How predictable are the FIFA worldcup football outcomes?

Since 1993 the Federation of International Football Association’s (FIFA) monthly world ranking system for senior national football teams has become a reliable source to judge a team’s potentiality in football. In the past four FIFA worldcup football tournaments from 1994 to 2006, the top seeded team never won the FIFA worldcup except in 1994 when Brazil won as the number one team. This article examines the strength of this element of uncertainty in FIFA worldcup using two empirical models. We find empirical evidence of the fact that in spite of the number of cases of surprise upsets from the lower ranked teams or poor performance by the top seeded teams; overall the results are strongly in favour of the higher ranked teams.

Source: “How predictable are the FIFA worldcup football outcomes? An empirical analysis” from Applied Economics Letters, Volume 15, Issue 15 December 2008 , pages 1171 – 1176

I have a lot of friends who are really into soccer but this is about as close as I get to being a fan.

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