0=3 1-0 0-1 1-2 0-3 1-3 1-1=1 1-2 0-3 1-3 0-2 0-1
Brazil(1) v NorthKorea(105) 2-1 3-0=1 5-0=1 3-1=1 2-1=3 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 3-0=1 4-0=1 5-0=1 4-0=1 2-1=3 5-0=1 18-0=1 10-0=1 1-3
Honduras(38) v Chile(18) 0-1 0-1=3 0-3=1 0-2=1 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 0-1=3 0-1=3 1-1 3-3 1-2=1 1-2=1 3-0 1-4=1 0-2=1 2-1
Spain(2) v Switzerland(24) 0-1 2-0 3-1 1-0 2-1 0-0 1-0 1-0 3-1 2-0 6-0 5-0 2-1 4-1 3-1 2-0 0-1=3
SouthAfrica(83) v Uruguay(16) 0-3 1-1 2-0 3-2 2-1 0-0 1-0 0-1=1 0-1=1 1-1 1-3=1 1-2=1 1-2=1 0-2=1 2-2 0-6=1 0-1=1
Argentina(7) v SouthKorea(47) 4-1 2-0=1 3-1=1 2-0=1 2-1=1 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 2-0=1 3-1=1 4-0=1 3-1=1 2-1=1 2-0=1 1-0=1 4-0=1 1-0=1
Greece(13) v Nigeria(21) 2-1 0-1 1-2 1-1 2-1=3 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 2-1=3 0-1 3-0=1 2-2 2-1=3 1-1 5-4=1 0-0 2-0=1
France(9) v Mexico(17) 0-2 1-0 1-1 2-0 2-1 0-0 1-0 1-0 2-1 7-0 2-0 2-0 2-1 1-0 4-5=1 0-0 1-1
Germany(6) v Serbia(15) 0-1 2-0 2-1 3-1 2-1 0-0 1-0 1-0 2-2 0-15=1 2-0 2-1 2-1 1-0 3-1 0-0 1-0
Slovenia(25) v USA(14) 2-2 0-1 0-0=1 2-2=3 2-1 0-0=1 1-0 0-1 1-2 2-1 1-2 1-0 1-2 1-1=1 6-0 0-1 3-0
England(8) v Algeria(30) 0-0 2-0 3-1 2-1 1-2 0-0=3 1-0 1-0 2-1 2-0 3-0 3-0 2-1 2-1 0-2 2-0 1-1=1
Holland(4) v Japan(45) 1-0 2-0=1 2-1=1 3-1=1 2-1=1 0-0 1-0=3 1-0=3 2-0=1 3-1=1 3-0=1 3-0=1 2-1=1 2-1=1 1-1 4-0=1 0-1
Ghana(32) v Australia(20) 1-1 1-0 0-1 2-0 1-2 0-0=1 1-0 0-1 0-1 3-2 2-2=1 0-0=1 1-2 0-1 2-2=1 0-1 1-0
Cameroon(19) v Denmark(36) 1-2 1-0 0-0 1-1 2-1 0-0 1-0 1-0 1-0 1-2=3 1-0 2-2 2-1 1-0 3-3 1-0 1-0
Slovakia(34) v Paraguay(31) 0-2 0-0 0-0 1-2=1 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 0-1=1 0-0 2-1 1-0 1-1 1-2=1 0-0 4-4 0-0 1-2=1
Italy(5) v NewZealand(78) 1-1 3-0 1-0 3-1 2-1 0-0=1 1-0 1-0 2-0 1-3 3-0 2-0 2-1 2-0 2-4 7-0 1-2
Brazil(1) v IvoryCoast(27) 3-1 2-0=1 3-1=3 2-1=1 2-1=1 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 3-1=3 4-0=1 4-1=1 2-0=1 2-1=1 3-1=3 1-2 2-0=1 0-0
Portugal(3) v NorthKorea(105) 7-0 4-0=1 4-0=1 3-1=1 1-2 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 2-0=1 0-16 7-0=3 2-1=1 2-1=1 4-0=1 3-0=1 10-0=1 0-3
