Boomberg — England will make it to the final of the World Cup on December 18 only to lose to Argentina, according to an economist who correctly predicted the winners of the 2014 and 2018 tournaments.
Joachim Klement, an investment analyst at Liberum Capital, stands by predictions he made in September, before the competition began, despite “sweating a lot” while watching Saudi Arabia beat Argentina in the group stages of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
To predict winners, he uses a model based on four factors: Climate, population size, GDP per capita and culture. The best performers are warmer countries where football can be played year-round, which have a large population, high GDP per capita and a population that likes football.
The three big outliers in his model are India, China and the Netherlands. “The Indians have decided to play cricket, God knows why, and the Chinese for some strange reason have really caught up on that,” Klement told Bloomberg TV. The Netherlands has been “incredibly successful at football” considering its relatively small population, he added.
Klement said he didn’t intend to build a working prediction model. Instead he wanted to satirize the “hubris” of economists who think they can “predict absolutely everything.”
He first made the predictions of Argentina beating England in the final in a note in September, when he said that their path to lifting the trophy for the first time in 36 years would include defeating Spain in the semi-finals.
However, in the note he also added that this World Cup has been harder to predict than any before due to the competition being in winter.
Other approaches to predicting the winner, like using the collective value of players in a team, were not as reliable as looking at the underlying factors of a team’s success, according to Klement. “I’m a bit cautious about using the collective value of players because the Premier League has so much more money at its disposal and can pay so much more for players,” he said.
“The good news for England fans is England is going to make it into the final. The bad news is they’re going to lose this one.”
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