Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

2018 World Cup Predictions

Leading up to the 2018 World Cup, there were numerous predictions made about which team would emerge victorious in the tournament. Various methods were employed, including analyzing bookmaker odds, recent results and statistics, as well as player and team rankings.

Unlike the other predictions, the tournament was ultimately won by France. However, none of the predictions correctly anticipated France as the winner, with most placing them in the top four but behind Brazil, Germany, and Spain.

One prediction stood out, though. Goldman Sachs employed a combination of team characteristics, individual player analysis, and recent team performance data to make their prediction. Interestingly, they were the only ones to not place France fourth or worse.

Table of 2018 Predictions

Here is a summary of the predictions made for the 2018 World Cup:

Prediction Method
Zeileis Used a consensus model based on quoted betting odds from 26 bookmakers
Ekstrøm Created an algorithm using Elo ratings and Bet365 betting odds, ran thousands of tournament simulations
Gracenote Based on the Elo system, considers factors such as winning margin, home advantage, and relative strength of teams
Groll et al. Utilized a random forest approach to estimate team ability parameters
Audran et al. Statistical model based on Elo rating, team performances in qualifying rounds, previous World Cup success, and home advantage
Llaneras & Andrino Elo ranking formed the basis, then simulated 10,000 alternative versions of the tournament
Goldman Sachs Employed AI to crunch data on team characteristics, individual players, and recent team performance
FiveThirtyEight Statistical models using ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings
Gilch & Müller Prediction using Poisson regression models incorporating Elo points and team-specific effects
Yuan Predictions based on match results, ranking tables, and game location data
Elo Ratings Based on recent match results, lists the top four rated teams before the start of the tournament
FIFA Rankings Official FIFA team ranking data from June 7, 2018
Consensus A summary of all predictions, assigning a score to each of the top 4 predictions
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1. Did any prediction correctly forecast the winner of the 2018 World Cup?
No, none of the predictions accurately predicted France as the tournament winner.

2. Which prediction stood out among the others?
Goldman Sachs’ prediction differed from the others by not placing France in fourth or worse position.

3. What was the methodology used by the predictions?
The predictions employed various methods, including analyzing bookmaker odds, Elo ratings, statistical modeling, and data on team characteristics, player performance, and recent results.

4. How accurate were these predictions?
While none of the predictions correctly forecasted the winner, they provided insights into the top teams and potential outcomes based on different factors and methodologies.


The predictions made for the 2018 World Cup showcased the diverse approaches utilized to forecast the tournament results. While none of them accurately predicted France as the winner, they shed light on the top teams and potential outcomes based on various factors such as bookmaker odds, Elo ratings, and statistical models. The discrepancies between the predictions highlight the complexity and unpredictability of the World Cup, making it an exhilarating event for football enthusiasts worldwide.

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