Sorry, Brazil — the next World Cup winner won’t be the host country.
So says EA Sports, at least.
The company simulated the upcoming World Cup using its 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil game, running all 32 teams through the brackets in an effort to predict the winner. In an exceptionally tight finale, Germany edged out Brazil 2-1, earning its fourth World Cup title and becoming the first European country to win it in South America.
It wasn’t an easy ascent. Germany got a big scare from Spain in the semifinal round, beating the defending Word Cup champs 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a scoreless match. Brazil had its own issues dealing with Uruguay in the quarters, turning a 2-2 tie into a win courtesy of a 4-3 shootout victory.
The final game was equally tense. All-world forward Neymar drew first blood, scoring his sixth goal of the tournament to give Brazil the early lead. The Germans wouldn’t give up another, however, eventually finding gold in a Per Mertesacker header and ultimately winning it all in extra time thanks to a late goal from Miroslav Klose. That was his second goal of the tournament and his 16th in World Cup play, a new all-time mark.
How’d the U.S. fare? Not so hot, unfortunately. The Americans wound up with three ties and didn’t move out of their group.
That, at least, is how EA sees it playing out. And while it’s easy to write this off as just a stupid video game sim, there’s precedent here: EA’s 2010 version of FIFA World Cup correctly predicted that Spain would win the trophy that year. EA also has a solid track record predicting the Super Bowl with its Madden games, racking up an 8-2 record before totally blowing it for Super Bowl XLVIII.
With Paul the octopus sadly out of the picture (he passed on shortly after the 2010 World Cup), FIFA might be your best bet for picking a World Cup winner … unless these baby pandas start grabbing the right flags.
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