So, 36 games of the 2022 World Cup are in the books: how do you feel right now? Just kidding. I don't care. Well, I do. I really do. I hope you're all well, but for the purpose of today's exercise, I am not at all concerned by what you think your World Cup-related well-being is or what it actually is. No, instead, I am here to tell you what your World Cup-related well-being should be.
What the hell am I talking about? Well, every team comes into every World Cup with different expectations. A handful want to win the whole thing, a bunch of others see knockout-round qualification as the goal with anything beyond that a bonus, and some want to just make it through three matches without getting embarrassed. Then, as an unidentified writer for the television show "Industry" once said, they play three games and joy and misery are dispensed at random.
Bad teams win, good teams lose, horrible teams draw and excellent teams get sent home via byzantine tiebreaker. As NASA astrophysicist Gerald Skinner and data scientist Guy Freeman wrote in their study of randomness at the most famous global quadrennial competition: "Even on very optimistic assumptions, there is less than one chance in three that it was the best team that won the cup."
So, rather than just listing 16 teams that should feel good and 16 others that should feel bad based purely on the results of what Skinner and Freeman conclude to be a "badly designed experiment," I am instead attempting to combine the two and rank all 32 teams by both how they played and what their results were. Welcome to the World Cup Power Rankings -- of "Vibes."