Chile(17) v Switzerland(24) 1-0 1-0=3 0-0 1-0=3 2-1=1 0-0 1-0=3 1-0=3 1-1 2-1=1 1-0=3 1-1 2-1=1 2-0=1 1-2 0-0 0-1
Spain(2) v Honduras(38) 2-0 2-0=3 2-0=3 1-0=1 1-2 0-0 1-0=1 1-0=1 3-0=1 4-0=1 4-0=1 3-0=1 2-1=1 2-1=1 1-0=1 3-0=1 0-1
France(9) v SouthAfrica(83) 1-2 1-0 1-1 2-0 2-1 0-0 1-0 1-0 2-0 6-1 5-0 1-0 2-1 3-0 0-1=1 7-0 0-1=1
Mexico(17) v Uruguay(16) 0-1 1-0 2-1 2-2 2-1 0-0 1-0 0-1=3 1-1 1-2=1 1-1 1-3=1 1-2=1 1-1 3-2 0-0 0-2=1
Greece(13) v Argentina(7) 0-2 0-1=1 1-2=1 1-3=1 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 0-1=1 2-2 2-1 1-2=1 1-4=1 1-2=1 1-1 1-1 0-0 0-2=3
Nigeria(21) v SouthKorea(47) 2-2 1-1=1 2-2=3 2-1 2-1 0-0=1 1-0 1-0 1-0 1-2 1-1=1 2-2=3 2-1 1-1=1 1-0 2-0 1-3
Slovenia(25) v England(8) 0-1 0-1=3 1-2=1 1-3=1 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 0-1=3 1-2=1 1-2=1 0-3=1 1-2=1 1-2=1 1-2=1 0-3=1 0-1=3 2-1
USA(14) v Algeria(30) 1-0 2-0=1 1-0=3 1-2 1-2 0-0 1-0=3 1-0=3 2-1=1 1-2 2-0=1 1-0=3 2-1=1 2-1=1 1-4 1-0=3 0-0
Australia(20) v Serbia(15) 2-1 0-0 2-1=3 1-2 2-1=3 0-0 1-0=1 0-1 1-2 2-1=3 0-0 2-1=3 1-2 0-0 2-1=3 0-0 4-0=1
Ghana(32) v Germany(6) 0-1 0-2=1 1-2=1 1-4=1 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 0-1=3 0-2=1 1-2=1 0-6=1 2-3=1 1-2=1 0-1=3 5-0 0-2=1 0-0
Paraguay(31) v NewZealand(78) 0-0 1-1=1 2-2=1 2-0 1-2 0-0=3 1-0 1-0 0-0=3 2-1 10-5 1-1=1 2-1 0-3 6-5 4-0 0-3
Slovakia(34) v Italy(5) 3-2 0-3 1-2 1-3 1-2 0-0 1-0=1 0-1 0-2 1-2 0-6 0-2 1-2 0-2 3-1=1 0-2 0-1
Cameroon(19) v Holland(4) 1-2 1-2=3 1-1 0-3=1 2-1 0-0 1-0 0-1=1 1-2=3 1-2=3 0-4=1 1-3=1 1-2=3 0-1=1 2-2 0-1=1 2-1
Denmark(36) v Japan(45) 1-3 0-0 1-1 1-2=1 2-1 0-0 1-0 1-0 0-0 2-1 1-0 2-2 2-1 2-1 0-1=1 0-0 0-1=1
NorthKorea(105) v IvoryCoast(27) 0-3 0-1=1 0-4=1 6-0 1-2=1 0-0 1-0 0-1=1 0-1=1 1-2=1 6-10=1 0-3=3 1-2=1 0-5=1 3-1 0-7=1 2-0
Portugal(3) v Brazil(1) 0-0 1-2 2-2=1 2-4 1-2 0-0=3 1-0 0-1 2-3 1-2 1-1=1 3-3=1 1-2 2-1 1-3 0-0=3 1-1=1
Chile(17) v Spain(2) 1-2 0-1=1 0-2=1 2-3=1 2-1 0-0 1-0 0-1=1 1-3=1 1-2=3 0-4=1 1-3=1 1-2=3 2-3=1 1-2=3 0-1=1 0-1=1
Switzerland(24) v Honduras(38) 0-0 0-1 0-0=3 1-0 1-2 0-0=3 1-0 1-0 1-0 2-1 3-2 1-2 2-1 1-2 2-0 1-0 0-2

