Brazil to win the World Cup

Brazil will meet Italy in the World Cup final with the South Americans coming out on top, according to a computer simulation performed by academics in Northern Ireland.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  June 4, 2002

Brazil will meet Italy in the World Cup final with the South Americans coming out on top, according to a computer simulation performed in the UK.

Researchers at the University of Ulster analysised all of the fixtures taking place in South Korea and Japan over the next month and predicted the results based on a range of factors. These included the Fifa world rankings, the distance teams have to travel to compete, the effects of having to switch between Japan and Korea and the amount of rest between matches.

The aim of the project is to assess whether computers are better at predicting events like the World Cup than humans. Five football-mad professors have also made their predictions, but they went for Argentina beating Italy in the final.

“The result of our research is a classic case of head versus heart. Number crunching against subjective judgement,” Dr Peter O’Donoghue, a lecturer in sports studies at the University of Ulster, told the BBC programme, Go Digital.

“It will be interesting to see how the tournament pans out and whether the human brain or the computer is the best way of analysing such unpredictable contests as a World Cup,” he added.

Dr O’Donoghue is backing in the computer.

“In all honesty I think the simulation will be closest. Yesterday for the first time in my life I went to a betting shop and put £20 on a Brazil-Italy final,” he admitted.

The Boys from Brazil got off to good start, beating Turkey 2-1 in their first game.

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