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Success Formula for Jogi's Boys

Despite the outcome of the test match, Germany has a good shot at the World Cup title – at least if you ask the actuaries as ARAG SE. Our mathematicians estimated the chances of each of the 32 teams that will play in the final round of the FIFA World Cup based on a formula developed specifically for the purpose. According to their calculations, the German team has the best prospects – followed closely by the hosts from Brazil. Whereas Australia is ranked as least likely to win the Cup. The ARAG actuaries factored a total of 11 different parameters into their equation.

Actuaries are accustomed to working with figures. They estimate everyday risks so that people can protect themselves effectively and affordably against them. This requires the mathematicians to determine the likelihood that a given event will occur and the resulting claims costs. That sounds complicated, because it is. But what does it have to do with soccer and the World Cup? To quote ex-DFB coach Jupp Derwall, “Soccer is not a simple game.” Thus the ARAG actuaries took it upon themselves to develop a statistical method to predict the outcome of the World Cup.

“For prediction purposes we calculated a success factor for each of the national teams competing in the World Cup,” explains Dr. Mario Siewert, an ARAG actuary and co-initiator of the project. “The higher this factor is, the greater the probability that the country in question will win the title.” This factor is calculated on the basis of past World Cup victories, the likelihood that a team will make it to the final and the country’s current position in the FIFA world rankings. Such factors as the level of enthusiasm in each country (as expressed by the average crowd size at matches played at the highest national level), team experience (the number of international matches played) and the team’s mean age and market value are also taken into account. The home field advantage of the Brazilian national team was figured in as well.

The ARAG mathematicians came up with the following results: Germany ranks first among the top seven favored teams, heading the list with a success factor of 3.14, followed closely by host Brazil (3.11). Italy and Spain are also among the favorites – with the team from Argentina not far behind. The teams from England and Uruguay also post good success factors and assume the role of dark horses according to this calculation. Australia ranks last with a success factor of - 0.37.
Will things go as the mathematicians predict? That question will be answered at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on 13 July. The mathematicians from ARAG are not alone in crossing their fingers for the German team in hopes that one of the all-time pearls of wisdom uttered by legendary coach Otto Rehhagel will not come true: “Sometimes you lose, and sometimes the other team wins.”


Ranking according to ARAG's success formular

Success Factor
Germany 3.14
Brazil 3.11
Italy 2.78
Spain 2.74
Argentina 2.33
England 2.08
Uruguay 2.07
France 1.79
Netherlands 1.40
Belgium 1.24
Portugal 1.10
Colombia 1.06
Switzerland 0.95
Croatia 0.91
USA 0.81
Russia 0.79
Greece 0.78
Ivory Coast 0.77
Chile 0.75
Mexico 0.42
Ecuador 0.41
Costa Rica 0.31
Japan 0.31
Algeria 0.30
Bosnia / Hercegovina 0.27
Honduras 0.27
Iran 0.17
Ghana 0.07
Cameroun -0.07
Nigeria -0.19
South Korea -0.24
Australia -0.37