Something a bit different – A Monday World Cup Maths Puzzle

If you didn’t know already there’s an obscure little sporting tournament in Russia which starts this month. It is, of course, the World Cup!

If you’re a bit footy-mad like me, past World Cups bring back glorious memories. Particularly those from your childhood. An abiding memory of mine is of the 2006 World Cup which coincided with my GCSEs. I’m sure I would have done much better in my exams if I had actually done any revision instead of watching all the games. Faced with the dilemma of watching Togo and South Korea duke it out or revise – the answer is obvious!

Which is why I enjoyed Alex Bellos’ Guardian Monday Puzzle so much this week. Every fortnight, Alex sets a maths puzzle on Monday morning, sharing the solution at 5pm. Alex’s puzzles are very good – being both challenging whilst, usually, not taking too long to solve. This week’s puzzle being football related is a bonus (Alex is footy-mad himself having written several books about football in Brazil alongside his mathematics books).

Here’s the puzzle:

If you know only that England beat Tunisia 3-0, can you deduce the score of every other match in the group?

Anyway. Alex also included a post of GCHQ puzzle from Euro 2016 which is a little more challenging:

Being semi-retired, finding the time to do puzzles is very difficult. But I managed to find time to solve the GCHQ one as well (it’s not too long of a puzzle, it took me about 10-15 minutes and I am by no means “fast”!) I couldn’t find a link to the solution so for those who don’t want spoilers skip the next few lines.
You can find the archive of Alex’s puzzles here:
Hope you had a good monday!
All the best,
Young FI Guy

5 thoughts on “Something a bit different – A Monday World Cup Maths Puzzle

  1. Luckily my first World Cup was 1966! Much has been promised since this great event and there is always much hype in the build up each year but sadly we end up disappointed…here we go once more filled with eternal optimism!

    1. Oh wow! It’s been downhill all the way for you! The closest to winning something that I can remember is Euro 96. Which was terribly upsetting as a young’un. Although I’ve very much got used to the disappointment since (from England and my local team)

  2. 1998 because I actually went to France for it. We arrived at our hotel, only to be told we had to transfer to another one as our room had been double-booked with the Paraguayan team (whose goalkeeper was renowned for taking penalties).

    We didn’t get to watch any of England’s matches but were able to witness the iconic Carlos Valderrama playing in his final World Cup. Of course, being in France when the French ended up winning – it was magnifique!

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