JOHANNESBURG/BENGALURU, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Brazil are set to win the World Cup for the sixth time in the tournament which begins on Nov. 20 in Qatar, according to a Reuters poll that successfully predicted the champions in 2010.
The global survey of 135 football market analysts around the world agreed with bookmakers that Brazil would triumph for the first time since 2002.
Almost half of those polled expected Brazil to win, while 30% were evenly split between France and Argentina. Germany, England and Belgium scored in single digits.
“Brazil have a great chance this time with the depth and variation of their attack coupled with the experience of Casemiro (midfielder) and Thiago Silva at the back,” said Garima Kapoor, economist at Elara Capital in Mumbai. .
Brazilian talent featured prominently in the poll results, with the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Jr enjoying brilliant starts to the club season, and goalkeeping duo Alisson and Ederson also shining.
“We attribute a 17% chance to Brazil of winning the tournament, which translates to odds of 5 to 1,” wrote Peter Dixon, head of EMEA country risk at Fitch Solutions in London.
Dixon placed Germany second with 11% (8-1) and France third with 8% (11-1).
His calculations differ from bookmakers’ odds, which have England as third favorites to Dixon’s 4% chance, largely because bookmakers’ odds are calculated on how much they would have to pay, not probabilities.
Forecasters in previous years also used quantitative models while others used simpler methods such as guesswork and superstition.
EA Sports – creator of the FIFA gaming franchise and who correctly predicted the winners of the previous three World Cups by simulating all 64 games in their game – said Argentina would lift the trophy.
Argentina, unbeaten since losing to Brazil in July 2019, are closing in on the Italian record for the longest unbeaten streak of any team in international football.
Nearly 50% of responses came from Europe, followed by North America and Asia with around 15% each. South American predictions accounted for just over 10% and the rest came from Africa, Australia or New Zealand.
Spain’s win at the 2010 tournament in South Africa was the latest Reuters survey to correctly predict the winner. Economists have not predicted Italy’s fourth title in 2006 or the last two won by Germany and France.
If France were to retain the trophy, they would be the first to do so since Brazil in 1962.
England’s continued failure to bring the trophy home for the first time since 1966 has not deterred 5% of forecasters saying they will this year.
“Having failed to build on the solid momentum that propelled the nation into the Euro 2020 final, England’s perennial flops can only hope to top the last 16 this time around,” said Isaac Matshego, economist at Nedbank in Johannesburg.
Denmark tops the list of underdogs.
Almost half of those polled expected Lionel Messi or his PSG team-mate Neymar to win the Ballon d’Or – awarded to the best player. The Argentinian maestro last won it eight years ago in Brazil.
Another PSG man, Kylian Mbappe, has been chosen as the most likely to score the most goals to win the Golden Boot Award.
Qatar is said to have spent around $220 billion to host the tournament – almost fifteen times more than the second most expensive tournament – but 41% of those polled said it would have no long-term economic impact.
Almost the same number said it would be net positive while 21% said it would be negative.
(FACTBOX-Soccer-World Cup 2022 teams: complete list of 26-player teams participating in the FIFA tournament find out more)
Reporting by Vuyani Ndaba, polling by Sarupya Ganguly, Devayani Sathyan and Milounee Purohit; Editing by Jonathan Cable/Mitch Phillips/Toby Davis
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