The most beautiful tournament of the most beautiful game is upon us, and rabid fans around the world are all claiming that THEIR team will be the one that takes home the FIFA World Cup Trophy in Russia this Summer. We all boast our teams are the best, but that is mostly due to national pride or being a loyal member of the tribe. But, do they really have a shot at winning? Goldman Sachs wanted to find out.

They ran over one million simulations using powerful software and artificial intelligence. They took all the data, ran all the scenarios they can think of, and tried to account for everything that could happen.

Will they be accurate? Possibly. It is hard to take into account the chemistry of teamwork or the Black Swan of a shot hitting a post. But, if you had $1 million to bet, and you could put your internal biases aside, what one team would you place that bet on after looking at all of those simulations?

You go with the most likely and the most predictable. That is the power of simulations. It reduces the options of what could happen next. It is not perfect, but it beats gut feel and throwing darts. If you are not running scenarios to pressure test your strategy and refine your training, you are flipping coins at best. Contact us to learn how to run a simulation or wargame at your organization to increase the likelihood of winning your next trophy.

Incidentally, who did they pick? BRAZIL. We will see if they are right.


By cycling through alternative combinations of variables, we get a sense of which characteristics matter for success and which stay on the bench. We then use the model to predict the number of goals scored in each possible encounter of the tournament and use the unrounded score to determine the winner.”–Goldman Sachs, June 2018