Who Will Win 2022 FIFA World Cup? Brazil Favored by Mathematical Model

The winning nation of the FIFA World Cup has been predicted by a mathematical model, which has gone viral on social media.

There is good news for Brazil fans as it looks like they could be set to celebrate a record sixth World Cup win, while United States supporters had best look away.

The model's outcome, which has been widely shared on Twitter, predicts that Brazil will triumph over Belgium in the final after the teams beat Argentina and France, respectively, in the semi-finals.

England's desire to win the trophy for the first time since 1966 will be ended at the quarter-final, while the model predicts the first round is as good as it gets for the USMNT, with Iran being the team to pip the U.S. and Wales to second place in the group after England.

Joshua Bull, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford in the U.K., developed the mathematical model to determine who could triumph in Qatar and lift the World Cup trophy.

He told Newsweek how he used statistical information to program his model to find out who will ultimately triumph in Qatar next month.

Bull said: "The two main things it looks at are something called xG, which is the expected goals and that is a way of summarizing a [soccer] match other than the scoreline.

"Scorelines can be quite noisy, by that I mean that a team might have very few chances throughout the game but maybe score an absolute fluke as a winner and if they were to replay that game again, that probably wouldn't happen, so rather than looking at the actual historical scores of games, I have been looking at the amount of xG that each team has accumulated in every game over the past five years."

Brazil fans could be celebrating another FIFA World Cup win if predictions for the tournament comes true. The Seleção will beat Belgium in the final with United States not making it out of Group B, according to the mathematical model. Getty Images

Bull continued by explaining the variables that could affect his model.

He said: "The problem with that is that it depends quite heavily on the quality of the opponents, so some teams might get very low xG as they are playing against much better defenses, while others might be playing against a weaker team might score a much higher xG but might not be very good.

"So I have been counteracting that by looking at the strengths of teams and when they played that game, how strong were they and then using summating data from ELO ratings, which adjusts every time a team plays an international, their rating gets moved up or down depending on the result.

"This correlates nicely with the xG that teams are accumulating in each game."

Bull added that the United States is not predicted to make it out of the group stage but it will be a close affair.

He continued: "To be fair to America, I think Group B is really close, so a lot of the time it is very close between the United States, Iran and Wales for the second spot in the group.

"The model is fairly confident on England getting through in Group B and that the second place could go to any of them and Iran just edged it in the simulation but if I was to do it again, I might get something slightly different."

Brazil Neymar
Brazil's soccer star Neymar is hoping he can help his nation win the FIFA World Cup for a record sixth time. A mathematical model has predicted that it will happen, with Brazil beating France in the final. Getty Images

When asked whether he would put money on the model's predictions, Bull had a word of caution.

He said: "I would say that bookmakers are always going to win. There are definitely a couple of teams that our model thinks is a lot stronger than the bookies are giving them credit for.

"I am interested to see which one of us is right rather than I am running out to put my house on it."

Speaking about how long it took him to establish the model and come up with the predictions, Bull said: "It was very much a side project, I spent a few weekends on it over a few months. The key point is that there is a lot of different ways of doing these models and there are a lot of models out there where people have used all kinds of wonderful information but I found from what I was looking at that I think this should be enough but we will see.

"We will see whose model is best."

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