As of writing this, the World Cup (2018) is well into the Round of 16 with Messi and Ronal…err Portugal and Argentina having been knocked out of the tournament. However, I’ve chosen to remain in the past and focus on the Group Stages. There were so many upsets in groups; teams like Germany and Nigeria (okay, one of these is not as surprising as the other) were knocked out a bit prematurely and a lot of other matches didn’t go the way anyone expected.
What it came down to a lot of the time was attempts on goal not being converted efficiently enough. I decided to see how the games and overall Group Stage standings would differ if we were in an alternate universe where all goal keepers were useless and all saved attempts went into the net instead! I took the “BLOCKED” attempts match statistic as seen on FIFA’s website below and added it to the goals to get the “Fake” goals and “Fake” results of the match. Luckily I didn’t have to do this all manually as I came across this wonderful and free World Cup API.
I created the Tableau dashboard below to explore the alternate Group Stage results. Filter by groups and the top table will show you the final standings for that group while the bottom table shows you how the matches played out.
A lot of the matches and standings actually end up with the same results as some teams were clearly more dominant and were also able to translate that into goals and wins. Groups C, D and F were the most affected groups as Germany, Nigeria and even Australia and Korea would have qualified for the Round of 16 had all blocked chances been turned into goals. This just goes to show the importance of good forwards who can convert their attempts on goal and good goal keepers who can block those attempts.