Economists predict who will win the world cup and it’s good news for England

1 min Read Published: 01 Jun 2010

As Capello announces the 23 players on the plane to South Africa I thought it fitting to combine two of my passions into one post - Football & Finance. So whilst everyone and their dog has an opinion on who is going to lift the World Cup come July 11th (for what it is worth Money to the Masses can't see past Spain) we thought we'd highlight two predictions based purely on economic analysis:

And the winner is .... En-ger-land!

So claim a team of egg heads at JP Morgan. They boldly applied quantitative methodology to the beautiful game and game up with Capello's men winning the World Cup.

The Telegraph reported that Matthew Burgess and Marco Dion took the methodology, which uses mathematical data to gauge investment opportunities, and performed a substitution of their own, replacing balance sheets and profit margins with Fifa rankings, historical results and the latest bookies' odds. Sweeping aside concern over the state of Wayne Rooney's groin, Ledley King's knee and Gareth Barry's ankle, they concluded in a 69-page note to City investors that the Three Lions would maul Spain in the final on 11 July, with Holland coming third.

"Having developed a rather successful quant model over the years," they explained modestly, "we intend to introduce it to our readers and also use its methodology to apply it to a fruitful field for statistics: football and the World Cup."

Although the analysts acknowledge that Brazil are the strongest team, their model predicts overall victory for England – who will play Algeria, Slovenia and the US in the group stages – thanks to the fixture schedule.

Apparently there is no truth in the rumour that the pair started writing calculations down in a pub and swiftly declared that England would win courtesy of 8 pints of Stella and Three Lions booming from the Bar's sound system.

But the more likely winner is .... say Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski who developed a model of predicting football results based on economic data. Every match is predicted by inputting population (pop), GDP per capita (y) and experience (exp) into a formula to give expected goal difference (GD).

GD(ij) = 0.137 log (pop(i)/pop(j)) + 0.145log (y(i)/y(j)) + 0.739 log (exp(i)/exp(j)) (+0.657 home advantage)

Who needs a Russian linesman when you have advanced mathematics on your side - we just need to work harder and have lots of unprotected sex and play every match at home.

Wired Magazine featured the full breakdown of results in this month's issue and showed Brazil to be the eventual winners and Serbia the dark horses of the tournament