Rules: You get 3 points for a perfect prediction and 1 point for a correct result (i.e. win/lose/draw the right way round). Running totals will be added regularly as the competition progresses. Once all the matches are complete, the person with the most points wins absolutely nothing. Yes that's right - it’s completely pointless. The numbers in brackets are the teams' current FIFA world rankings. The number after the equals sign is the points won for each prediction.


P.S. I (Paul Cook) will moderate and update this and make sure nobody cheats by editing their scores after the tournament has started. You are welcome to make a note of my predictions to make sure I don't do the same. Please do not edit any part of this page apart from signed comments at the end. Thank you.


Paul says: Nice strategy Jon. It'll be interesting to see how it fares. I will assume you are happy with the way they are spelt in the table i.e. "Holland" rather than "Netherlands" and "South Korea" rather than "Republic of Korea" unless you tell me otherwise by Friday. Ditto with any other silly ones like "Cote d'Ivoire", "Espana", "Deutschland" etc. And as for the "Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea"... don't go there! Literally. No, really... Literally don't go there!


Paul says: At first glance, Carmen's prediction that North Korea will beat the Ivory Coast by 6-0 seems bold but when you consider that North Korea have nuclear weapons and may not be aware of the rules of soccer, it doesn't seem so silly. One thing's for sure, this match will require a strong referee. Possibly with military backup.


I'm happy with the names as you've written them, providing that they too don't change (i.e. the same rules for the country names as for the scores!). I think my strategy fits in well with the "this is entirely pointless" view. :) Jon


You've added the seedings...does that mean I can change my predictions now? (not that I can be bothered) Simon


Paul says: They're the current FIFA world rankings from www.fifa.com. They are not the seedings for this world cup as such. For example, they don't take into account recent form or injuries to key players.


Paul says: I had lots of interesting entries from people on Thursday night. Some of the entries are "algorithmic" so I've done my best to interpret these correctly. In order that we can most easily track progress and see what's going on, I've put the actual scores in the table and I've described the algorithms here:

  • Jon: 2-1 win to the team lower in the alphabet (using names exactly as in the table above).

  • Alex: 0-0 for every match.

  • Tom: 1-0 for every match (i.e. a win for the team listed on the left)

  • Valerie (entered by Tom on Valerie's behalf): 1-0 to the higher-ranked side according to FIFA.

  • Bethan: The top two teams according to FIFA (i.e. Brazil and Spain) to score 3 goals in each match. The next 10 placed teams according to FIFA to score 2. The next 10 placed teams to score 1. The last 10 to score nil. (So in practice this means: FIFA ranks 3-15 score 2, ranks 16-30 score 1, ranks 31+ score 0).

  • Caroline: The FIFA higher-ranked team scores the difference in rank divided by 10 and rounded down. The lower-ranked team scores nil.

  • Simon's unofficial alternative algorithm (abbreviated to "S2"): Number the matches in order from 1 to 48. Add this to the team's FIFA rank. Take the remainder after dividing this by the number of vowels in country's name. This remainder is the score for that team. Since Simon already has a "normal" entry, this alternative will not be allowed to win and is included for entertainment only. In fact, I can't be bothered to calculate it now. I might get round to it.

The other entries were all "hand-picked" i.e. written out one by one.


I've computed S2, but our edits keep clashing. Instead of putting them in the table again, here they are in order: [cut - Paul]. The plan to waste lots of your time spectacularly backfired...


