Can competitiveness indicators complement traditional football-related variables to identify potential winners of the 2018 World Cup? The IMD World Competitiveness Center research team along with IMD Research Associate Dr. Maude Lavanchy, undertook this task. The outcome can be explored below. You can choose one out of five criteria that come from the IMD Executive Opinion Survey to find out which country could advance and ultimately win the  World Cup.

The IMD World Competitiveness Football Cup is a simulation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament, where each participating country’s performance depend on a combination of its football and economic achievements.

Specifically, each country is allocated a score based on a survey question from the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, the FIFA World Men’s Ranking and some other criteria (GDP per capita, happiness index, youth employment and % of players in the national team playing in the home league).

In order to bring each variable to the same unit, a z-score was computed for each criterion. The final score of each country is then a weighted sum of each of these individual scores. Finally, a random variable was also included to each country’s individual score for each game, in order to incorporate the uncertainty associated to each football game (e.g. players’ injury, referee decisions, players’ form, etc.).

The weighting applied to each score is as follows:

Based on each country’s score, each game is played following the 2018 FIFA World Cup schedule. In the group stage, a country gets 3 points for a win (i.e. a larger score than its opponent), 0 for a loss and 1 for a draw (i.e. when the difference between the two score was smaller than 0.2). In the knock-out stage, the country with the highest score progresses to the next stage.

*For countries not in the WCY database, data from another country with a similar GDP per capita, ideally in the same region, was inputted as a proxy. The countries impacted by this issue (as their proxy country) are: Costa Rica (Brazil); Egypt (Ukraine); Iran (Thailand); Morocco (Mongolia); Nigeria (India); Panama (Chile); Senegal (India); Serbia (Bulgaria); Tunisia (Mongolia); Uruguay (Chile).