The French (& our #Analytics) Have it!

By Zalak Bhavsar - July 16, 2018

The goal was never to brag. What to do when the world sides with the underdog and technology with the erstwhile world champion? That was the dilemma.
Our team ran Predictive #Analytics on the Games, detailed here in this blog: 'France or Croatia – Who’s taking the World Cup home?' by our Chief Growth Hacker & Product Evangelist, Avadhoot Revankar, which predicted that Croatia would go down against France with a score of FR-CRO: 2-1.

The fun thing is, analytics found itself in interesting company, pitted against such prediction heavyweights as oracle animals – Achilles the cat which was honoured with the title of the official oracle, a psychic octopus, Buyan the bear, Zabiyaka the goat, and another bear called Yakov. The cute ones all sided with analytics, none standing for Croatia.

So, it wasn't easy picking sides. Croatia is a small country of some 42 lakh people. Kolkata, with its population of 45 lakh probably has as many footie fans. There’s a good chance you, dear reader, can’t even locate it on the map. From fighting off Nigeria in Group D to sending footballing giant Argentina home with a 3-0 win, then ousting the amazing Iceland 2-1, to a penalty win against Denmark and later against home team Russia, they continued their unbeaten rise to defeat England in the semis to land their first ever world cup final. This team may not have been a champion but they played like champions, and indefatigably so.

That lasted until the French took it in a breathlessly exciting match. As it so happens, one expects a lot of defensive play marking the World Cup final unless the Argentinians or Brazilians are in it but this one didn’t let you settle into your chairs. Phenomenal goals by Pogba and Mbappe just lifted the game. And Mandzukic’s own goal didn't help Croatia.

All said & done, the French won the match 4-2 after a 20-year wait. Do note that Analytics got it right once again, identifying Kylian Mbappe as the most promising player on the French side & Ivan Rakitic of Croatia as the key to curbing France’s attack. To be sure, the 19-year-old Mbappe entered a super-exclusive club of just ONE: Only Pele before him has been the youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup final. Pele was 17 when he scored two goals in 1958 against Sweden. The second goal from the French side came from Griezmann, again identified by the RFM model cited before.

However, we spotted this exchange between Martech evangelist Srinivas Jain, Executive Director & CMO, SBIMF, and Surendra Baliga, and it piqued our interest.

As we can see, , the prediction held good until half-time: France V Croatia were 2-1 until the pitch invaders… As fans of football and Analytics and the underdog, there was a feeling of being torn. French players’ game was so strong that you wanted them to win, and then Croatia played so beautifully, while they had had very little time to rest after their last match against England that you wanted them to win. To top it all, analytics that had predicted a 2-1 win for France. So you wanted Analytics to win.

Turns out, the outcome was purrrr-fect as it could be. FR won. 4-2 win ensured the 2-1 ratio – a little math never hurt anyone! Analytics won. And Croats won hearts worldwide. This was a clear win-win-win.

Totally love this shot of the French President Emmanuel Macron celebrating it:

Finally, on a topic totally unrelated, we got this perfectly apt creative reconstruction of American President Donald Trump’s visit to England:

Next time the Queen of England inspects the Royal Guard of Honour with Donald Trump, we'd want to give Analytics a try 🙂

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