Brazil clear favorite to win World Cup, financial analysts say

Fri May 16, 2014 1:51pm EDT
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By Silvio Cascione

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil is the clear-cut favorite to win a sixth World Cup title, confirming on home turf its reputation as a soccer superpower, according to a global survey of over 120 football-loving market analysts polled by Reuters.

Brazil was the best bet for over half of the respondents, way ahead of Germany and arch-rivals Argentina, as international soccer fans vie for one of the millions of tickets to cheer on their home country after the first kick off on June 12.

"Brazil are the big favorites. It will be very difficult for Brazil to lose there," said John Welch, a strategist with CIBC in Toronto. "But because of the way (Brazil's coach) Felipao plays, they are not going to be winning by 3 or 4 goals every time like they did in 1950 until the final."

Market professionals from across the world who regularly participate in Reuters economic polls were invited to showcase their forecasting powers on sporting matters. Most responses came from Europe and South America, in line with the greater presence of both regions in the 32-team tournament.

However, being the favorite of analysts and bookmakers should not cause too much enthusiasm in Brazil, according to Reuters polls on previous World Cup tournaments.

Although most were right in predicting Spain's glory before the 2010 South Africa cup, economists failed miserably in forecasting Italy's fourth title in 2006.

Some used sophisticated statistical models to predict World Cup results but were beaten by Paul, an Octopus living in a aquarium at Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, who picked the right winner in 12 out of 14 matches in the latest cup.

A Reuters Breakingviews calculator based on the hard numbers – the players' transfer value, population, participation and public engagement – suggested Germany will squash the dream of a sixth win for Brazil.   Continued...

Brazilian national soccer team head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gestures during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro May 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Sergio Moraes