World Cup: Squad Quality Analysis


There are many ways in which to attempt to predict events out in Qatar, from the current form of the sides to historical records at major tournaments, and on to the FIFA World Ranking system. Perhaps one of the simplest however is to look at the quality of the individual players that each nation has at its disposal.

This is not a straightforward area to analyse, but a general picture can be gained by looking at the leagues in which each of the players plies their trade, using the theory that the best players tend to gravitate towards the best leagues.

In terms of domestic football, it is widely accepted that England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A, and Ligue 1 of France represent the gold standard of global league competition.

With that in mind, we assessed each of the 26-man squads heading east, counting up the number of players based at a club in one of the five leagues named above. The results according to newbettingsites.uk are shown in the table below.

World Cup: Squad Quality Analysis

Not too many surprises overall. As the home to four of the top five global leagues, France, England, Germany, and Spain all scored a maximum of 26 out of 26, swiftly followed by two of the tournament favourites Argentina and Brazil, who’s tallies drop slightly due to a small number of home-based players.

There are however a few more interesting results as we move down the list. With a score of 20, Denmark sit seventh overall in this squad quality list, but are rated only the tenth most likely winners of the tournament. On that basis, it is understandable that the Danes have attracted a degree of support, being backed into 28/1 from an opening price of around 40/1.

Value in Group Stage Markets?

The next squad to really catch the eye is that of Senegal. With a rock-solid total of 16, the African nation come out ahead of 2018 World Cup runners up Croatia, the Netherlands, and Uruguay. It would clearly look a tall order for Aliou Cisse’s men to go on and win it all, but there may be a bit of value lying in the Group stage markets. Sitting in Group B with the Netherlands, Ecuador and Qatar, who have respective squad quality ratings of 11, 7, 0, odds of 7/2 for Senegal to win the group and 8/11 to qualify may be worth an interest.

Elsewhere, in Group C, Poland (16) are behind Argentina (23) but comfortably ahead of Group rivals Mexico (3), and Saudi Arabia (0). A general price of 10/11 to qualify looks very fair about Robert Lewandowski and co.

Returning to the African nations. Ghana (13) aren’t expected to make too much noise at the tournament, but come out ahead of Group H rivals Uruguay (10) and South Korea (6). Odds of 11/4 to make it through to the knockout stages may underestimate their chances.


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