Spoiler alert: Brazil will meet Argentina in World Cup final

Investment bankers Goldman Sachs uses statistical modelling to predict tournament outcome

 A Brazilian boy looks at the FIFA World Cup trophy on display at an exhibition in Brasilia, Brazil. Photograph: Fernando Bizerra/EPA

A Brazilian boy looks at the FIFA World Cup trophy on display at an exhibition in Brasilia, Brazil. Photograph: Fernando Bizerra/EPA

 

Rivals Brazil and Argentina are set to meet in the World Cup final in July, with the host country winning the title for a record sixth time, US investment bank Goldman Sachs have predicted in a report.

Goldman sees a 48.5 per cent probability that Brazil will win the July 13th final, with Argentina and Germany the next most likely teams to succeed with a 14.1 percent and 11.4 per cent 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.” 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 knockout 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 per cent chance, would win in South Africa. They crashed out in the quarter-finals.

Eventual winners Spain, however, were second favourites with a 15.7 per cent 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.