The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia official gets underway today and football fans around the world are throwing in their opinions as to which team will walk away as champions after the four and a half week battle. Does Germany have what it takes to be the first team to win a back-to-back title in more than 50 years? While you could argue no one can know for certain, we will all try to guess anyway, and this year there is quite a difference between what the public predicts versus what some pretty sophisticated statistical models have picked.
According to the most recent Ipsos poll, Germany currently sits at the top of public opinion charts with 23-percent of the more than 12,000 respondents believing Joachim Löw can lead his team to another victory. 21-percent believe Brazil will overthrow Germany and take the win instead. If you decide to side with the public, only one of these two countries has a real shot at scoring the World Cup trophy in 2018.
If you’re a statistician, however, you’d be having a nice laugh at those public opinions. Goldman Sachs believes they’ve developed the most accurate tool to predict the outcome of the games, using a combination of 53 performance and rating variables, and with statistical probability running the playbook, Germany’s future takes a very different road.
The data strongly favors Brazil to win with a probability of 18.5-percent, putting the South American team well into the lead over second-place pick France with only an 11.3 percent chance at securing the final win. Germany, according to Goldman Sachs’ prediction, is only the third most likely champion with a 10.7-percent shot at winning the 2018 World Cup.
Anyone who’s watched the World Cup in the past though knows that anything can happen and no team is safe. Is the public smarter than a set of computers when it comes to seeing a potential winner? There’s only one way to find out…