FIFA World Cup 2018 Winners

FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia will arrive with its fair share of uncertainties. Can this year’s tournament overcome the challenges that have been brought into question and deliver an event that will mark the turning of a new page for tournament stakeholders? Will the host’s be able to mitigate the potential risks, from fan violence concerns to geo-political tensions and deliver an experience that is commercially comparable, or even superior than previous tournaments? These are all questions that when analysing this event we have sought to answer. On a day-to-day basis, the Euromonitor Sports team analyses the economic opportunities that sports entities can deliver, but as sports fans, we’re aware that we must not become disconnected and desensitised from the very underpinnings that deliver value; the skill, excitement, pressure, and every other attribute that comes with top flight professional sports. So, for just a moment, we’re taking a step away from the partners looking to use the tournament as a platform to grow visibility, from the number of fans, from the economic cost and expected benefits of hosting the tournament, instead, we’re answering the question – who is actually going to win?

How did we do it?

Source: Euromonitor International

*Sum of aggregated points of past World Cups according to Football performance model defined in the briefing The Economics of Performance in Top-Flight Football, available at

To determine the most likely world champion we take into consideration a set of nine different factors, ranging from the total value of the roster of a team, to the similarities of climate between participating countries and host Russia. Calculating the final score, we do not only consider current strength of the team or the domestic league, but also try not to neglect football tradition in the country looking at its historic World Cup performance since 1930. The share of population engaged in football in the country, much credited to Iceland’s successful performance in Euro 2016, finds itself in the calculations as well. In addition, global popularity in terms of digital following, is taken into account as one of many facets of winning performance and success.

Team player value and how it relates to domestic leagues

Five top World Cup teams according to the player value – one of the prime calculation criteria – are France, Spain, Brazil, England and Germany. Players of these national teams almost exclusively play in the top four European leagues – English Premier League, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga and Spanish La Liga. England makes an extreme case with all 23 players playing at home in EPL. 17 and 15 Spanish and German players play in their domestic La Liga and Bundesliga accordingly. France, the most expensive team in the tournament this year, gathers less than half of its squad from Ligue 1 – 11 and five of them from Paris Saint-Germain club. The Brazilian team is more geographically diverse, with a fair distribution among top leagues as well as two players playing their professional football in Ukraine (Shakhtar Donetsk) and one in China (Beijing Guoan).

Table 1

Source: Euromonitor International

Chart 1

Source: Euromonitor Interantional

And the result is…

Brazil winning the FIFA World Cup 2018, becoming champions for the sixth time in history, and at the same time taking revenge on Germany for the infamous 7-1 trashing four years ago in Belo Horizonte. France wins the third-place play-off against Spain. Brazil will boast not only top selection, featuring Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus among others, as well as the second position in FIFA ranking, but will also be backed by the largest global fan base among all World Cup participants, as showcased by social media stats analysis. Deep rooted traditions and popularity of football in the nation will shine throughout the tournament and should help Seleção advance to the final stages and maybe lift the cup in the evening of July 15 in Luzhniki Stadium.

There are no World Cup without surprises and Russia 2018 will hardly be one. Maybe a fairy-tale of a small nation or a premature collapse of a top team will break our predictions into pieces, but after all, that’s also a beauty of football. Good World Cup, everyone.

Your Sports team.

Further insights are available in the webinar, ‘The Influence of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Global Domestic Football Leagues’. To receive the complimentary recording, visit: