Artificial intelligence

World Cup Predictions: How Many Matches Did Our AI Score? | News World Cup Qatar 2022

The 2022 World Cup produced incredible football.

At the start of the tournament, Al Jazeera presented Kashefour artificial intelligence (AI) robot, to calculate the numbers and predict the results of each game.

After each day of action, Kashef downloaded the day’s data and compared it to more than 200 metrics, including number of wins, goals scored and FIFA rankings, of matches played over the last century, totaling over 100,000 records, to see who was more likely to win the next day.

Al Jazeera has developed an AI match prediction game for the 2022 World Cup [Al Jazeera]

Kashef Pre-Tournament Predictions

The group stages from November 20 to December 2 weren’t very nice to Kashefwho erred on the side of caution and foresaw none of the many major upheavals.

The good news for us sentient beings is that every time Kashef gets it wrong, we’re treated to a feast of World Cup magic, including Saudi Arabia superb 2-1 victory over Argentina, from Morocco Belgium lost 2-0 and Tunisia 1-0 win against 2018 champions France.

At the start of the tournament, Kashef predicted that five-time winners Brazil would beat Argentina in the semi-finals and face France on December 18.

The elimination table below shows who Kashef had reached the round of 16 at the start of the tournament.

Kashef INTERACTIVE Predictor - November 21
Screenshot of Kashef’s predictions from November 20, 2022 [Al Jazeera]

The elimination table below shows the actual World Cup results.

Kashef INTERACTIVE December 18
Screenshot of Kashef’s predictions from December 18, 2022 [Al Jazeera]

Correctly predicts two out of three matches

Like all AI engines, Kashef would generate a probability of a particular team winning, drawing, or losing a match.

To calculate these probabilities, we ran the data through Google Cloud Vertex AI, which produces state-of-the-art models – adopting Google Brain – that use Efficient Neural Architecture Search (ENAS) to find the best prediction model. The data pipeline is built with GCP-BigQuery.

Based on our simulations for the 2014 and 2018 World Cup tournaments, Kashef was around 71% accurate, with an area under the curve (AUC) of around 67%.

To put that into perspective, the random chance of a knockout match is 50% – half the time a team will win and half the time they will lose. During the group stage, correctly predicting a random outcome is split between three choices – a win, a draw, and a loss – with a 33% chance each.

Predicting match results is not easy. External factors, such as the morale of the team or the physical condition of the players, make a big difference in how the match unfolds.

In the quarter-finals, Kashef failed in 50% of the games, expecting Brazil to go to the final, when he was also convinced that Portugal beat Morocco.

In the semi-finals, Kashef was 100% accurate, while ultimately he didn’t predict Argentina would win the title.

INTERACTIVE Kashef 67 percent
(Al Jazeera)

Who can better predict a football match?

Behind the captivating lure of the footballing spectacle, an existential battle was taking place in the offices of Al Jazeera.

The question: Who can better predict a football match? Kashef, our beloved AI robot, or humans? Throughout the tournament, Al Jazeera conducted a daily poll on our sports Twitter Account.

How has Kashef fared in the last four matches?

Argentina vs France (Final)

Kashef’s prediction: France win – Incorrect

Al Jazeera poll: Argentina win – To correct

Final result: Argentina 4-2 (penalties) France

Kashef’s final prediction with just 1% separating Argentina and France [Al Jazeera]

Croatia vs Morocco (third place playoff)

Kashef’s prediction: Croatia win – To correct

Al Jazeera poll: Morocco victory – Incorrect

Final result: Croatia 2-1 Morocco

(Al Jazeera)

France vs Morocco (semi-final)

Kashef’s prediction: France win – To correct

Al Jazeera poll: Morocco victory – Incorrect

Final result: France 2-0 Morocco

(Al Jazeera)

Argentina vs Croatia (semi-final)

Kashef’s prediction: Argentina win – To correct

Al Jazeera poll: Argentina win – To correct

Final result: Argentina 3-0 Croatia

(Al Jazeera)

See Kashef’s predictions during the quarterfinal matches.

How much money did each team receive?

According to Fifathe total prize money for the 32 nations participating in the 2022 World Cup was $440 million.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Champions: $42 million
  • Finalists: $30 million
  • Third place: $27
  • Fourth place: $25 million
  • 5th-8th place: $68 million ($17 million per team)
  • 9th-16th place: $104 million ($13 million per team)
  • 17th-32nd place: $144 million ($9 million per team)

Additionally, each team reportedly received $1.5 million before the competition to cover preparation costs.

(Al Jazeera)


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