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The World Cup: No Interest in Football Required

Let us begin this blog about football by saying that we know nothing about football. Wine is our specialist area. But, like many people, our interest in football ignites roughly every four years, when we become interested in the so-called Beautiful Game. To our own surprise, we start saying things like “that was clearly offside!”, “the ref’s blind!” and “we woz robbed!” So, like a dog at a picnic or a toddler in a sandpit, we are diving in enthusiastically with our own wine-based World Cup predictions, giving you the chance to win a £50 Oddbins gift card. But we’re not just predicting winners, we’re predicting actual scores. Are we mental? Possibly. Is that a good thing? Hell yeah!

We say ‘so-called Beautiful Game’ because, though we’re happy to revel in the carnival-esque spirit, we reserve the right to dis Fifa at any stage in this blog. Any organisation that has had a Private Eye special edition devoted to it, is fair game. Anyway, not to get distracted by such (alleged) shenanigans, let’s move swiftly on to the scores…

Oddbins’ World Cup Predictions



But just how did we arrive at said scores?

1. Well, firstly, we gathered all of the footballing geeks and pundits we could find in the Company – namely our Head of Operations and our E-Commerce Manager, Paul and Tony – and asked them to describe the playing styles of the 32 teams. Switzerland, for example, were described as “Dependable and solid but not going to set pulses racing”.

2. We then gave those descriptions (without their associated countries) to Ana (our Buyer) who, sceptical but unable-to-refuse, was asked to select wines to match those descriptions. For example, their “Youthful and green. Promising up front, lacking depth behind” description was matched to Bougrier Muscadet.

3. We then paired the wines as per their World Cup groups and pitted them against each other in a ferocious, wine-stained battle to the death (read: a blind tasting carried out by Oddbins customers).

4. Every wine ‘match’ was then marked as a win, lose or draw by each taster.NB We are limiting ourselves to predicting the first two matches of each group, as we don’t want to hog all the fun… But more of that later.

In the interests of fairness, rather than matching, say Chianti with Italy, and Sancerre with France, we chose to match teams to wines by considering their playing style. Also in the interests of fairness (just call us Solomon m’kay), we limited all the wines they chose to a maximum of £13. This may be a far cry from the ghetto-fabulous, bling-tastic lifestyles of the football playaz, but football is a street sport. It started in the streets and it’s played on scraps of turf by aspirational nippers the world over, so the likes of Krug is out. If our predictions are right, we’ll probably do a victory lap of the office, go to the pub and have something to talk about for the rest of the year. Ana may also do the Samba down Wandsworth High Street. If we predict them all right, we can collect the accumulator bet that our rather amused MD has placed on our predictions, and will be watching the rest of the World Cup from a VIP stand in Brazil. The odds are somewhere north of 1,000,000-1, but still…

We have noticed that some other businesses are coming up with formulas for predicting the World Cup. To be honest, GoldmanSachs’ ‘stochastic model’ based on ‘regression analysis’ makes us want to weep, and PwC’s ‘World Cup Index’ based on ‘econometrics’ well… surely such rigour and pseudo-intellectual prowess could be put to better use? Fifa’s accounting, maybe? Bottom line is, ours is more fun, there’s more wine – and YOU can get involved! Yes indeedy, we are inviting you to predict outcomes for the rest of the Cup for the chance to win a £50 gift card for Oddbins.com… But how? Well, after the first round of fixtures, you can predict any match by…

1. Purchasing a pair of wines that are up against each other (wines and fixtures here)
2. Tasting the wines at home. (This is easier with four friends or relatives).
3. Scoring the wines thus: Each taster decides if they prefer one wine over the other or if it’s a draw. Each person preferring a wine scores a goal for the corresponding team. So if three tasters prefer wine A, one prefers wine B and one has no preference, your score is 3-1 to Wine A. If all 5 tasters don’t have a preference between the wines, your score is 0-0
4. Posting your score (whether it’s 3:2 or 0:0), with a picture of both wines together, on Twitter or Facebook, using @OddbinsWine and #WorldCupWine. To state the bleedin’ obvious, Tweets must be posted before the match.*
5. All correct predictions will win a £50 gift card**
6. We do not accept bribes. Unlike certain members of a Geneva-based ‘not-for-profit organisation’ reportedly. *ReTweets do not count as entries**One prediction is allowed per person, per match

The innovative US football coach Tom Landry once said, “Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it's so incredible, it's unbelievable.” Well, we have just taken it from unbelievable to blooming bonkers: just the way we like it. ‘Til kick off.

This blog was written while drinking: Aurora Sparkling Moscato NV. What can we say? It’s Brazilian, it’s fizzy and it’s summery. It’s basically the World Cup, bottled. Saúde!