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Who will win the FIFA World Cup? Brazil, Argentina, Spain?

Last updated on: May 29, 2014 20:00 IST

Who will win the FIFA World Cup? Brazil, Argentina, Spain?



From data analysts to financial firms, everyone has their views on who could win the FIFA World Cup, in Brazil next month.

Here are some interesting predictions by international firms Opta and Goldman Sachs, on the how the June 12-July 13 tournament could pan out. Read on...

Form may be temporary, as the saying goes, but when a World Cup is at stake temporary attributes can be crucial to a successful campaign.

Statistics revealed this week suggest Germany and Uruguay could have the edge over other favourites in Brazil.

Sports data analysts Opta have been poring over last season's statistics from Europe's top five leagues in England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany and constructed a formula that may provide an insight into who will lift the World Cup on July 13.

They have come up with a 'Dream Team' of form players who should be the ones to watch in Brazil.

"The 11 was devised by looking at a range of stats for each player in each position," Duncan Alexander, head of UK content at Opta, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"Opta collect more than 250 categories and record about 2,000 data points in each match that’s analysed, but we have a range of tools that allow us to easily filter players by attribute and performance."

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Image: Dutch model Sylvie Meis poses with the World Cup trophy during a photocall.
Photographs: Clemens Bilan/Getty Images for Coca Cola


'There is an element of subjectivity when choosing any group of players'

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The line-up, which is sure to provoke arguments in pubs, beer-halls, cafes and taverns the world over, contains the usual suspects -- Yaya Toure, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but former champions Germany and Uruguay both boast two in-form players heading to Brazil.

Germany can rely on versatile captain Philipp Lahm, who recorded a passing accuracy of 92 percent in the Bundesliga, supplying balls to blond-haired maestro Marco Reus. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder made the statistical team through having a direct involvement in 40 goals in all competitions this season.

Uruguay’s Group D opponents Costa Rica, England and Italy, will have to contend with formidable centre back Diego Godin, while Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who faces a battle to be fit for the World Cup after undergoing knee surgery, was involved in 43 league goals this season, more than any other player in the top five European leagues.

"There is an element of subjectivity when choosing any group of players," admits Alexander, whose company put the team together for bookmaker William Hill.

"But by utilising categories that we know professional clubs value, this team should be the most effective choice based on recent performance levels."

The XI to watch:

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)

Defenders: Philipp Lahm (Germany), Diego Godin (Uruguay), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy), Leighton Baines (England)

Midfielders: Arturo Vidal (Chile), Marco Reus (Germany), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)

Forwards: Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

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Image: Philipp Lahm of Germany
Photographs: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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Brazil and Argentina set to meet in the final

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Meanwhile, US investment bank Goldman Sachs have made their own prediction for the tournament.

According to Goldman, rivals Brazil and Argentina are set to meet in the World Cup final, with the host country winning the title for a record sixth time.

Goldman sees a 48.5 percent probability that Brazil will win the July 13 final, with Argentina and Germany the next most likely teams to succeed with a 14.1 percent and 11.4 percent chance respectively.

The predictions were based on a statistical model that analysed about 14,000 competitive international matches since 1960.

"Of course, it is hardly surprising that the most successful team in football history is favoured to win a World Cup at home," the Goldman report, written by Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, Sven Jari Stehn and Donnie Millar, said.

"But the extent of the Brazilian advantage in our model is nevertheless striking."

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Image: Brazil players celebrate
Photographs: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Spain are second favourites

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South American teams have won all four previous World Cup tournaments held on the continent.

Goldman's predicted a 3-1 victory for Brazil would add to the decades of rivalry with neighbouring Argentina, who have won the World Cup twice previously.

Brazil are predicted to reach the final after overcoming the Netherlands, Uruguay and Germany in each of the knock-out phases, while Argentina is forecast to beat Ecuador, Portugal and Spain.

Goldman's model though is not foolproof.

Using data ahead of the 2010 World Cup, it had predicted Brazil, with a 26.6 percent chance, would win in South Africa. They crashed out in the quarter-finals.

Eventual winners Spain, however, were second favourites with a 15.7 percent probability of winning.

Andres Iniesta's extra-time goal gave Vicente del Bosque's side a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final and their first World Cup title. 

Image: Gerard Pique (left) and Juan Mata of Spain joke during a training sesion.
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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