FIFA World Cup: Expected Goals in games thus far

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12: Gabriel Heinze of Argentina celebrates as he scores the opening goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Argentina and Nigeria at Ellis Park Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


If we take the shots taken in the games so far and add up the expected shooting percentage based on their locations, we can come up with an estimate of how many goals each team should have scored.

Here's the chart for the first five games:

Home Shots Goals Exp Goals Away Shots Goals Exp Goals
South Africa 10 1 0.56 Mexico 16 1 1.36
Uruguay 7 0 0.25 France 20 0 1.19
Argentina 20 1 1.58 Nigeria 12 0 0.38
South Korea 17 2 1.46 Greece 6 0 0.72
England 18 1 1.44 United States 12 1 0.77

No surprises there - the teams that won got much better shots, and the three teams that tied despite having better control of the play should have won...but didn't.

Note that this is a very coarse metric because relatively few shots are taken in a game. I have much better data relating to field position that I'll discuss in the next couple of days.

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