Add News     Print  
Article List
Goldman sees Brazil beating Argentina in WC final Hawking slams Suarez, plays down England hopes

HONG KONG, May 28, (RTRS): Rivals Brazil and Argentina are set to meet in the World Cup final in July, with the host country winning the title for a record sixth time, US investment bank Goldman Sachs have predicted in a report. Goldman sees a 48.5 percent probability that Brazil will win the July 13 final, with Argentina and Germany the next most likely teams to succeed with a 14.1 percent and 11.4 percent chance respectively. The predictions were based on a statistical model that analysed about 14,000 competitive international matches since 1960. “Of course, it is hardly surprising that the most successful team in football history is favoured to win a World Cup at home,” the Goldman report, written by Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, Sven Jari Stehn and Donnie Millar, said. “But the extent of the Brazilian advantage in our model is nevertheless striking.”

South American teams have won all four previous World Cup tournaments held on the continent. Goldman’s predicted a 3-1 victory for Brazil would add to the decades of rivalry with neighbouring Argentina, who have won the World Cup twice previously. Brazil are predicted to reach the final after overcoming the Netherlands, Uruguay and Germany in each of the knockout phases, while Argentina is forecast to beat Ecuador, Portugal and Spain. Goldman’s model though is not foolproof. Using data ahead of the 2010 World Cup, it had predicted Brazil, with a 26.6 percent chance, would win in South Africa. They crashed out in the quarter-finals. Eventual winners Spain, however, were second favourites with a 15.7 percent probability of winning. Andres Iniesta’s extra-time goal gave Vicente del Bosque’s side a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final and their first World Cup title.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s leading physicists, has hit out at “ballerina” Luis Suarez after analysing England’s chances at the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil. The 72-year-old professor, who wrote the best-selling ‘A Brief History of Time’, has looked at data from every World Cup since 1966 — the only time then hosts England have won the tournament — and concluded the heat and humidity in South America do not augur well for Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions. But he believes their prospects will improve if they have a European referee for their group match with Uruguay as northern hemisphere officials are less likely to be deceived by the Liverpool striker’s on-field theatrics.

Hawking has also devised the formula for a perfect penalty, with spot-kicks long a problem for England at major tournaments, because “as we say in science, England couldn’t hit a cow with a banjo”. Hawking, whose analysis was commissioned by bookmaker Paddy Power, added: “Ever since the dawn of civilisation, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. “They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world. “The World Cup is no different.” Turning to England, who won the World Cup wearing their red change kit rather than their first-choice white, Hawking said: “Statistically England’s red kit is more successful and we should play 4-3-3 rather than 4-4-2.

“Psychologists in Germany found red makes teams feel more confident and can lead them to being perceived as more aggressive and dominant. “Likewise, 4-3-3 is more positive so the team benefits for similar psychological reasons. “The data shows we also need to hope for a European referee. European referees are more sympathetic to the English game and less sympathetic to ballerinas like Suarez. “The England team are creatures of habit. Being closer to home reduces the negative impact of cultural differences and jetlag. “The impact of environmental factors alone is quite staggering. A 5C rise in temperature reduces our (England’s) chances of winning by 59 percent. “We are twice as likely to win when playing below 500 metres above sea level.

As for penalties Hawking, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease, when he was just 21 and told he had only a few years to live, said “velocity is nothing without placement”. He added: “If only I had whispered this in Chris Waddle’s ear before he sent the ball into orbit in 1990” (Waddle was one of the England players who missed a penalty during a World Cup semi-final loss to West Germany). “The statistics confirm the obvious. Place the ball in the top left or right hand corner for the best chance of success — 84 percent of penalties in those areas score. “There is no evidence that it’s advantageous to be left or right-footed but bald players and fair-haired players are more likely to score. “The reason for this is unclear. This will remain one of science’s great mysteries,” Hawking said.

Read By: 1607
Comments: 0

You must login to add comments ...
About Us   |   RSS   |   Contact Us   |   Feedback   |   Advertise With Us