By Power BI Team

In this Post

The World Cup through the lens of technology

The Dataset

Next Week

Instructions: Try Power BI Q&A yourself

The World Cup through the lens of technology

The 2014 World Cup starts today in Brazil, with the host country kicking off against Croatia in what should be the biggest sporting event in history. The World Cup is generally the largest watched and talked about event whenever it comes around every four year, but this one is special. This year, many people around the world have the ability to interact with the World Cup like never before. Twitter, Facebook, live streaming, cheaper access to TV and internet allow people to participate by sharing their thoughts and overall roller coaster journey of emotions as they see their favorite team(s) challenge for the most coveted trophy in the world.

Not only has technology improved to allow people to share through social media and watch games through various channels, but it has also allowed for richer insights into the data itself. Business intelligence, or more plainly, data analysis has improved greatly in 4 years. With that, Microsoft proudly introduced PowerBI Q&A back February 2014, a natural language query experience which some of you may or may not be familiar with. Rather than trying to explain what it does through lengthy gibberish, let’s follow Q&A through its emotional roller coaster as it works to uncover meaningful insight about players, teams, coaches, referees, and everything in between.

What we hope to find:

  • Players who have scored the most goals
  • Which team has scored the most goals in the second half
  • Which manager has won the most
  • Which teams win when they have more fouls then their opponent? Does that team win frequently by fouling a lot
  • What are the records for each team when a certain referee has officiated their game
  • How well does Brazil do against Argentina
  • Anything and everything statistical about the world cup
  • Let’s have fun with this!

    The Dataset

    Our Dataset: Historical data from the 1990-2010 World Cup. Provided by Opta Sports Ltd.

    We have data from the 1990-2010 world cups ranging from player statistics, team statistics, managers, and referees, to which stadium each game was played in and its attendance. Let’s go through a Q&A experience and answer some questions about world cup statistics people will have.

    Make sure to go through the guided preview first to see what kind of questions and visuals we can show through Q&A.


  • brazil players in 2010
  • brazil defenders in 2010
  • daniel alves da Silva total tackles by game in 2010
  • Teams

  • teams in the 2010 world cup
  • which team has played in the most world cups
  • which team has won the most world cups
  • which team has played the most games
  • Bookings

  • Show time with the most bookings as line chart
  • stadiums with the most bookings
  • Which team has received the most cards for dissent
  • Goals

  • show games with greater than or equal to 4 goals and more than 5 bookings
  • which player has the most goals
  • which player has the most goals for Germany
  • which player has the most goals in the firsthalf
  • who scored the most goals in 2010
  • Substitutions

  • how many substitutions in 2010 by manager
  • subs in 2010 final
  • Awards

  • 1998 awards
  • France awards
  • Who won golden boot in 2006
  • Golden ball
  • Managers

  • who coached the USA team in 2010
  • Germany managers by year
  • Referees

  • number of bookings by referee in 2010
  • referees that called finals and which game and year
  • Next Week

    We will be adding more statistics for teams and players, as well as ways to talk about those statistics. (ex. An aggressive team is a team that fouls a lot. A reckless team is a team that fouls a lot and gets a lot of bookings.) If there are certain statistics that you really want to see, post a comment below. Another great feature of Q&A is that we know what questions you are asking that we aren’t answering correctly. So each week, check back to see if those questions that weren’t previously working are working now. This perfectly highlights the communication between a model creator and the end user. Sometimes Q&A won’t get every answer correct, but we can identify which ones aren’t working and ensure that they do.

    If there are excitements and frustrations you want to express, please leave a comment below.

    Instructions: Try Power BI Q&A yourself

    You can go now to and start playing with our World Cup model right away

    Let us show you how Q&A works: Type a question and get your answer as an interactive chart. That’s it. No more instructions necessary to start.

    As you start this experience, we have predefined a few questions in the model for you to try out.

    For example: which player scored the most unassisted goals per world cup?

    At any point in time you can stop or pause the predefined questions by going to the Q&A bar or clicking the pause button when you hover over the answer

    Also, while a question is being typed (by you or by our preloaded questions) you also get recommendations on different types of questions you can ask based on the data behind the model and what is being typed.

    You can modify the type of visualization being used by clicking on the right side menu. This menu also includes filters and the fields available in the model, highlighting the ones being used in the current visualization.

    For example, our predefined questions includes number of substitutions by team in 2010

    Select for example ‘map’ and you get fouls by country in a map instead of a scatterplot.

    Then click on Fields and select ‘fouls per game’. Now you have the average fouls per game for each team

    General Tips:

  • Currently, we are adding nicknames/shorter names for players. For now, you will have to type in a player’s full name. Luckily, Q&A autocomplete very well so if you are looking for a certain player but don’t know the full name, start typing in the first name of that player and hit “tab” when autocomplete has found the player you want. (ex. Typing in Daniel will let you find Daniel Alves….a Brazilian defender)
  • If one of you questions brings back an almost correct answer, it might not seem like the “best” experience. Q&A should magically work on any type of question. However, Natural language processing is still in its early stages as a technology, and we are working on improving it every month (beauty of being a cloud-based SaaS…monthly iterations). Use the filter/field panes to *tweak* your result.
  • We are currently working on adding synonyms for the ways you talk about certain things. For now, if you want to talk about these following terms, you have to use the words as is, and can’t use a variation (yet):
  • Firsthalf
  • Secondhalf
  • ExtraFirstHalf
  • ExtraSecondHalf
  • ShootOut
  • Semi-finals
  • Quarter-finals
  • Group A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H (two spaces needed inbetween group and the letter)
  • 3rd and 4th Place
  • Round of 16
  • Don’t forget that we have another great Q&A demo at using our classic Olympics dataset. Feel free to play around with too using the same features that we described on this post.

    Finally, we’ll be doing an open demos of the World Cup Q&A today, 5 PM at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue Square WA. If you happen to live in the area, stop by to experience this Q&A experience in the store with our Power BI experts.

    Happy World Cup and Q&A-ing with Power BI

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