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Tips to Winning the World Cup:#1 Don’t Lose Your First Match

Golden Teamgeist & World CupIf you want to win the World Cup then you need to win your first match.  Sorry Spain, but no team that has ever lost their debut match of the first round has ever won the World Cup and since the format changed in 1998 only 3 out of 36 teams have recovered in the first round despite not earning a single point in the first match.

The reason why this statistic is so extreme is because when teams achieve a multiple point advantage over their competitors in the initial match, they can focus on playing football for draws rather then having to risk giving up goals by going with an all out attack strategy much like a desperate team that needs points to advance might consider down the road.

Also the brevity of the tournament favors teams that are able to get off to that hot start.  With only three matches and the need for a minimum of four or five points to advance to the second round, losses are really not much of an option in general especially in the debut match.  In 1994 and 1982 a joint record 4 teams were able to recover from their initial loss and advance further, but in 1998 not one single team advanced to the second round of the event after tumbling out of the gate.  And in the modern day the likelihood of advancing after losing the first match is less then 10% and as stated earlier the number of teams that have ever recovered and won the entire tournament is zero.

In other words Spain’s odds of 3 to 1 have taken a significant hit with one critical early lapse.

Creative Commons License photo credit: CLF