England's thumping 6-1 victory over Panama this week has had Goldman Sachs' stock-picking monkeys scrambling to update their World Cup prediction model, which is now forecasting a final showdown between Brazil and the English national team when the tournament draws to a close next month.
The investment bank used machine learning tools analysing over 1000 variations to predict a Germany-Brazil final ahead of the tournament.
However, Germany's underwhelming performances thus far and England's surprise resurgence has led to a recalibration of the original model, factoring in goal differences as the tournament progresses.
"We continue to predict that Belgium will top Group G, ahead of England, using the unrounded goal difference as the tie-breaker on points. After a projected victory over Colombia in the Round of 16, we now expect England to meet Mexico in the quarter-finals, rather than meeting Germany," says Goldman Sachs in a note. "This tips the outcome in England’s favour, as they are projected to defeat Mexico, before overcoming Spain — just — in the semi-finals. In turn, this would set up a Brazil—England final on 15 July (though those hoping for an England victory should look away now)."
Brazil are still forecast to claim the trophy, although Goldman analysts caution that the winning probabilities are finely balanced.
"France still commands the greatest chance of winning, given that we expect more decisive results in the knockout stages... The four most probable winners are (in descending order) France, Brazil, Belgium and England."