Argentina can become most efficient World Cup winners ever

11 July 2014

If Argentina somehow manage to arm themselves against a German Blitzkrieg and succeed in winning their third World Cup trophy, they will most probably become the most efficient World Cup winners to date.

How to measure efficiency?

An efficient football team's primary purpose in a game should be to win it, that makes sense. So the number of games won should definitely be taken into consideration. On the other hand, another part of efficiency is to maximize result while minimizing effort. We know that in football a lot of effort goes into scoring goals. From that perspective it is reasonable to assume that a football team which has won more games with fewer goals have played more efficiently.

Based on those premises, I propose a Simplified Football Efficiency Coefficient (SFEC) defined as:

% of games won divided by average goals scored per game

Optimal efficiency (1) would then be achieved by winning all games 1-0.

Argentina's efficiency

As the following graph shows, if Argentina get past Germany, they are about to become the most efficient World Cup winners in history:

After six games in the 2014 World Cup they are still on the same level with the winners of the last World Cup, Spain, but if they win the final against Germany with the most efficient of scores, 1-0, their SFEC would rise to 0.78. Better yet, if they keep score low to 0-0 and beat Germany on penalties, they achieve an impressive SFEC of 0.88. That way they will also join Spain in the club of World Cup winners with the least number of goals scored. Argentina has scored 8 so far, which proved enough for Spain to win the trophy in 2010.

Is the SFEC already in need of revision?

Neuer will probably not let it happen but if Argentina wins the World Cup final scoring two goals or more, Spain will remain the most efficient World Cup winners to date. That would be a pity because shouldn't the most efficient world champions at least have won all of their tournament games? Spain didn't in 2010: they won some very efficient 1-0 games but they lost their first game to Switzerland (another efficient 1-0).

It is a bit soon to revise my just invented Simplified Football Efficiency Coefficient, but hopefully Argentina will help us forget about its flaws at least until the next World Cup.

¡Vamos Argentina!