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Final Prediction

Before I begin I’ll just clarify two things:
1) Yes Portugal have had an easy run to the finals and have been lucky but their consistency in numbers through the group stages and the knockout rounds shows that they have enough quality to create chances and prevent the opposition from getting through.
2) France’s only real challenge was against the Germans, but even then they were only playing on the counter through the flanks to a very nullified back four and so they haven’t exactly been “tested” on the attacking front yet.

OKAY, so as always I’ll try to give an unbiased prediction of who I think will win and why, but as we saw last week I’m far from good at this. Anyhow, this is the last game of the tournament and there’s a good 50% chance I’ll get this right.

TTSF: Time to Shoot For
TTSA: Time to Shoot Against
xGF: Expected Goals For
xGA: Expected Goals Against
xGF/SF: Expected Goals For per Shot For
xGA/SA: Expected Goals Against per Shot Against

Portugal vs. France

Average Possession

            TTSF 

            TTSA

           xGF

            xGA

                 xGF/SF

          xGA/SA

Portugal

53.4%

153.1

264.9

9.5

4.5

0.084

0.079

France

53.8%

164.4

253.7

9.6

4.2

0.091

0.071

It’s not hard to tell why they’re the finalists. Both have very high xG, similar average possession, and take around the same time to shoot. What this means is that both Portugal and France have consistently created good goalscoring chances throughout the tournament; and being the finalists, it is evident that they have capitalized and made use of what they have been presented with.
Neither team has faced a really good team yet (exception being Germany), which is why it is tough to tell who will win. Portugal have implemented this diamond formation of sorts where the central midfielders offer less going forward but are used more as defenders to recycle the ball in midfield. Adrien Silva plays in that centre mid role but he is there to dominate territory and regain possession and give it off to Joao Mario or Renato Sanches. The two are not exactly wingers in this formation, but they play almost as wide attacking mids carrying the ball to Nani and Ronaldo. The width is provided by their full backs in this system, which was made evident in their game against Wales.

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Adrien Silva and Danilo Pereira rarely connect with attackers, the attacking movement is carried by the fullbacks past the midfield.

France, on the other hand have developed a finally functioning system where Griezmann plays just off Giroud. What helps in this is that Griezmann’s willingness to track back and help out in defence is actually utilized. Giroud stays a little bit uninvolved, but because the forward players are linking up better in this system, he is able to do what a true #9 does; which is to stay and wait for his chances.

France in the knockouts vs. France in the group stages.
France in the knockouts vs. France in the group stages.

Both teams set up very nicely in their own ways, they both have solid defences and are good at going forward. It looks a really even game to me, one that will probably extend into extra time.  So I predict that the game will end 1-1 (or at least tied) after 90 minutes, and will be forced into extra time. And after that I don’t know what will happen but it will be good to watch!

Intangibles to consider:
– Ronaldo
– France having HFA (home field advantage, and the effect of home field is measurable it’s just I don’t know enough to factor that into this article so for the moment it’s classified as an intangible)
– It’s a final game, quite literally anything can happen with so much on the line

A big thank you to everyone who has followed this so far, sorry about all the inconsistencies in formatting but I’ll fix it soon enough. Let me know what type of things you want me to write about in this coming season.


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https://twitter.com/Yatin_Kapur

More on TTS: https://deepxg.com/2016/04/05/time-to-shot/
xG data: https://twitter.com/MC_of_A
Passing maps: https://twitter.com/11tegen11

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