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On a scrap of paper you read the following results:

$$ \begin{array}{r c l c} NETHERLANDS & - &FINLAND & 3-1 \\ JAPAN & - &IRAQ & 0-0 \\ RUSSIA & - &INDONESIA & 1-0 \\ AUSTRALIA & - &CHINA & 0-1 \\ CANADA & - &CUBA & 2-1 \\ SWITZERLAND & - &FRANCE & 0-0 \\ MADAGASCAR & - &EGYPT & 2-0 \\ BRAZIL & - &BELGIUM & 5-1 \\ IRELAND & - &GERMANY & 2-3 \\ ALGERIA & - &COLOMBIA & 3-2 \\ GREECE & - &MEXICO & ... \end{array} $$

Can you figure out what the result of Greece - Mexico should be?

Hint:

I've written the countries' names in uppercase for a reason.

Hint 2:

Most of these "results" have been the same for quite a while. One that has changed relatively recently is BRAZIL-BELGIUM, which used to be 0-1.

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  • 13
    $\begingroup$ you forgot "Brazil 1 - 7 Germany". Just saying. $\endgroup$ – Marius Nov 18 '16 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think that would be 1-2. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 18 '16 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ Greece Mexico? Doesn't sound like a great game so I'd guess 0-0 :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Nov 18 '16 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ Re Hint 2: Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 21 '16 at 0:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice puzzle idea! $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Nov 23 '16 at 17:51
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$\begingroup$

The Greece - Mexico result is a complete blow out:

1-6

The hints gave it away for me:

"countries' names in uppercase" hinted at the country capitals, and
"BRAZIL-BELGIUM, ... used to be 0-1" reinforced that (Brazil's capital was Rio up until 1960, when it changed to Brasilia)

So, the trick is that the scores are based on:

the number of characters that are the same, and in the same location between a country and its capital. Meaning that the specific pairing is just a red herring, since each individual country is evaluated in isolation.

The full list explained:

NETHERLANDS     FINLAND
amstERdAm       helsiNki      3−1

JAPAN           IRAQ
tokyo           baghdad       0−0

RUSSIA          INDONESIA
moScow          jakarta       1−0

AUSTRALIA       CHINA
canberra        beIjing       0−1

CANADA          CUBA
ottAwA          havAna        2−1

SWITZERLAND     FRANCE
bern            paris         0−0

MADAGASCAR      EGYPT
antAnAnarivo    cairo         2−0

BRAZIL          BELGIUM
BRAsILia        Brussels      5−1
rio de janeiro  Brussels     (0-1)

IRELAND         GERMANY
dubLiN          bERliN        2−3

ALGERIA         COLOMBIA
ALGiers         bOgOta        3−2

GREECE          MEXICO
athEns          MEXICO city   1-6 

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Gosh darn it, I was so close. I got as far as your 2nd spoilertag (see my comment on the question), but I tried looking at the number of letters shared between the capitals in each pair (Dublin-Berlin etc.) and didn't get as far as your final realisation. +1. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 21 '16 at 0:47

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