To celebrate the beginning of the most important sport event of the year, we have set-up a World Cup based on trade exports in goods.
We have followed the same groups as those drawn in the official World Cup and we have created a ranking based on 2016 export of goods reported by the IMF through its International Financial Statistics database.
Notably some big teams are missing: USA, China, Netherlands (such a waste of the Rotterdam effect!), Italy (sigh!) … Their footballers were not as good as their exporters.
Being a great football nation does not always mean being great at exporting
Group A: nothing to do for Egypt and Uruguay against the big oil and gas producers.
Group B: in this context Cristiano Ronaldo can’t save Portugal, but after the new American sanctions, Iran should be concerned for the next World Cup.
Group C: Solid performance of France. We are not sure if the Socceroos from “down under” will be able to qualify in Russia, but in this case they used their ability to trade primary goods and their best.
Group D: the “death group” in the official World Cup is actually the weakest group in our trade competition.
Group E: pharmaceuticals, food, and measurement instruments pushed the Swiss to the top of this group. Well, possibly the first two places will be swapped in Russia.
Group F: this is our “death group” with Germany and South Korea smashing the hope of Mexico which would have qualified if part of most of the other groups.
Group G: it was a close race for the first place but thanks to the port of Antwerp, Belgium got it over England (data just for England not entire UK).
Group G: Not a chance for Colombia and Senegal against Japan and Poland. In Russia it will be quite different.
The knock-out stage, who will be the winner?
In the first stage we used absolute values to determine the ranking. In the knock-out stage we were able to create plausible football scores based on these absolute values.
Leg of 16: England is out! Nothing to do against the export focussed Japanese (however, we bet that sport fans would like this kind of combination).
Amongst commodity exporters, only Russia and Australia were able to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Quarter-finals: It’s (almost) all about Europe with the exception of South Korea: semi-conductors were stronger than the Antwerp’s port.
Tough game between the two export giants, with Germany winning by the minimum margin against Japan.
Semi-finals: it will be a Euro area final. Germany and France are just great exporters.
Final: as a former captain of England’s team, Gary Lineker, once said: “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”.
Well, it looks like this is also true in our trade World Cup.
P.S. if you are interested to the data we used, here’s the complete table.
*Data for England are from ONS; Iran data refer to 2015.