Not wanting to spoil the tournament before the first ball is kicked in Qatar, it looks like Argentina can go ahead and celebrate winning the 2022 World Cup. That’s if EA Sports’ predictions hold up after the company used FIFA 23 to simulate the event from November 20 to December. 18 and preventively crown the champions.
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Using FIFA 23 and the detailed player ratings used for the various FIFA World Cup game modes, EA Sports played all 64 matches from the group stage to the final and determined that Lionel Messi & Co. are destined for glory. In addition, according to EA Sports, Messi will win the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball for being the top scorer and the best player, respectively, of the tournament.
Messi also entered the predicted Team of the Tournament, where he was joined by four of his albiceleste teammates in Emiliano Martinez, Marcos Acuna, Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo De Paul. The remaining spots were filled by Marquinhos, Vinicius Junior and Richarlison do Brasil; Raphael Varane and Kylian Mbappe from France, and João Cancelo from Portugal.
Now, before you go ahead and dismiss the EA Sports prediction as just another common PR stunt, you should know that they have an impressive track record when it comes to successfully predicting World Cup winners. They ran similar simulations before the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, and each time chose the correct tournament winner: Spain, Germany and France respectively.
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) November 8, 2022
However, in addition to picking out the outright winners, things quickly start to fall apart with EA Sports also offering a fair amount of World Cup prophecies that didn’t happen and haven’t aged well.
For example, Brazil was predicted to reach the World Cup final in 2014. Scholars may recall that the Selection in fact, it was utterly humiliated 7-1 by eventual winner Germany in the semi-finals – a result that shocked the world and left the host country traumatized.
Also in 2014, EA Sports predicted defending champions Spain would beat neighboring Portugal 3-1 in a third-place playoff, only for neither team to drop out of the group.
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Spanish international Isco was supported to win the Golden Boot with five goals at the 2018 World Cup. In fact, the midfielder managed to score just once (against Morocco in the group stage) La Roja fell to hosts Russia in the round of 16 after a penalty shootout. However, the EA Sports simulation for 2018 predicted that Antoine Griezmann would also score five goals, and in reality, he scored four times to finish second on the leaderboard as France claimed their second world title.
Also in 2018, David de Gea was set to be crowned best goalkeeper, with Gabriel Jesus receiving the applause for best young player. The former was widely criticized for a terrible handling error against Portugal in the group stage, while the latter played five games before being eliminated in the quarterfinals for failing to score a single goal for Brazil.
Still, you can’t win them all. And, after correctly predicting the last three World Cup winners, backing the team who are on a 35-game undefeated streak – two behind Italy’s record 37 games without defeat – seems like a pretty good decision.