Twitter users back Brazil to win World Cup

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In the first of our regular World Cup analysis posts, we look at which team people are backing to win the tournament on social media, and whether the bookies agree.

Every football fan has an opinion when asked the question ‘Who will win the World Cup?’ Among the fevered anticipation and partisan passion, seasoned pundits, bookmakers, esteemed statisticians and fans all know who they’re backing to win the tournament and they’re not afraid to share their view.

These predictions are being made every day on Twitter (alongside loads more World Cup conversation). We’ve looked at the people bold enough to make a definitive prediction and calculated the results.

It’s hardly a surprise that the bookies’ favourites are Brazil and our research has found that the global Twitter population agrees. Around 30% of people in our global sample back the host nation.

Beyond the top spot things are a little different. Spain are Twitter’s second pick with 21% whereas the bookies, along with many pundits, have put Argentina in second place. Twitter users haven’t discounted the Argentinian team however – they come in third with 13% of global predictions.

Fans are getting behind their own nations too. In the UK, 34% of predictors back the England boys, while 85% of Brazilian predictions favour their nation to win the competition. Self-confidence is also high in Spain (43% think Spain will repeat their 2010 win), Argentina (63% say Argentina), France, Chile and Portugal.

Germany are fourth favourites among Twitter users globally but German tweeters proffered a much lower volume of predictions than the other nations in our sample.

Although it’s possible that this is the result of a less active Twitter community, we prefer to think German fans are simply waiting for an exotic creature to help their predictions along.

The pundits, bookies and fans fancy Brazil, and respected statisticians are on board too. Nate Silver’s Soccer Power Index gives Brazil a 99.3% chance of progressing from Group A and ranks them as tournament favourites based on an algorithmic model.

Regardless of which team eventually proves us all right or wrong we’re looking forward to a fantastic World Cup, and throughout we’ll be running a World Cup of our own.

During the competition we’ll be highlighting the social media winners and losers, the key moments and epic fails, the players and personalities who cause a stir and spark online conversation. If it makes people talk we’ll be there, and at the end of it all we’ll be dishing out some awards to wrap up the social media stories that will make this the first truly social World Cup.

Methodology: We used Sysomos to identify definitive predictions about who would be the World Cup winners. This was done at a global level using six languages – English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian. Further, we also looked at these predictions on a national basis across the 13 top footballing nations.