Econometrics and the World Cup

When the sacred and the profane go hand in hand. 


Host country and host region effects seem to play an important role in explaining variation in World Cup performance. Based on the science, Brazil is the (strong) favourite for the 2014 World Cup, as it is not only supported by its own people (host country and regional advantage), but it also has a strong soccer tradition and a high FIFA ranking. Other Latin American teams such as Argentina and Uruguay also have the potential to do relatively well in 2014 compared to past World Cups.

Among European teams, Spain is the favourite: it is the only European team ever to win the World Cup outside of its home region and it ranks high on both the FIFA ranking and the historic World Cup performance (as of May 2014). England and Portugal remain a good bet for reaching the quarter finals, or even the semi-finals, based on both their FIFA rankings and our research analysis.

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