back to article Hup Holland, viva España

Holland are favourites to win the World Cup according to The Reg's resident football stats expert Dr Ian McHale. But the football fan in him says Spain. Dr McHale, senior lecturer in statistics at Salford University, had Holland as favourites and Spain a close second before the tournament started. After the group stage Dr …


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  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    ITs a mad, mad, mad, mad world indeed when Chaos rules and invertebrates lead media tales

    Apparently the octopus has dictated that Spain are to be champions. And it is thought to be newsworthy. STREWTH .... how easy are the plebs entertained!

    1. Marvin the Martian

      And you point is?

      What new and deep insight is revealed in your post?


      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        And you point is? ....... v2.0

        " What new and deep insight is revealed in your post?

        Pot/kettle."..... Marvin the Martian Posted Friday 9th July 2010 13:40 GMT

        Quite so, Marvin the Martian, with it being the one you have yourself also highlighted... a lot of silly nonsense revealed. Welcome to the new PC era where even octopi have their fifteen minutes of valuable/cynical/worthless media fame?

        Do you think media tries to rule the world, very badly, with its tales? And whenever it does in cahoots with IT, is the failing/are the failings as a result of a sub-prime global script and idiot penmanship/Crap Authorisation?

        Such would then make the solution extremely simple ....... Host a Better and Beta Scripts from Top Class Writers and Thinkers/Binary and Ternary Tinkerers.

        A little something for extra special for the Creative Department of the BBC to consider with AI Launching ....... or would that put them into direct competition with the Willy Wonkas of Westminster, who without media help and instruction would be sharing ramblings with hardly anybody at all?

        "What new and deep insight is revealed in your post?" ...... How deep are you equipped to go in new manipulative virtual control fields?

    2. Anonymous John

      I despair.

      Even the BBC 1 1pm News devoted a few minutes to it. Don't they want to be seen as a serious news organisation?

      I for one don't welcome our new eight-legged psychic overlord.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      RE: ITs a mad, mad, mad, mad world indeed when Chaos rules and invertebrates lead media tales

      It seems to have twice the brain power of normal football pundits. It isn't busy shooting it's mouth about a load of bollocks all the time either.

      Maybe ITV/BBC/Sky can hire it and give us all a break?

  2. Cameron Colley

    Doesn't this just mean they need another factor?

    OK, so I scraped through A-Level stats, but it seems to me that they should, perhaps, just add a way of decreasing the effect of early scores as tournaments go on -- as I suspect that his happens often as teams "warm up" at different rates.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      They may have done so.

      I guess he's done so; as you have all prior results, you can see if these "youthful errors" have actual predictive power or not... If not, it'd just give a very small impact factor to the early matches and all stays equal.

      If I was him, I'd re-run the stats with spain-switzerland both as a draw and a win for spain. A rough guage of elasticity... see if it matters much to the prediction. Also, at beginning of tournament Holland already predicted to win? OK, then nothing's changed so prediction is robust. At about 50:50, there's little to be learned yet; let's look back in 10years.

      I guess he knows if that match had much effect on the calculation, either by testing explicitely or by extrapolation of earlier results, so it's strange he speaks of gut feeling.

  3. Marco van de Voort

    Octopus is not sane

    Choosing a team that will probably put them in the Paella if they saw a chance.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    Cephalopodian prognostications.

    That was bound to happen.

    Spineless bastards are always going to stick together.

  5. Velv

    "Hi, we've never met, but I have this fabuous never fail betting system..."

    "Dr McHale will give us a post-mortem of his model's World Cup performance next week."

    From his sunlounger in the Caribbean given he's just won big using his "sure fire guaranteed betting system" :)

    What do you mean he didn't put any money on it!!!!

  6. Steve Adams

    Shhhhh don't tell Andrew...

    ... Orlowski because he doesn't believe in computer modelling ;-)

    Nice to see someone at El Reg isn't so dismissive and appears to understand that modelling *can* be a useful tool in helping to understand probabilities of certain outcomes - as opposed to writing it off as a method because it's not able to output total accuracy and truth.

    Hoping for a decent match - may the best team win :-)

  7. ChrisInBelgium
    Thumb Down

    A fitting end

    ... to this World Cup would be that both teams would be declared as losers! This has been the year of the extremely annoying vuvuzela, the boring-to-tears matches and the incapable-to-get-anything right refereeing.

