So the 2010 edition of the World Cup is already history. Spain has won its first world cup; Netherlands once again came so close of fulfilling the dream, only to fail at the very final… As usual, in the next days, many real and fake pundits will express all kinds of opinions about the winning team, the losing team, the surprising (or maybe not so surprising) early exits of the Brazil and Argentina sides, etc., etc. However, few would be able to stand up and brag about the accuracy with which they had predicted the outcomes of most of the games at this World Cup. I still remember the naive predictions I read in the otherwise very knowledgeable UK sports press about “bringing the cup back to where it belongs, i.e., England,” or “Wayne showing the world why he is number 1.”
Well, despite my average knowledge of the football game, I am happy and very proud to report that I had achieved 82% accuracy in predicting the first and second spots in the group games as well as in the outcomes of the knock-off phase games. What this means is that I finished the ESPN World Cup Bracket Predictor competition ahead of 99.9% of the 1,100,000+ contestants. Only 839 contestants and one octopus, named Paul, fared better than I in their predictions of the outcomes. Not bad for an ordinary football fan, who claims no special expertise!
But as much as being able to say that I ended up in the 99.9th percentile on a reputable sports web site is a feast worthy of bragging for a while, my real satisfaction comes from the fact that I ranked first among my coworkers in the ESPN group that my company had organized. It is surprising how sometimes winning a small competition like this one elevates your status among your coworkers much more than any extraordinary performance you might have demonstrated in your daily work.
Anyways, here is a snapshot of the final outcome of my ESPN bracket submission.