Every time the World Cup rolls around, there is always a random animal that can mysteriously predict the entire tournament.
Should we really be trusting an animal with our World Cup betting, though? Surely we should instead put all our faith in the things that now control our lives: technology.
Technische Universitat Dortmund, Ghent University and the Technical University of Munich have developed an AI system that has analysed 100,000 simulations for this summer's tournament in Russia.
Their results show that if you decided to put money on the likes of Brazil, France, Belgium, Argentina or er...England? You may have made a mistake.
Using three different techniques, the system determined that the two teams most likely to win are Germany or Spain.
Their final analysis, published by Cornell University Library, confirmed they used three different models based on the poisson regression models, random forests and ranking methods.
They applied this to performances of teams at the four previous World Cups.
Different factors were placed into the algorithm and the system managed to identify which of the variables was the most important and impactful.
Interestingly, they found that factors such as the number of Champions League players a team has was more important than the nationality of the manager.
The researchers are quoted as saying:
By analyzing the winning probabilities conditional on reaching the single stages of the tournament it turns out that the fact that overall Spain is slightly favoured over Germany is mainly due to the fact that Germany has a comparatively high chance to drop out in the round-of-sixteen
Actually, conditioned that Germany reaches the quarterfinals, it overtakes Spain and is (from this tournament stage on) the favoured team.
Sadly for the likes of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Japan, they were dumped at the other end of the scale and have been given a zero per cent chance of winning.
If you are interested, England was given a 7.1 per cent of lifting the famous trophy on 15 July.
We'll take that, considering that Spain and Germany were given approximately 17 per cent each.
HT IFL Science