    What a disgrace. All I would need now is for Holland to become the world champion to make sure I'd never watch football again.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: A fitting end

      "This has been the year of the extremely annoying vuvuzela"

      ..annoying? No it's not - it drowns out the pundits (who between them have a lower IQ than the octopus)

      "...the boring-to-tears matches..."

      ...again, shoot the pundits and they won't be quite so bad.

  8. Anonymous Cowardess


    That's just like saying "analysing the stats doesn't really give us any results on who will win". Even without doing advanced math Holland starts with a 50 % chance of winning.

    And don't insult our Paul. He predicts the future, he doesn't make it. But that's the problem with the superstitious: First they want a prediction and then they blame the oracle.

  9. Woodgar

    Spain to win!

    Don't diss the 'puss!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully Holland will win

    For the simple reason that, for my sins, I have to live in Spain and, if Spain win the locals will be insuferable. Plus, I won't be able to sleep for the noise of car horns and fireworks, the noise from the semis is still ringing in my ears. There will be constant playing of "We Are The Champions". For the next six months you won't be able to turn on the TV without seeing any of the goals Spain scored, although even to me that would be an improvement on the normal programmes which I only catch before the TV switches over to the media player. There is the danger of hearing that commentator who must be every womans dream, the one that can breathe through his hears and scream goooooaalll...... for about three hours at full volume. And the absolute worse thing is that they will want to talk to me about football.

    No, far better that Spain lose and I get a bit of peace and quiet and none of them will mention football, you'd hardly know there'd been a game.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      move... Catalunya, then. "Wot world cup?" is the attitude here. OTOH when Barsa beat Real Madrid, it's car horns and fireworks all the way...

      PS about the octopus: maybe he just likes red and yellow?

  11. Mike 140

    but then again ....

    An alternative mathematical view from

  12. J 3


    I still think the cephalopod knows better. Maybe thinking in base 8 gives him better insight.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Hm...

      "I still think the cephalopod knows better. Maybe thinking in base 8 gives him better insight."

      I agree. Base 8 might also help him with certain computational problems.

      The octopus could also probably make more sensible comments than some of the posters here on El Reg!

  13. Alan Dougherty
    Thumb Up

    An orange 11th July?

    Holland had better bloody win.. I stuck a tenner on them after reading the first article.. got good odds too.


  14. fandom

    Swiss match

    The match Spain lost against the swiss is significant as the referee of that match is going to be the one in the final. He only messed that match completrly so he, no doubt, deserves a chance to do it again.

    For the AC:13:40: Hey, what kind of british in Spain are you if you don't get drunk and join the winning party, you are going to give your compatroits a godd rep if you keep it up.

  15. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Bugger the octopus, listen to the parakeet..(*)

    According to the parakeet, the Dutch will win:

    (*) Side note: sorry, I have no idea how you would bugger an octopus, and I'm actively not interested in the answer..

    All I know is that it's likely to be a very interesting match. I'm already happy the Germans didn't make it, so the only way is up (**)

    (**) That too has nothing to do with buggering an octopus. Enough already, focus!

  16. Etrien Dautre

    Red And/Or Yellow?

    C'mon, just a handy version of Ctulhu (-:

    "First they want a prediction and then they blame the oracle" - Anonymous Cowardess, Fri 9 1340

    a) football, 22 players. What's the name of the Game in which 22.. .. hmm, also matter?

    b) the language community of Spain is [lazy to google] times larger than of Holland;

    c) Spanish EMP media is more faithful to football, as also as they're of more ecstatic kind (sorry Holland, uber alles);

    d) we have Paul nowadays.

    Here we have a mathematic 50-50 in traditional numbers, but the Cup is on the Spanish side because of points "b" and "c", according to the rules of the Game. The [!probable] luck of Holland is the single card amongst all those yellow ones.

    Looks real, but why don't we see China on the finals then? Is it point "c" that works out some definite predictions for the buckmakers? For noone would ever consider that this cold-blooded brachyocephalothingamajiggerypod mentioned in "d" knows anything about Vernadsky @ , please let Paul explore his photo (-;


  17. Etrien Dautre

    added to previous

    Results of the poll in Russia, dated by the beginning of July:

    "Each 12th Russian believes their team will win the Cup in South-African World championship in 2010". I'd mention that again, it wasn't the Fool's day.

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  19. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Hup Holland Hup!

    One more game, boys.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

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