Seven Goldman Sachs analysts predict a British victory using the bank’s well-known statistical model, but they also predicted that Spain would be a finalist
Soccer is like that, damn it! ” That’s what Alex Ferguson said when his Manchester United miraculously came back in discount to beat Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final. The iconic coach’s words have become symbolic of the futility of trying to make match predictions soccer. But that doesn’t mean that the global financial elite won’t try.
When England take the field against Italy on Sunday afternoon for their first major tournament final in 55 years, they will have the support of 57 million compatriots, plus seven Goldman Sachs analysts. The well-known statistical model of the Wall Street bank predicts the triumph of the Three Lions. Now, since he also predicted that Spain would reach the final with England and [mucho antes] If Belgium would win the tournament, it will take something like what football fans would call a result.
Unsympathetic City of London observers might compare Goldman’s inability to make football predictions to the ill-advised starting price on Deliveroo’s IPO, whose shares lost as much as 30% on its first day of trading. But the methodology of the predictive model, which looked at the strength of the team, the last goals, the field factor and the so-called tournament effect, which is based on the performance history on the big occasions, is reasonable enough. On May 30, the seven cited analysts correctly predicted that Germany would fall to England in the playoffs, that Denmark would do well and that France would fall short of expectations.
Breakingviews knows what they feel at Goldman. Before the 2014 World Cup, a team of columnists with somewhat more modest salaries worked with similarly objective figures that took into account the FIFA ranking, population, fans and the value of the team, and predicted that Germany would beat Argentina in the end. Puffing out their chests after their success, they applied the same model to predict that England would win the 2015 Rugby World Cup. England fell to the first change.
For the financial guys who can’t resist predictions made with Excel, it should mean something that soccer website Transfermarkt estimates that England’s team is worth about 1.1 billion pounds, compared to 676 for Italy. As with all soccer forecasts, financial forecasts are also based on assumptions. Down-to-earth English pundits might surmise that Goldman has come up with that outrageous stochastic projection after consulting an unknown Croatian full-back. The problem for the bank, and for its many rivals who also use numbers to predict the future, is that they might as well have.