Who will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup? | The Economist

Who will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup? | The Economist

Modern football is all about the numbers.
We've crunched the data, ranked all of this year's hopefuls
and simulated the competition to see which countries
have the potential to lift the World Cup
in Russia this summer.
How do you measure a country's potential for success?
Countries with a large supply of grassroots players
tend to produce stronger teams.
Germany has over 16 million players,
the most of any country at the World Cup.
Followed by Brazil.
Iceland is the outlier, with just over 32,000 players.
The smallest talent pool of any country in the tournament.
The share of Google searches for football
compared with other team sports,
shows the appetite for the game within a country.
African countries dominate the Google charts.
With India and Pakistan at the bottom.
Countries with a higher GDP per capita,
have a better chance of success.
Since they can spend more on top notch training
and facilities.
Here, Germany, England and Switzerland should have an edge.
Star players make the difference.
Any team with Lionel Messi stands a chance of victory,
but the draw is key.
Even though Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo
and are ranked much higher than Russia,
the hosts have a better chance of progressing
thanks to an easy group.
Not forgetting their home advantage.
In international football,
the home team wins nearly twice as often as the visitors.
Our model suggests that despite 50 years of hurt
England tend to over perform in international matches.
Harry Kane as captain will lead the charge.
We see them reaching the quarter finals.
Based solely on the socio-economic data
Germany should be favorites.
But on current form, Brazil, with the likes of Neymar
are our predicted winners, with a 27% chance of victory.
Four years after an embarrassing home exit,
they will be out for revenge.