World Cup 2018, Day 14 Review: Deutschland viertes? Mein Gott!

Hmm, where shall we start today? How about with Germany’s worst World Cup performance since 1938, would that interest you?

Before we look at today’s game specifically, consider this: Germany’s expected goal difference in their three games (in order) has been +0.51, +0.80 and a remarkable +1.91 today. Three games is a small sample, and clearly finishing has torpedoed Germany here. Never has that been reflected more than in their game with Korea Republic.

Our man of the match for the game was Mats Hummels, and that feels a choice which passes the eye test. However, the biggest portion of his points tally came from shots.

Leaving aside the issue of your centre-back having the joint-most shots for now, it’s the quality of his chances which is noteworthy. All four shown here were worth over the average value of a shot (which is around 100 points), and his headed chance in the 87th minute was worth 502 points; in other words, similar opportunities are converted almost exactly 50% of the time. If he scores that, and it was 0-0 at the time, Germany make the last 16. Small margins, eh?

A quick word for the Korea Republic goalkeeper, Cho Hyun-Woo. His crowded dashboard obviously includes saves, but also ball recoveries and aerial duel wins. He did as much as anyone in ensuring his nation claimed a famous scalp.

The other game in Group F was nowhere near as dramatic but it was certainly important, as Sweden’s 3-0 win ensured their progress to the next round (though in light of Germany’s defeat, a point would’ve sufficed).

Andreas Granqvist picked up his second man of the match award at the World Cup, but again that was thanks to a penalty, which always feels a bit like a free 1,000 points if you’re good at them. But then again, maybe I’m being too harsh; he topped the rankings for both defence and off ball actions.

Although no Mexican had a stunning match, Hector Herrera deserves a quick tip of the hat. He only misplaced seven passes in total, and just three of 32 in the final third, plus he made ball recoveries across the whole width of the pitch.

The conclusion of Group E was far more serene. Brazil and Switzerland started the day in the qualification spots, and when both went in 1-0 up at half time, that didn’t look in danger of changing. We’ll have fan perspective from both sides of the Brazil vs Serbia match, so all I’ll say here is that Thiago Silva was our man of the day, points-wise.

Our final game saw the Swiss draw 2-2 with Costa Rica. Despite the four goals, the top performer in the eyes of our algorithm was a man who missed a penalty: Bryan Ruiz.

Much like Hector Herrera, Ruiz also made important defensive contributions all across the pitch, and as he’s an attacking midfielder, that’s a lot of leg work to put in. Costa Rica may have scored, meaning all 32 teams have at the 2018 World Cup, but they were already out, so Ruiz’ fine efforts were largely in vain.

So the last 16 draw is now almost complete; Brazil will face Mexico on Monday, before Sweden take on Switzerland on Monday. Germany will be home before then, I would imagine, but few would’ve imagined that happening when the tournament began two weeks ago.

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