Collecting data from the Women’s Football World Cup 2019

I am delighted there are so many ways to collect data from this year’s Women’s World Cup football tournament (FIFA link). I have data going back to the 2011 Tournament (link). These are shared on my blog and on Google Sheets for ease of access. I have posted some early tweets on Twitter too (link) and I have a GitHub repository (link). I am monitoring the # tag #FIFAWWC (link).

Overnight, I started searching for other links to the data.

I noticed a feed from the FAW Analysis Office in Newport announcing work on their analysis of the Tournament (link). The same night, I heard of WomensFootyStat (link) and their use of Opta data to provide “shotmaps, xG timeline, and pass maps for now. Tweeting manually for now but hoping to automate soon and get them out straight after each game”. Some weeks earlier, I heard about the StatsBomb Open Data project and the availability of data on their GitHub account (link). Ron Smith (link) and Ben Mayhew (link) are tweeting regularly.

I am trying to learn more about R and RStudio during this World Cup and have started searching for other papers on this topic. I was delighted to find a post on RBloggers by Achim Zeileis (link) that referred in detail to a paper by Andreas Groll and coplleagues’  (2019) paper “Hybrid Machine Learning Forecasts for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019”, arXiv:1906.01131, E-Print Archive (link).

In their paper, their abstract notes that they combine:

two different ranking methods together with several other predictors in a joint random forest approach for the scores of soccer matches. The first ranking method is based on the bookmaker consensus, the second ranking method estimates adequate ability parameters that reflect the current strength of the teams best. The proposed combined approach is then applied to the data from the two previous FIFA Women’s World Cups 2011 and 2015. Finally, based on the resulting estimates, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 is simulated repeatedly and winning probabilities are obtained for all teams. The model clearly favors the defending champion USA before the host France.

I need to look up this paper in more detail now and hope to find lots more connections and open sharing, including the Hope Floats blog (link) that is collecting as many voices as it can about the World Cup in sixty days. I will be keeping an eye on what Simon Gleave is doing too (link).

Microcontent: a Common Microcredential Framework

 A picture of waves from unspash.

The European MOOC Consortium has launched a Common Microcredential Framework to create portable credentials for lifelong learners (link).

I see this move as an important step in the creation of portable international credentials that are planned to meet the needs of lifelong learners, wherever they are (link).

I note that “The move comes in response to demand from learners to develop new knowledge, skills and competencies from shorter, recognised and quality-assured courses, which can also be used to earn traditional tertiary qualifications” (link).

One of the speakers at the launch was Mark Lester. He observed “The world of work is changing fast and the world of learning is changing with it. As the forces of technological innovation drive change at an unprecedented rate, people will need to upskill and re-skill throughout their lives and develop higher order competencies that will underpin a successful career. Leaving work for long periods of time to earn a traditional qualification will be less applicable in this new world and a new solution is needed from the education sector to meet this growing need” (link).

I do think the availability of learning opportunities that are right for the learner is vital to an age in which what is to be skillful and relevant is constantly being redefined. I see these opportunities as unconstrained by chronology or geography. Smallness makes for very powerful, portable credentials.

Photo Credit

Viktor Jakovlev on Unsplash


A view of Moscow

A couple of days ago, Maha Bali wrote about connecting virtually (link). I was very interested in the ways she explored personal and continuing learning in her post.

Part of her experience was ‘attending’ conferences through the presence of others. I see this as vital in a world where there are so many conferences with a variety of registration, travel and subsistence costs. Partnering someone remotely overcomes the difficulties of cost and distance.

It does nor replace attendance. I am mindful that many people gain immense satisfaction from being present and part of “the hallway and social conversation at the conference”.

However, connecting virtually does offer the possibility of connection in a different kind of way. It is an issue I have been thinking about a great deal.

This Summer, in July, I am facilitating an unmeeting and (un)hack in Moscow with Malte Siegle, Martin Lames and Alexander Danilov prior to the Symposium of the International Association of Computer Science in Sport (link). We have a tentative program to explore data from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals and prospecting to Qatar in 2022:

Saturday: 6 July

18:00 PM: Arrival, Registration and Brainstorming

Start of hacking, working and analysing.

Sunday: 7 July

09:00 AM: Morning coffee and recap of Saturday

09:30 AM: Networking and brainstorming

10:00 AM: Hacking, working and analysing

Noon: Lunch

13:00 PM: Hacking, working and analysing

16:00 PM: Break out session

17:00 PM: Elevator pitch presentations of ideas (3 slides, 3 minutes per group).

18:00 PM: Announcement of winners and on to the opening reception of IACCS conference.

This is a framework that we can adapt. Throughout the process, I have been aware that not everyone can attend. There are lots of other opportunities around the world including Seattle and Paris.

I am travelling from Australia to Moscow for the (un)meet and (un)hack. I do take Maha’s point strongly that those who are attending in person can partner with those not there. I wondered if we might connect in real or lapsed time through social media and online platforms. I am going to use Twitter (link), Mastodon (link) and GitHub (link) as part of my aim to connect. I will be using the hashtag #iacss19connect to support this remote sharing.

Photo Credit

Tom Grimbert (@tomgrimbert) on Unsplash