The Beautiful Game Meets the Dismal Science
Economists are often accused of imperialism - economics can be applied to everything. The Nobel prize-winner Gary Becker, who passed away recently, was renowned for applying economics to things such as crime and the family. Economists have even applied their insights to football (or soccer) - see, for example, the Soccernomics blog and the Soccernomics book. PwC and Goldman Sachs have recently produced reports on who they think will win the World Cup - their reports are available here and here. PwC thinks that England will do well to progress from the 'group of death' and that Brazil will win. Goldman Sachs predicts that Brazil will beat Argentina in the final. Unlike the Olympics, GDP is not a good predictor of success at the World Cup. Instead, footballing tradition is a very good predictor of success.