World Cup Predictions: Spain, Brazil, Germany, or Russia
The 2018 FIFA World Cup began Thursday in Russia. Football fans have waited four years to see their favorite teams compete for the world championship.
It is the year's biggest sporting event. People across the world are already making their predictions for which team will win.
Professional bookmakers create odds, which use large amounts of information to measure the probabilities for winners and losers. People use those odds to decide which teams to bet on. The bookmakers then pay off those bets.
For 2018, the bookmaker odds clearly favor Brazil to win the World Cup. Defending champion Germany is second, with Spain and France not far behind.
But this year, several groups have also turned to machine learning and artificial intelligence, or AI, for predictions.
One of the groups is a research team from Germany. Andreas Groll of the Technical University of Dortmund led the group.
In a report on the results, Groll said his team used computers to simulate the whole World Cup competition 100,000 times. Machine learning was used to predict the expected number of goals made by each team in each game. The prediction method combined large amounts of information on the teams' abilities and individual players' performances from the past.
So who did Groll's machines pick as the winner? The results chose Spain as the most likely World Cup champion, with a probability of 17.8 percent. Germany was next, followed by Brazil, France and Belgium.
However, Groll's team said it could not predict Spain as the sure winner. This is because of the way the World Cup competition is structured.
The reason Spain has a small lead over Germany is mostly because Germany has a higher chance of not making it to the quarterfinals. But if Germany does make it to the quarterfinals, the German team would actually be favored to beat Spain, the researchers said.
In another recent prediction created through machine learning, the financial company Goldman Sachs chose Brazil as the 2018 World Cup winner. Germany was chosen as the team most likely to lose to Brazil.
The company said its method was based on 200,000 data models and 1 million simulations of the whole World Cup. Machines examined information on the teams and players' abilities, as well as past performances. In 2014, Goldman Sachs also predicted Brazil to win the World Cup. But Germany actually ended up winning the 2014 championship.
Many people who are interested in the 2018 World Cup will surely take note of the numbers-based predictions by bookmakers and AI machines.
But others might choose to believe the choices of a cat said to have psychic abilities. The cat, named Achilles, lives in Russia's Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
Achilles officially works there as a mouse catcher. But some locals say the animal is also able to predict future happenings. So far, he has only predicted one World Cup match, the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia. When offered a choice between two containers of food, Achilles chose the one with a Russian flag.
The choice could be seen as a good luck sign for Russia's team. Even though Russia is holding the World Cup, its team is rated the lowest of any of the 32 competing.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.good luck 好运
He attributes his success to good luck.
2.the World Cup 世界杯
I hope still to be in the side when the World Cup comes around next year.
3.the world championship 世界冠军
That baseball team appeared to be a match for the world championship.
4.pay off 付清
I'll pay off my debt with this check.
5.Machines examined information on the teams and players' abilities, as well as past performances.
as well as 和...一样；也
Moral as well as financial support was what the West should provide.
She can play tennis as well as basketball.
6.But Germany actually ended up winning the 2014 championship.
ended up 结束；最终
She could have ended up a millionairess.
I ended up in hospital with facial injuries.
专业博彩公司利用大量信息统计出胜者和败者的概率并开出赔率。人们根据赔率决定投注哪支球队 。之后博彩公司会清偿这些赌注 。
其中一个研究团队来自德国。多特蒙德工业大学的安德烈亚斯·格罗尔（Andreas Groll）是该团队的负责人 。
该公司表示，这一预测方法基于20万数据模型和100万场世界杯模拟比赛。机器考察了各支球队和球员的能力以及过往表现 。高盛2014年曾预测巴西会夺得世界杯，不过最终被德国捧走了世界杯 。
“阿喀琉斯”的正式职业是抓老鼠。不过，一些当地人表示，它还可以预测未来 。截至目前，它只预测了一场世界杯赛事——俄罗斯和沙特的揭幕战 。“阿喀琉斯”在两种食物容器中选中了俄罗斯国旗 。