A new ranking has crunched the numbers to reveal the most thrilling group matches at the FIFA World Cup Qatar – based on the Expected Goals (xG) metric.
The xG metric is widely used within football analytics to determine the quality of chances that each side has created and conceded – it is an insightful tool to measure team performance regardless of scorelines.
Using this metric, football analysts at Oddspedia have calculated that Germany vs Japan is the top game not to miss – with an xG score of 5.25. Germany is the favorite to win the game, but with ongoing defensive issues and senior players like Mats Hummels missing from the squad, could Japan cause an upset with their aggressive press?
Group E’s Spain vs Germany is the second game that fans shouldn’t miss – with an xG score of 4.86. Punters should keep a close eye on the battle between established young talents Jamal Musiala and Pedri who will play a key role in creating plenty of chances for both sides as they’re set to turn out in their first World Cups. This is a tight match, with bookmarkers offering odds of 1.6/1 for Spain to win and 1.8/1 for Germany.
Coming in third is the match between Senegal and Netherlands which has an xG of 4.56. Despite a record number of appearances at the tournament, the Dutch team has never been crowned champions. Senegal will need to dig deep to get a result against the Oranje, with national icon Sadio Mane potentially missing the start of the tournament after an injury scare while playing for club side Bayern Munich.
Top 20 most exciting games in group stage according to xG
|Group E||Germany vs Japan||5.25|
|Group E||Spain vs Germany||4.86|
|Group A||Senegal vs Netherlands||4.56|
|Group A||Ecuador vs Netherlands||4.48|
|Group F||Belgium vs Croatia||4.33|
|Group F||Canada vs Croatia||4.21|
|Group A||Qatar vs Netherlands||4.20|
|Group H||Portugal vs Korea Republic||4.11|
|Group F||Morocco vs Croatia||4.09|
|Group E||Spain vs Japan||3.97|
|Group G||Brazil vs Serbia||3.96|
|Group E||Germany vs Costa Rica||3.91|
|Group F||Belgium vs Canada||3.84|
|Group H||Portugal vs Uruguay||3.78|
|Group G||Serbia vs Switzerland||3.74|
|Group G||Serbia vs Cameroon||3.74|
|Group F||Belgium vs Morocco||3.72|
|Group G||Brazil vs Switzerland||3.72|
|Group G||Brazil vs Cameroon||3.72|
|Group B||England vs Wales||3.67|
England just manages to sneak into the top 20 with their game against Wales, which has an xG score of 3.67 – a game that England is expected to win.
England will need to be wary of Gareth Bale, who could spoil the party coming off the back of his dramatic late equalizer in the MLS Cup Final, which saw LAFC eventually win on penalties.
Featured Image: FIFA