# The Birthday Paradox at the World Cup

The Birthday Paradox states that in a group of just 23 people, the odds that two of those people will have the same birthday is 50%. If the size of the group goes up to 70 people, there is more than a 99% chance that two or more of them will share a birthday -and it is likely that more than one pair will have shared birthdays.

But perhaps the best data-set of all to test this on is the football World Cup. There are 32 teams, and each team has a squad of 23 players. If the birthday paradox is true, 50% of the squads should have shared birthdays.

Using the birthdays from Fifa's official squad lists as of Tuesday 10 June, it turns out there are indeed 16 teams with at least one shared birthday - 50% of the total. Five of those teams, in fact, have two pairs of birthdays.

The list is: Spain, Colombia, Switzerland (x2), USA, Iran (x2), France (x2), Argentina (x2), South Korea (x2), Cameroon, Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Russia, Netherlands, Brazil, Honduras and Nigeria.

One of Argentina's pairs, Fernando Gago and Augusto Fernandez, share the same actual birth date - 10 April 1986.

The fact that soccer players were born in the same year is not at all surprising, considering the narrow age range for world-class athletes, but finding the exact results predicted by the Birthday Paradox is rather neat. **BBC magazine has more details.** -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Twice25 - Ghearing family)

Newest 4 CommentsOne of the best podcasts and the source of the article.

Abusive comment hidden.(Show it anyway.)Abusive comment hidden.(Show it anyway.)It would also help if they don't call it a math axiom in bold right at the start, as it most certainly is not an axiom, which in math (and a few other fields) is quite specifically something unprovable but assumed.

Abusive comment hidden.(Show it anyway.)Abusive comment hidden.(Show it anyway.)Commenting is closed.