Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 993–998 | Cite as

A ratings based Poisson model for World Cup soccer simulation

Technical Note


In this paper a method is suggested for predicting the distribution of scores in international soccer matches, treating each team’s goals scored as independent Poisson variables dependent on the Fédération Intemationale de Football Association (FIFA) rating of each team, and the match venue. The results of a Poisson regression to estimate parameters for this model were used to simulate matches played during the 1998 World Cup tournament. For the model to be a more effective predictor, some manual adjustments must be made to the ratings data. The predictions of the model were placed on a web page to create interest in applications of mathematics, and proved popular with the general public.


sports stochastic processes simulation soccer 


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Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swinburne UniversityHawthornAustralia

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