Who will win the 2018 Football World Cup?


What will be the winning team of the Russian Football World Cup this year? Each of us has his own favorite team and on July 15th we will really find out who will pick up the cup to heaven. A group of researchers at the University of Dortmund, Germany, has developed an algorithm based on artificial intelligence to find out in advance who will win.

One thing is certain: unfortunately, Romania's team will not win the world football championship :). Who will raise the world cup at the Lužniki stadium in Moscow on July 15th? Among the favorite teams are Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain. We may still have surprises! Today we already know that Argentina has serious problems in passing groups, and Germany has not started as most people expected.

If we take the bookmakers, the favorite team is Brazil (16.6%), followed by Germany (12.8%) and Spain (12.5%).

Many of those who follow matches include, of course, many researchers working in various fields. Among them a group of artists active in the field of artificial intelligence, who have chosen to use the most advanced techniques and methods to discover from now on who will win the championship.

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The team of scientists at the Technical University of Dortmund conducted computer simulations using the so-called machine learning procedure, publishing the results on arXiv (the Cornell University database used for scientific articles that are later published in official journals) .

Researchers at the University of Dortmund have programmed the computer that the help of a mathematical algorithm that "learns" to understand what are the most important variables for calculating the various processes and associated probabilities. This algorithm teaches learning - machine learning.

Thus, researchers have written a program in which they have introduced various variables for teams participating in the world football championship, such as: FIFA national team rankings, average player age, players' value on the football market, how rich (gross domestic product) is the coach's nationality, age and nationality, etc. The algorithm has been trained to understand what are the major variables with the results of the matches that have been played in the world championships since 2002. The algorithm decides how important the variables are in the game by applying it tens of thousands of times present about 100,000 times). Finally, the result obtained gives the most probable solution taking into account the variables considered and the history (processes) with which it was trained.

What is the conclusion of the researchers?

The most important factors, and no wonder, are the FIFA rankings, the bookmakers' quote and the number of Champions League participations of the national team's footballers. There are also a number of variables that are not important, such as: the nationality of the coaches or the number of inhabitants in the nations participating in the championship.

Who will win the championship from the point of view of artificial intelligence? The team indicated by the supercomputer is that of Spain, which gives the algorithm 17.8% chance of winning.

However, the situation is not that simple. If Germany can get through the finals, it could have very strong teams and the probability of qualifying in the quarterfinals is 58%. For the Spanish team this probability is much higher, about 73%. However, if both teams qualify in the quarter-finals and restart the simulation on the computer, they will win the German team.

In another simulation, the researchers made about 100,000 complete individual simulations - in this case the most likely scenario is that the final is played by Germany and Brazil - and Germany's team is given a winner.

Spain, Germany or none of them? On July 15, we will see if artificial intelligence has given the correct answer or, on the contrary, a totally wrong one.

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