If you want to predict goals, follow the money, say German economists who have used footballers’ value to predict a Spain-Germany World Cup final.
Researchers from the DIW Institute in Berlin based their model on the market value of each team, using the transfer fees of the players.
If their prediction is correct “the Spanish would be the slight favourites, but it has been a long time since the chances of the German team have been this good in a World Cup,” said Gert Wagner, one of the economists behind the study.
Wagner and his two colleagues from DIW — one of the best-known economic research institutes in Germany — have dubbed their system “money scores the goals”.
“No other market is as transparent — or as global — as international football,” Wagner told the Der Spiegel magazine in an article released ahead of its publication on Monday.
The economists say their prediction is based on a model that successfully predicted the Italian victory in 2006 World Cup, and Spain’s triumphs in the last three major football tournaments — the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships in in 2008 and 2012.
However they said this year the predictions have been more complicated than normal, as the values of the best teams are very similar.
With only two weeks to go until the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, guesswork is reaching fever pitch.
Even world-famed Cambridge University physicist Stephen Hawking took a shot at predicting a winner.
Hawking, who is nearly paralysed by motor neurone disease, put his money on Brazil in a commentary hammering his native England’s chances.
“You would be a fool to overlook Brazil,” said the author of “A Brief History of Time” who is more used to looking into the origin of the universe than predicting the outcomes of football matches.
Bookmakers have tended to agree.
Paddy Power had Brazil as favourites on Sunday, with odds of 3-1, followed by Argentina at 9-2, and Germany at 11-2.
The last World Cup made an unlikely star of a rather less academic pundit in Paul the octopus.
The tentacled oracle successfully predicted the outcome of eight matches by choosing a mussel or oyster from one of two boxes bearing the flags of competing nations. He died in 2010.