Paul says: Indeed. They say hard work pays off in the long run. But laziness pays off immediately. Thanks Simon. Sorry about the clashes. I've added them to the table now.


Paul says: First match seems to have gone OK. I hope the format of the table is clear.


Can 'Dave' not use a better name that is less confusing? Scottish Dave


Paul says: There's only one Dave in it and it's not you.


Paul says: I decided to omit the "=0" for clarity.


Paul says: Some surprise results in the first few matches I'd say. To those of you that decided to go punting instead of watch the England match: GOOD DECISION. In the meantime, if you're bored of thinking up anagrams of PROCRASTINATION ("parrots in action" is my favourite by the way) then have a go at my all-singing, all-dancing, 3-D interactive, digitally-enhanced, online, virtual World Cup 2010 Goal Keeping Action Game.


Paul says: Brazil 2 - North Korea 1. Who saw that one coming? Well, apart from Jon who cleverly anticipated Brazil's alphabetical superiority... and Des, who also seems to like 1s and 2s. Hang on - I've just noticed Des has a 2-1 win for the higher-ranked team throughout. Des, I thought you were a hand-picker. I'm reclassifying you as an algorithmicist-in-disguise.


Paul says: With South Korea's comfortable demolition of European champions Greece and North Korea's impressive performance against the world's top team, the possibility of a North vs South Korea knockout match is now not as remote as we thought it would be. FIFA have stated that if this pair do meet, there will be a 10-yard demilitarized zone across the halfway line and the referee will be replaced by a team of UN peacekeepers stationed at armed outposts around the perimeter of the pitch. My prediction for this match (should it happen) is 11-10. That's not the score by the way - that's the body count.


Simon says: I've applied Derren Brown's Lottery-Winning algorithm news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8252235.stm - I rounded to nearest, and upwards for 0.5. It's currently on 10 points, so looks like Derren wouldn't beat Paul... Complete results: 1-1, 1-2, 1-1, 2-1, 1-1, 1-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-1, 1-1, 2-0, 2-1, 1-2, 4-0, 1-2, 2-0, 1-2, 2-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-1, 1-1, 1-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-1, 3-2, 1-1, 2-0, 2-0, 1-1, 1-2, 1-1, 1-2, 1-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-1, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-1


Paul says: Derren's Algorithm involves averaging 24 predictions. We've only got 16 predictions here. That is clearly why it hasn't worked. A comment on the BBC link above says something like "some mathematicians have dismissed it as nonsense". Does this mean some other mathematicians think he might be on to something?!?!?


Paul says: 21 June: We're now 2/3 of the way through the group games. Every team has played twice and has one more to go. The last 16 group matches are played in 2 simultaneous pairs per day over the next 4 days. This sweepstake is tight and several people can still win it and it probably won't be clear who has won until the last day. There have been many unexpected results that were hard to predict and there will probably be a few more. The best prediction so far I'd say is Emma's accurate forecast of Portugal's 7-0 win against North Korea. And the worst I'd say is Ian's prediction of that same match, being off-target by a staggering 23 goals (in a kind of goal-difference sense). Des still has a chance of winning and if he does, it's lucky there's no prize because I understand he may not actually be able to collect it in person.


Paul says: The first round of knockout matches include: Uruguay v South Korea, Mexico v Argentina, England v Germany, USA v Ghana, Holland v Slovakia, Paraguay v Japan, Portugal v Spain, Chile v Brasil.


Paul says: It's the last day. 4 matches to go. Valerie is in the lead. Simon, Luke or I can theoretically overtake her but we each need a few perfect predictions to do it!


Paul says: Now with 2 matches to go, only Luke can overtake Valerie. Simon or I could theoretically tie with Valerie and share the prize.


Paul says: Congratulations to Valerie. You are the winner! Nobody could catch you. Here's the leaderboard:

  • Valerie 41

  • Simon 39

  • Paul 38

  • Luke 37

  • Bethan 31

Hope you've all enjoyed it. Have a nice Summer. Bye!