Salary Survey Extra: Weighing in on the World Cup
Posted on
June 6, 2019

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

As the Women's World Cup kicks off in France, we look back to the Men's World Cup action from 2018.

The opening kick of the Women's World Cup will happen tomorrow, so this seems like a good time to report on one of those random questions that we asked last year in the Not So Serious section of the annual Salary Survey. We often try to relate those questions to things that are in the cultural zeitgeist, and we sometimes design a sports-related question.

In 2018, the Men's World Cup was definitely in the cultural zeitgeist and soccer (or football, if you'd rather) is definitely a sport, so hey, two birds with one stone! Certified IT pros are as likely to be sports fans as anyone else, and the World Cup excites the passions of sports fans around the world, which brought an international flavor to a survey niche that, yeah, we've been told is too America-centric.

So we figured that there would be some opinions out there regarding the World Cup, which was held in Russia and won by France. Surprises tend to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of sports, so we picked out several unexpected outcomes from throughout the month of games and asked survey respondents which was the biggest surprise. Here's what we learned:

Q: The most shocking development of the 2018 Men's World Cup was:

South Korea whipping (and eliminating) Germany 2-0 in group play — 36 percent
Croatia's improbable run to the final match — 31.9 percent
A record-doubling 12 own goals scored across the entire tournament — 13.3 percent
France having a rooster as its national team mascot — 12.9 percent
England's Harry Kane being the top individual scorer with 6 goals — 5.8 percent

Almost nobody would have predicted that the defending World Cup champions would exit the tournament at the group stage, but the German national team's being thoroughly outplayed in a devastating 2-0 loss to South Korea made the whole thing even more shocking. Probably the closest analogy is No. 1 seed Virginia losing to No. 16 seed VCU in the 2018 NCAA Championship, thereby becoming first No. 1 seed to ever lose a first-round game.

It ended up being Croatia, and not the surprising South Koreans, who blazed a stunning underdog trail all the way to the final match. Between them, however, those two teams locked up nearly 70 percent of the Salary Survey "most shocking" votes.

The United States women's national team is favored to win the 2019 Women's World Cup and they're also the defending champs, so be on your guard, ladies. South Korea is in Group A, and the U.S. women are in Group F, so at least they have that going for them.

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