Crushed. Yesterday my picks went 0-4, bringing my overall record to 3-5. That's the kind of risk you face when you bet on spurious correlations!
As for the real research on international competitions, another variable that matters, which does not factor into the Vreelander rule, is home field advantage. It's been shown to matter in the Olympics and in the World Cup. The mechanism is unclear. I've seen some evidence of a lagged effect, so it might be the investment that a country puts into their team when hosting. But it could also have to do with the more intuitive support of the home crowd, being in the right time zone, or just being in a more familiar setting. If so, then it might help Ecuador, Honduras, and Argentina.
But it's still great fun to simply cheer for the countries that have done so much for me and my career. A way to give back some of the love...(although if this pattern keeps up, some of these countries might prefer that I *not* root for them ;-) I'm not going to give up on my countries, so here are today's picks:
France vs. Honduras: Last World Cup I went against France in some key matches because the country has never invited me for a visit. France, you really should invite me to visit at least once! But I did study abroad at the Sorbonne back in 1992... and I've got nothing from Honduras. Don't expect much loyalty in future matches, but for now, vive la France.
Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Easy pick. I've taught a few times down at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM). ¡Vamos Argentina!