Supercomputer predicts Argentina and Lionel Messi will be the ones to lift the 2022 World Cup

Lionel Messi Argentina World Cup 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images/BCA Research)

A supercomputer has predicted that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face each other in the final of World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab), with Messi's Argentina expected to beat Ronaldo's Portugal in a penalty shootout in Qatar. 

The research, conducted by BCA Research, has been published in special report 'The Most Important Of All Unimportant Forecasts 2nd Edition: 2022 FIFA World Cup (opens in new tab)'. BCA Research has based the outcome of the tournament on player statistics from the EA Sport FIFA game, as well as a sample of 192 group stage games and 64 knockout rounds played during the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.

Quite frankly, the mathematics and rationale behind the research has gone straight over FourFourTwo's head, the boffins at BCA Research clearly a lot cleverer than us. However, what is apparent is that they have predicted Messi to be the player lifting the trophy on December 18 – while the bookies' only have them fourth in the World Cup favourites betting odds.

BCA Research stated: “After much deliberation, we believe that when all is said and done, Argentina and Lionel Messi will be the ones to lift the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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"How confident are we about our choice for winner? While we are happy with our pick, Argentina will face many close games throughout the knockout stage, with the final being essentially a coin-toss. 

"Thus, their probability to win the cup [sic] stands at only 7%, even as favourites."

BCA Research has also determined that a penalty shootout in the final between Argentina and Portugal is most likely, with the former nation superior when it comes to spot kicks. Argentina have won four of their five shootouts in World Cups, scoring with a 77 per cent success rate.

Portugal, meanwhile, have only ever faced one penalty shootout, against England in 2006, scoring three out of their five attempts to yield a 60 per cent success rate.

The research also took into account that Argentina are in a much better vein of form currently, having not lost since July 2019 and lifting the Copa America last summer. 

Elsewhere, England are expected to perform strongly but fall short in the latter rounds once again. Ranked as the most valuable squad set to play in Qatar, the research also factored in that England are many of the bookmakers' favourites to win the tournament. 

BCA Research does suggest that England can't be entirely dismissed from winning the tournament altogether, though, because, after all, the research is based on probability. 

"Our model predicts that England will once again fall short, losing in a close semi-final game against Portugal. Still, anything could happen in a close game, and considering the talent in Gareth Southgate’s squad, it would be unwise to dismiss it altogether.

"While an economic turnaround remains too ambitious, the 2022 World Cup remains a great chance for England to regain its former glory on the football pitch."

Regardless of England's chances, Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo in the final of the World Cup is something everyone wants to see. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.