Soccer-Argentina had toughest route to World Cup final in 1990 - Gracenote study


AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Dec 9 (Reuters) - If the Netherlands beat Argentina in the World Cup quarter-finals they could face Brazil in the semis but their route to the final will still not be as difficult as Argentina's path in the 1990 edition, a Nielsen's Gracenote analysis has revealed.

Since the introduction of the current format of the knockout stage in 1986, the study showed that Argentina had only a 3% chance of beating Brazil, Yugoslavia and hosts Italy in the 1990 tournament, where they lost to West Germany in the final.

On the other hand, France had the most favourable route to the final when they hosted the 1998 edition, beating Paraguay, Italy and Croatia when they had a 35% chance of advancing to the tournament showdown where they upset Brazil.

But France did have the second-most difficult route in 2006 (8%), followed by West Germany in 1986 (11%), with both teams losing in the final.

"Argentina (2014) and Croatia (2018) were the only runners-up with a more favourable route to the World Cup final than their opponents (Germany and France respectively). In both cases, they were the underdogs in the final," Gracenote said.

"According to Gracenote, Argentina (1986) are the only underdogs in the last nine World Cup finals to go home with the trophy and their chance of 49% to win was the highest of those nine underdogs."

Morocco have already won one game in Qatar as underdogs in the last 16 when they beat Spain on penalties. Along with Croatia, England and the Netherlands, they must all beat two higher-ranked teams to reach the final.

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