World Cup predictions: who will win in Russia?

We round up the expert and pundit picks to lift the trophy on 15 July

Germany 1 Argentina 0 2014 Fifa World Cup final
Germany celebrate winning the 2014 Fifa World Cup after beating Argentina in the final
(Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Brazil are the clear bookies’ favourites to win the 2018 Fifa World Cup - but who do the experts tip for success in Russia?

The Daily Mail reports that the Samba Boys and Spain are the best bets for the World Cup. According to a study by Goldman Sachs, Neymar’s Brazil came out as the winners after the tournament was simulated one million times using an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm.

The investment bank’s algorithm used “team strategy, the strengths and weaknesses of individual players, and recent team results”, says the Mail.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

In another AI simulation by researchers from the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany, the Mail reports that Spain were predicted to have the best chance of winning in Russia. The Technical University of Dortmund AI held 100,000 different simulations.

If insurable value is what you are looking for from your team then according to Lloyds France will win the World Cup. The Lloyds study found that France are “the most expensive team competing in Russia and therefore should be victorious”.

Speaking to Russia Today, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho tipped the defending champions to triumph. “Germany is Germany,” said the Special One.

Who do pundits pick to win the World Cup?

Gary Lineker, BBC: “History tells us that it’s normally a European team who wins when the World Cup is on this continent - and there are some very strong European teams at the moment. Germany are always a threat and won’t be far away, while France have got some amazing players and will have a chance if they can get it together - but, if I had to pick someone, I would go with Spain. They have a tremendous depth to their squad and are technically brilliant as always.”

Alan Shearer, BBC: “I am going to go for experience, and I am going to go with Brazil. I am expecting especially big things from Gabriel Jesus, who is young, fresh and energetic.”

Paul Hayward, The Daily Telegraph: “Brazil looked shot to bits four years ago, but have recovered and are blessed with match-winners.”

Dominic Fifield, The Guardian: “Brazil and Argentina [in the final], with Lionel Messi to illuminate the grandest stage, then retire from international football clutching its ultimate prize. Maybe.”

David Hytner, The Guardian: “Brazil to beat Germany [in the final]. Brazil have got everything but, most importantly, balance and a hardier mentality under Tite. Germany remain intimidating and even greater than the sum of their parts.”

Craig Burley, ESPN: “I’m swaying on this pick as Brazil in particular do look strong. However, the continuity in terms of coaching with Joachim Low means Germany can usually sail through rough seas as they did in 2014. They’ve been unconvincing recently in friendlies but Germany aren’t about friendlies. Personnel changes mean some players are untried at this level, but they still have enough big game players and game changers to just sneak it.”

Mark Ogden, ESPN: “Brazil are stronger than four years ago and, if Neymar stays fit, they should go all the way this time around.”

Luke Brown, Independent: “I think I fancy France. But then again Spain and Germany can’t be ruled out. Brazil look pretty tasty, too. So to conclude I don’t really know. Pass.”

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us