A mathematical model run by Oxford University has labelled Brazil as the most likely to lift the World Cup this year, with Argentina second favourite and Loius Van Gaal’s Netherlands side third to win the World Cup in a month’s time.
The model, which takes into account squad strength, fixtures, World ranking and usual expected goals, suggests that the Selecao are narrow favourites over the current Copa America champions, with the pair potentially able to meet in an all south American final.
Both sides have almost a 15% chance of lifting the Jules Rimet in a month’s time, almost double that of the Netherlands and those further down.
Should all go as expected, Argentina will face one of Denmark and France in the round of 16, before a likely meeting with the Dutch in the quarter-finals and a clash with one of Spain, Germany or Brazil in the semi-final.
Meanwhile, Brazil will have to, in all likelihood, knock out Ghana, Spain or Germany and Argentina to reach the final.
Beyond the favoured trio, Spain, France and Belgium all have more than a 6% chance of winning the trophy, while Portugal and Denmark both have around a 1/20 shot at being crowned World Champions.
Germany and Uruguay round out the top 10, with both having less than 4% chance of bringing the World Cup home for their nation.
England not fancied
As the keener-eyed amongst you may have noticed, England are not even in the top 10 “favourites” to lift the trophy, lagging behind the likes of Uruguay and Denmark. This is in part due to their low goalscoring across the last 12 months, and also due to their potential run to the final.
Should they qualify as group B winners, they will likely face Senegal, before a meeting with France and then one of Portugal and Belgium in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, as runners up they would have to knock out the Netherlands, Argentina and then one of Spain, Germany or Brazil.
As a result, and with England’s tendency to struggle against ‘better’ sides despite comprehensively beating lesser opponents, their odds of winning the tournament have been modelled to just 3.41%
England fans will need to pray for more Gareth Southgate magic.