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The Neo4j Graph Hack

Over forty members of the San Francisco developer community headed to Thoughtworks’ SF office on July 8 for an unusual task -- hacking the World Cup.

At the GraphHack meetup, attendees used an open dataset (available here) curated by the team behind the Neo4j graph database to provide new insights into soccer stats going back to the 1930s. After a brief introduction to connected data and the Neo4j browser by Developer Evangelist Kenny Bastani, hackers split into teams of 3 to answer questions like which stadiums hosted the most World Cup games and is there a curse on World Cup winners?

To celebrate the culmination of the World Cup, the Neo4j team put together some of their own findings from the graph, coming up with some not-so-well-known facts about the historic event:

1. Revenge is sweet, but can’t always be hurried…

It took 80 years for Mexico to get revenge on France! They lost to France in 1930 but didn’t settle the score with them until 2010.

Revenge is sweet, but can’t always be hurried…


2. … except when it can

In the 1954 tournament in Switzerland, Hungary beat West Germany, but later lost to them in the final.

… except when it can


3. There is a ‘Victor’s Curse’!

The current champions haven’t made it out of the group stages this year, and this is by no means an isolated incident. Indeed, only three world champions have ever made it to the finals in the tournament following their victory:

-Argentina won in 1986 and then got to the final in 1990

-Italy won in 1934 and then got to the final in 1938

-Brazil won in 1958 and then got to the final in 1962.

There is a ‘Victor’s Curse’!

Via i.telegraph.co.uk

4. Top three countries never to lose a match in normal play

If you exclude shoot outs, England’s form is not at all shabby:

-Brazil’s team didn’t lose a match in 1958, 1994, 1970, 2002, 1978, 1986, 1996.

-Second place goes to Italy, which suffered no normal play losses in 1998, 2006, 1938, 1982, 1934, 1990.

-England comes in third, as it never lost a match in 1982, 2006, and, of course 1966.

Top three countries never to lose a match in normal play


5. The bench list

A substitute’s worst fear is never to be called on to play. These five players suffered this ignominy in no less than three tournaments:

-Anthony Seric (Croatia)

-Antonio Juliano (Italy)

-Marek Kusto (Poland)

-Borislav Mikhailov (Bulgaria)

-Francisco Urruticoechea (Spain)

The bench list


The Graph Database SF meetup group is always up for new members. Interested? Head over to our Meetup page.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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