Surely, Brazil will win the 2022 World Cup. Betting markets have them as favourites, followed by Argentina. Brazil has won the World Cup five times before, so they have a great track record. But EA Sports ran the World Cup through its popular FIFA football game and found Argentina would beat Brazil in the final. Either way, everyone is looking for the South Americans to win. But we disagree. We apply our world-class analytical skills, add a bit of English humour, and find England will win the World Cup!
How do we arrive at that shocking view? Well, here is our threefold line of attack:
- 22 is England’s lucky number. The World Cup is being held in the year 2022, or ‘22 for short. The last time England won the World Cup was in 1966. And what does 1966 add up to?
1 + 9 + 6 + 6 = 22
They won in 1966 – or 22, as I like to call it – and we are in the year (20)22, so it is England’s time.
- England have form. In the last World Cup in 2018, England reached the semi-finals only to be beaten 2-1 in extra time. Then in the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, which was played in 2021, England reached the final. This time Italy beat them on penalties. The pattern is clear: semi-finals, finals… 2022 World Cup Winner.
- England is most represented in the most valuable football club squads. There are different ways to value a football club, but our preferred metric is the transfer value of the entire squad. On that basis, we find nine squads worth EUR750mn or more. Manchester City has the most valuable squad at over EUR1bn – thanks to players like Erling Haaland (Norway, EUR170mn), Phil Foden (England, EUR110mn) and Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium, EUR80mn).
But here is where it gets interesting. If we look at which national team players are most represented across these nine most valuable clubs, we find England comes out on top with 19 (Table 1). Manchester City – thought to be the best club in the world – has five, and so do Chelsea and Arsenal. The next most represented is Spain with 18 players followed by Brazil and France with 16. So, if the most valuable clubs pick England, then so do we to win the World Cup.
Our scientific approach gives a clear result – England will win. The path to victory may be difficult. If England win their group, they are likely to play the surprisingly talented Senegal. An England win would then mean a likely face-off with France in the quarterfinals. Assuming England beat them, then it is Germany in the semi-finals and Brazil in the final. It is not the easiest route, but England have a lot to play for – not least the reputation of the nation, which has taken a battering in recent months with three prime ministers.
Our analysis is not all affected by the fact that the author supports England, nor that he predicted England would win the last World Cup. Instead, our updated threefold analysis is the sturdiest foundation on which to base our forecasts. England will win. Football is coming home.