Soccer IQ

By: Juan Mesa

The World Cup is less than two months away. Brackets are around and sometimes money is involved, either in the form of sweepstake prizes or betting pools. Intuition and basic knowledge of the sport usually help in filling them out, but how about some statistical insight to score again and again?

Look no further than Squawka—both a webpage and an iPhone app that will increase your soccer IQ by a quotient of... well, a lot.

Although the website does not feature stats for national teams—they do have them for 13 pro leagues, including Europe’s top five, México and the MLS—it provides data for each active player, so you can use them to produce a very scientific World Cup bracket.

If you’re under pressure to fill your entry for that office pool and don’t know where to start, you should first look at the main players on every national team, and compare goals scored, shots and pass accuracy, chances created, duels won and defensive actions. For goalkeepers, there are clean sheets, saves and even the distribution length of their goal kicks. But Squawka’s best feature by far is the Comparison Matrix between players, for it can give you a serious idea of what every potential World Cup match would look like. For example, you can predict the success of Cristiano Ronaldo against German, American and Ghanaian defenders in Group G of the competition.

We know what’s in your head: how accurate are Squawka’s predictions? Suffice it to say that stats are licensed by Opta, one of the leading sports data companies in the world. So pretty solid, if you ask us.

Now, the right thing for you to do would be to share that World Cup office pool prize money with us.

We’ll take 10%, thank you very much.

Squawka, available now on the web and for iPhone

Juan Mesa is a freelance writer based in New York City. He covers soccer and Latin music. When he's not writing, you can find him watching soccer games, talking about soccer or collecting soccer memorabilia. To relax, he plays house music vinyls.