Researchers drew data from GitHub user martj42's compiled dataset, which contains the results and statistics of every international game since 1872. They fed the data from all international results since the 2002 World Cup into the model, and also took recent form and FIFA rankings into account.
The model then used Bayesian statistics to predict the most likely score for each match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Bayesian statistics, based on Bayes' theorem, is a dependable approach to determining the probability of random events.
Applying this method to this year’s World Cup fixtures in 100,000 simulations, the AI model picked Brazil as the most likely winner, with a stunning 25% probability.
Explaining how they went about using the model, researchers revealed via a press release (h/t IFLScience):
“After experimenting with our model’s success at predicting the results of the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, we decided to use all international results from the 2002 FIFA World Cup onwards.
“In our training data, we give most importance (weight) to World Cup matches (and then decreasing weight to continental tournaments, qualifiers, and friendlies), and we also give more weight to recent matches. We also feed the official FIFA rankings into our model to provide an up-to-date estimate of team performance.”
The statement continued:
“Brazil are heavy favorites, with around 25% chance of winning, while Belgium and Argentina are also highly rated.”
Belgium came second, Argentina third, France fourth, and England fifth following 100,000 rounds of simulations. Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, and Croatia occupied the next five positions.
The team, however, admitted that they could not take certain things into account, such as the weather, individual brilliance, and penalties.
The statement concluded:
“England fans will be painfully aware that not all teams seem to be equally adept at penalty shootouts.
“However, rather than gather historical data on penalty shootout success, we have taken the simpler approach of assigning a 50/50 chance for which team progresses in the event of a draw during the knockout stages.”
Brazil get off to a roaring start at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Brazil secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Group G rivals Serbia in their 2022 World Cup opener at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Thursday night (24 November). Richarlison scored both of the Selecao’s goal, including a stunning overhead kick, to win the Man of the Match award.
Had the woodwork not come to their aid, things could have been a lot worse for Serbia in the game. Left-back Alex Sandro and defensive midfielder Casemiro hit the post and the crossbar, respectively, in the second half from outside the box.
Brazil ended the match with 22 (8 on target) shots, 59% possession, and 504 completed passes, blowing the Europeans completely out of the water.