Brazil predicted to win sixth World cup in Qatar: analysts

Brazil is the only country to have won the World Cup five times. However, the team has not made it to the finals since 2002.

With less than one week away from the kickoff game of the 2022 World Cup, predictions of which team will lift trophy are everywhere, though some more believable than others.  

Brazil is the most recent team to be predicted to win the title for the sixth time, according to a  Reuters poll that successfully predicted the champions in 2010.

Almost half of 135 football-following market analysts surveyed expected Brazil to win while 30% were evenly split between France and Argentina. Germany, England, and Belgium scored in high single digits.

“Brazil have a big chance this time with the depth and variation in their attack coupled with experience of Casemiro (midfield) and Thiago Silva at the back,” said Garima Kapoor, economist at Elara Capital in Mumbai.

Brazilian talent was prominent in the poll results, including Neymar and Vinicius Jr, who have had outstanding starts to the club season, as well as goalkeeping duo Alisson and Ederson.

“We assign a probability of 17% to Brazil winning the tournament, which translates into odds of 5-1,” wrote Peter Dixon, head of EMEA country risk at Fitch Solutions in London.

Dixon put Germany second at 11% (8-1) and France third at 8% (11-1), the Reuters report noted.

His calculations differ from bookmakers’ odds, which have England as the third favourite compared to Dixon’s 4% chance, owing to the fact that bookmakers’ odds are calculated based on how much they would have to pay out rather than probabilities.

Forecasters in previous years used quant models as well, while others relied on less sophisticated methods such as guesswork and superstition.

Meanwhile, EA Sports FIFA 23 predicted this year’s World Cup champion after simulating all 64 matches per their quadrennial tradition. 

Anointed a psychic, the world-famous football video game has successfully projected the winners in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 World Cup tournaments. 

Iker Casillas Spain was envisioned to win in South Africa through the EA Sports game, and sure enough, the squad defeated the Netherlands to carry the title. 

Germany and France were foreseen to bag the football crown in 2014 and 2018 usingthe in-depth player ratings for the game’s various FIFA World Cup play modes.  

For the Qatar World Cup, Argentina will win the trophy, with Messi predicted to take the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball as the top goal scorer and the best player on the pitch. 

The 35-year-old superstar has recently turned into Barca Messi, with the Parisians placing his team as favorites.

Recently statistical data gathered by BCA research backed up Argentina and Portugal in the finals, with Messi coming up on top. 

The researchers envision a penalty shoot-out will mark history for the Argentinians, and since the team has gone to the penalty five times in past World Cups and won four of them, the team has a better chance to take the game.

Outside of the supercomputers and mathematical formulas, Argentina has been unbeaten in its past 35 competitive matches this season, marking it undefeated since 2019. 

Spain’s victory at the 2010 tournament in South Africa was the last Reuters survey to correctly predict the winner. Economists failed to forecast Italy’s fourth title in 2006 or the last two won by Germany and France.

If France is to retain the trophy they would be the first to do so since Brazil in 1962.

England’s continual failure to bring the trophy home for the first time since 1966 has not discouraged 5% of forecasters saying they would do so this year.

“Having failed to build on the robust momentum that propelled the nation to the final of Euro 2020, the perennial flops England can only hope to go past the last 16 this time,” said Isaac Matshego, economist at Nedbank in Johannesburg.

Denmark topped the list of underdogs.

Almost half of those polled expected Lionel Messi or PSG teammate Neymar to win the Golden Ball, which is awarded to the best player. Messi won it in Brazil eight years ago.

Another PSG player, Kylian Mbappe, was selected as the favorite to win the Golden Boot award, which is given to the top goal scorer.

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