English football fans are set for four more years of hurt according to a highly accurate Goldman Sachs model of forecasting the World Cup winners. Brazil, claims the investment bank, is the favourite, with Argentina and Germany following.
“The predictions for each match are based on a regression analysis that uses the entire history of mandatory international football matches–i.e., no friendlies–since 1960. This gives us about 14,000 observations to estimate the coefficients of our model. The dependent variable in the regression analysis is the number of goals scored by each side in each match. Following the literature on modelling football matches, we assume that the number of goals scored by a particular side in a particular match follows a Poisson distribution.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that “Brazil stands out as the clear favorite… well ahead of even reigning champion Spain”.
England, the model suggests, will likely bow out early without even so much as a single win. Goldman’s analysis claims that England may not even beat Costa Rica.
“To be clear, our model does not use any information on the quality of teams or individual players that is not reflected in a team’s track record. For example, if a key player who was responsible for a team’s recent successes is injured, this will have no bearing on our predictions. There is also no role for human judgment as the approach is purely statistical.”
Here’s how they reckon the competition will pan out: