World Cup 2022: thanks to artificial intelligence and 100,000 simulations, researchers have predicted the big winner

Put aside your own predictions, forget Paul the octopus and trust theartificial intelligence to predict the winner of the 2022 World Cup. This is what a group of researchers did, and they found a big winner.

Credit: jcamilobernal/iStock

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An AI model from the Alan Turing Institute in London has predicted the outcome of football’s biggest competition without you having to watch it. To make this prediction, the team needed data, and fortunately, it is especially present in football. The researchers used all the data compiled by GitHub user martj42, which presents the results and statistics of every international match since 1872. Just that!

“In our training data, we give the most importance to World Cup matches, followed by continental tournaments, qualifiers and friendlies. We’re also making sure that recent matches get a head start. Finally, we also incorporate official FIFA rankings into our model to provide an up-to-date estimate of team performance.” explained the Alan Turing Institute team in a press release

The algorithm, based on a previous model used for non-international matches, then uses Bayesian statistics to predict the most likely score for each match, an approach based on Bayesian inference. It is a method of statistical inference by which one calculates the probabilities of various hypothetical causes from the observation of past events. By excluding the data relating to these World Cups, the team was able to test the predictive capacities of its model by asking it to predict a World Cup (for example 2018) already played, whose winners are known.

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A study based on 100,000 simulations

By applying the method to all the matches of this World Cup in 100,000 simulations, they found the most likely winners for this 2022 edition. “Brazil are the heavy favourites, with around a 25% chance of winning, while Belgium and Argentina are also highly rated” can we read in the study report. According to the analysis, Brazil are the most likely to win the world Cup, Belgium is second, Argentina third, France fourth and England fifth. Spain comes next, followed by the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and Croatia.

The team points out that there are other factors they cannot factor into their models, including weather, adapting to time zones, and exceptional player performance, not to mention penalty shootouts. For this last criterion, “rather than collecting historical data on penalty shootout success, we’ve taken a simpler approach by assigning a 50/50 chance to which team will progress in the event of a draw in the knockout stages”.

See you in the final on December 18 to check this prediction!

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World Cup 2022: thanks to artificial intelligence and 100,000 simulations, researchers have predicted the big winner

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