World Cup predictions: economists fear England's group of death

Fifa World Cup Brazil

The dismal science has taken another look at the beautiful game, with economists at PwC the latest to put out predictions on the World Cup.

By "analysing all the key variables", the consultancy has concluded England finds itself in a "group of death" and will have a tough fight to progress beyond the group stage in Brazil.

John Hawksworth, UK chief economist at PwC, comments: "Group D has the highest total combined score on our index and is therefore deemed to be the 'Group of Death'. This reflects the strong collective footballing tradition of Uruguay, England and Italy – three countries in the top 10 of the all-time World Cup table that between them have won seven of the previous 19 World Cups.

"It will be tough for England to qualify from this group but, if they do, they should have a decent chance to at least reach the quarter finals."

The report follows an analysis by Goldman Sachs last week that predicted host nation Brazil will beat Argentina 3-1 in the final of the 2014 World Cup, while England will not make it beyond the group stages.

Meanwhile, professor Stephen Hawking has unveiled formulae on the optimal conditions for England success at the World Cup in Brazil.

The PwC World Cup Index ranks England eighth in terms of relative prospects in the tournament. Brazil are top, followed by Germany, Argentina, Spain and Colombia.

The report considers factors such as historical performance, home advantage and the number of players available in a country. It predicts Germany, Argentina and Spain will push the favourite, Brazil.

"This suggests a relatively lower chance of success for Brazil than the 48.5% probability estimated in a recent Goldman Sachs report, which seems high given the strength of the opposition and the element of good fortune in any individual football match," it adds.

Turning to economics, the report finds few clues to footballing success in nations' prosperity.

"In the Olympics, our previous analysis showed that money can buy you success. But in the World Cup, we found little evidence of any such effect as middle income countries such as Brazil and Argentina can do at least as well as richer European nations like Germany, France and the UK," said Hawksworth.

"Footballing tradition is more important than GDP in driving World Cup success: in that sense, the beautiful game is a great leveller."

Powered by article was written by Katie Allen, for on Monday 2nd June 2014 11.38 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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