This method correctly predicted the winners in 2010, 2014 and 2018

Argentina appear to be in line to win the 2022 World Cup, so there’s no need to ruin the competition before the first game starts in Qatar. That is if EA Sports’ predictions hold true. Which the company did after simulating the tournament from November 20 through December 18 using FIFA 23 and announcing the winners in advance.

EA Sports played out all 64 matches from the group stage to the final using FIFA 23 and player ratings in detail used for the game’s numerous FIFA World Cup play modes and came to the conclusion that Lionel Messi & Co. are in the prediction of victory. Additionally, according to EA Sports, Messi will take home both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball for being the competition’s top goal scorer and best player, respectively.

Along with four of his Albiceleste teammates—Emiliano Martinez, Marcos Acuna, Leandro Paredes, and Rodrigo De Paul—Messi also earned a spot on the tournament’s predicated All-Star team. Marquinhos, Vinicius Junior, and Richarlison of Brazil, Raphael Varane, Kylian Mbappe of France, and Joao Cancelo of Portugal filled the remaining positions.

Now, before you go ahead and write off EA Sports’ prediction as just another standard PR gimmick. You should know that they have a strong track record of correctly predicting World Cup winners. Similar simulations were done before the 2010 World Cup, 2014 World Cup, and 2018 World Cup. And each time they correctly predicted the eventual champion: Spain, Germany, and France.

Beyond identifying the clear victors, things rapidly start to fall apart because EA Sports also made a number of World Cup predictions that did not come true and did not hold up well over time.

For instance, it was a prediction that Brazil would win their home World Cup in 2014 and get to the final. Experts may recall that in the semifinals, the Selecao was in tears after Germany beating 7-1 and later became the eventual champion, a result that startled the world and traumatised the host nation.

Who will score more goals in FIFA World Cup 2022?
Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 15538 ( 39.38 % )
Lionel Messi
  • 23914 ( 60.62 % )

Also in 2014, EA Sports predicted that Spain, the defending champions, would defeat Portugal, its neighbours, 3-1, in a third-place playoff, although neither team advanced from their group.

The Spanish star Isco was on the prediction list to score five goals at the 2018 World Cup and take home the Golden Boot. The midfielder could get only one goal—against Morocco in the group stage—and La Roja didn’t participate further after losing to the hosts Russia in the round of 16 following a penalty shootout. While Antoine Griezmann only scored four goals to finish second in the scoring rankings as France won their second world championship, the EA Sports simulation for 2018 did forecast that he would also score five goals.

Gabriel Jesus was the best young player in 2018, while David de Gea was expected to be the best goalkeeper. The former received harsh criticism for a terrible handling mistake he made against Portugal in the group stage, while the latter had five appearances before being out of the tournament in the quarterfinals without contributing a single goal for Brazil.

You can’t win them all, though. A 35-game unbeaten streak, two short of Italy’s record of 37 games without a loss, looks like a very sound bet after accurately picking the last three World Cup winners.

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