So How Did EA’s FIFA 18’s World Cup Predictions Do? Well…
Now that the games are complete and a champion has been crowned, we take a look at how EA’s FIFA 18’s World Cup predictions panned out.
It’s become a common occurrence for Electronic Arts to use its sports titles as simulators in order to pick who they think will win the biggest sporting events. This year’s World Cup is no different.
But typically it’s a predict it and forget it kind of thing. EA announces the results, fans of teams that are picked to lose swear that game in question is broken, and then we all move on. This year, however, with the World Cup just a few days removed, we went back and looked at how the simulation did.
The predictions are done for fun, but there’s also an element of real simulation to it. EA Sports spends a lot of time and effort on rating its players and creating realistic stats for all of its sports titles. Teams are even designed to mimic their real-world counterparts. You shouldn’t take it too seriously, but it is interesting to revisit the earlier picks now that the real event has concluded.
So looking back at the 2018 World Cup, FIFA 18 got a lot of things right, and a lot… well, not so right.
For reference, in the real World Cup that concluded on Sunday, July 15, France defeated Croatia to win their second championship. Les Bleus made it to the finals after beating Belgium, while Croatia survived three consecutive games in extra time (and two shootouts), defeating England in the semifinals to advance.
The simulation had it a bit different. To begin with, FIFA 18 had Brazil beating Germany in the finals. Neither actually made it that far though – In one of the bigger upsets in recent World Cup history, Germany was shocked during the group stage and didn’t advance to the knockout round. Of EA’s final four teams – France, Brazil, Portugal, and Germany – only France was correct.
Going back a bit further, FIFA 18 got a few other picks wrong going into the group stage. It had Iceland and Saudi Arabia advance, neither of which did (although both were considered longshots). EA’s game didn’t have much love for the Russians either (not surprising given that they entered the tournament the lowest ranked team in the field). In the real World Cup, however, Russia advanced to the quarterfinals and very nearly went further.
Beyond that, the game was fairly close, at least in picking who advanced. It missed on a few, like choosing Poland and Australia to advance to the knockout stage (neither made it) while not picking Sweden or Japan, but the rest were close – at least until the quarterfinals. Of the eight teams FIFA 18 picked, only four made it that far (France, Brazil, Belgium, and England).
None of this should be taken too seriously, but it is interesting to see how things played out. This year’s World Cup may also have been a bad event to compare to a simulation, given that it was one of the most unexpected Cups in years, full of upsets and shocks. So if there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s probably that you shouldn’t put money on a video game simulation.