While it is a common jab at EA Sports that their annual releases of FIFA are nothing but small updates on the game that was presented the year prior, it is clear that they are trying to build a simulation by tracking players and team’s performance with the aim of recreating these things in the game as realistically as possible. Last World Cup we put this to the test, running simulations through the whole 2014 World Cup to see just how good EA Sports is at simulating the games.
The result? FIFA guessed 40% of the games correctly, which I find respectable, as there are a lot of factors numbers can’t account for. But with four long years of experience under their belt, has EA gotten any better at predicting games? Let’s find out!
The rules are as follows:
-We will track the outcome of each game, and the goals scored.
-As FIFA now updates daily, we will use the default team composition. It obviously won’t match 100% what it is at the end of the game as subs come in.
Day 1: Russia VS Saudi Arabia
The opening day of the tournament sees host Russia playing against sacrificial lamb Saudi Arabia. Russia is by no means a world power in the game, but they are playing at home under the watchful eye of Vlad, and Saudi Arabia is a weaker opponent, so this should be an easy win for them.
Russia 0- Saudi Arabia 1
Nawaf Al Abed (85′)
A bold prediction for the first game for FIFA. Saudi Arabia came out to try and ensure a draw. They drew their lines back for most of the match, playing primarily in the own half. Russia was the aggressor for most of the match, with them racking up 7 shots on goal to Saudi Arabia’s 2 attempts. However, attempts don’t count, goals do. In one of their counter attacks, Saudi Arabia managed to get their players behind the now tired Russian defense for a late goal. It was Russia’s game to lose, and without the attacking prowess necessary to break the Saudi defense, lose they did.
How did Cheryshev follow up a beautiful first goal?
By scoring one like this. ? pic.twitter.com/cGq58weTrz
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 14, 2018
Russia 5- Saudi Arabia 0
Yuri Gazinsky (12′)
Denis Cheryshev (43′)(90+1′)
Artem Dzyuba (71′)
Aleksandr Golovin (90+5′)
Russia Brought down the might of the Russian bear on a Saudi Arabian defense that just did not seem how to play the game. There was absolutely no issue with Russia breaking down Saudi Arabia’s defense, becasue the Saudi Arabian defense seemed, at times, to not understand how to cover them at all. Saudi Arabia, Allah bless their souls, did try to attack back to tie the game after Russia scored the opener at the 12 minute mark. All this did is open up the game for the far superior Russian team to hammer them 5-0
Not a good start for FIFA. Not only did it not guess the outcome, but Russia’s demolition of Saudi Arabia was so thorough, it is safe to say it couldn’t have been further off the mark. But, there are still 63 games for EA to prove their predictive power, since it at this time it feels safer to trust an Octopus.