5 techie World Cup predictions

Plus a few interesting technologies we’ll see in Brazil.

Campiones, campiones…

Campiones, campiones…

 …ole, ole, ole! Yes, in just a few short weeks, it’ll be World Cup time again, that magical month-or-so-long period every four years when Americans turn into soccer fans. So which teams are going to bow out early, and which are headed for a gala final at the Maracanã? Technology, as usual, could help provide the answer.

Football Manager 2014

Football Manager 2014

Speaking of statistical rigor, the Football Manager series of games is famous for its in-depth research – the developer sends scouts all over the world to rate players, and one English club has actually used it as a scouting tool. This year, the sim predicts that Brazil will win out.

Nate Silver

Nate Silver

Celebrity statistician Nate Silver says that the U.S. team’s initial placement in a tough group – which includes Ghana, Portugal and Germany – is less disastrous than many* think. Silver gives the U.S. a roughly 40% chance of advancing to the knockout stages.

*including the author

Elo rating

Elo rating

Named for Hungarian scientist Arpad Elo and commonly used to rank chess players, Elo rating is a well-known formula for competitive comparison. Enterprise software platform provider MicroStrategy puts Brazil, once again, on top. Next, a few points of general techie interest.

The first kick

The first kick

Thanks to a team from Duke University, a paraplegic young Brazilian will walk onto the pitch in Sao Paulo for the World Cup’s first game (between Brazil and Croatia), using a robotic exoskeleton, and take the first kick of the tournament. Pictured is Miguel Nicolelis, head of the Duke team.

Goal line technology

Goal line technology

Soccer is famously resistant to modernization, but the sport’s governing body has relaxed enough this year to allow, for the first time, goal line technology to be used at the World Cup. A German firm, GoalControl, uses a system involving high-speed cameras placed strategically around the stadium to track whether the ball has completely crossed the goal line.

Staff Writer Jon Gold would like to remind everyone that Arsenal won the FA Cup. Email him at jgold@nww.com and get at him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.