How initial predictions for the FIFA World Cup faired against reality

With England and Spain now out of the running for the prestigious FIFA World Cup title, we thought it would be a good idea to look back and see how initial predictions faired against actual results. As we’ll show, some of these predictions are not to be trifled with.

Initial predictions for FIFA World Cup (and how they faired against reality)

Initial predictions by sporting experts have seldom matched the results on the field, leaving many with egg on their face. photo credit: zachstern via photopin cc

Four-legged predictions

Before the tournament began, a bevy of unusual predictions came through, some of which came from a pair of miniature donkeys named Alistair and Derek of Puxton Park, Somerset, who chose between food boxes containing the flags of the competing countries. But after predicting England as a winner against Italy two Saturdays ago, these donkeys can clearly no longer be trusted.

Deutsche Bank analysts predicted an English victory, while Esquire went as far as to give 17 reasons why England will definitely win the World Cup. The article was probably intended as being a little tongue-in-cheek, but we can think of 16 reasons the English team is out…

Stephen Hawking gave an interesting statistical analysis of England’s past games, stating that the English team would have the best chance of victory if they played in red, in a 4-3-3 formation, in temperate conditions, with a European referee, and at 3pm kick-off time. He did, of course, go on to say that he wouldn’t be putting any money on the English team for a victory (wise thing he didn’t, as hindsight will attest). 

Initial predictions for FIFA World Cup (and how they faired against reality)

Meet Alistair the miniature donkey of Puxton Park, tasked with predicting the results of the Fifa World Cup. Suffice to say, Alistair’s tenure was short-lived. Image cc: www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

What did the sports outlets predict?

Before the World Cup commenced, some of the teams that have been since knocked out were strong contenders in the eyes of the sporting press. The Reno-Gazette Journal, for example, favoured Brazil as the winners, with Spain third most likely to take the title. Their top 10 were as follows:

  1. Brazil
  2. Germany
  3. Spain
  4. Argentina
  5. Uruguay
  6. Belgium
  7. Italy
  8. Netherlands
  9. England
  10. Portugal

Meanwhile, Top10bestreview listed these teams as the frontrunners:

  1. Germany
  2. Brazil
  3. Netherlands
  4. France
  5. Argentina
  6. England
  7. Italy
  8. Portugal
  9. Belgium
  10. Chile

The Top Tens website predicted a German win, with Spain fourth most likely to win and England at number eight.

  1. Germany
  2. Brazil
  3. Argentina
  4. Spain
  5. Netherlands
  6. Italy
  7. Portugal
  8. England
  9. France
  10. Belgium

Givemesport.com, on the other hand, predicted a Spanish win. With their previous World Cup win, Spain are officially No.1 in FIFA rankings and were favourites for many. Sadly, their World Cup dreams ended rather abruptly in the first round. 

Brazil: the darling of the footballing world, tipped by many to win the 2014 Fifa World Cup now that Spain are out. photo credit: Breno Peck via photopin cc

Brazil: the darling of the footballing world, tipped by many to win the 2014 Fifa World Cup now that Spain are out. photo credit: Breno Peck via photopin cc

Round-robin, done ‘n’ dusted

So with the first round almost done, favourites Germany and Brazil are looking to finish top of their respective groups and could prove initial predictions right. Brazil are currently the 11/4 favourites with bookmakers, who see Brazil, Germany and Argentina taking the top three spots.

We think Columbia, Costa Rica, France and Chile are also worth watching, and it remains to be seen if one of these teams can cause an upset and send the big three packing. With so many variables, it truly is anybody’s game at this stage. Except England and Spain.

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