Goldman Sachs Offers Its Predictions And Cackles Malevolently. I Kid, They Just Offer Wimpy Predictions!
June 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
So the men and women of Goldman Sachs, in an attempt to show their humanity and prove their “non-Borg-ian” qualities, put out a World Cup preview packet. See, guys, they aren’t all corporate wheeler-dealers who use the public coffers to enrich themselves and buffer themselves from failure, they also think Wayne Rooney’s amazing!
Analysis-wise (in theory), these are the cream of the cream that was on top of a crop of cream. They picked 3 out of 4 semifinalists in 1998 and 2006. Evil bastards though they may be, they are smart and often-times correct, as is the wont of evil bastards. So it is with some interest that I looked this thing over.
It’s close to 75 pages long, and since I’m a masochist and a soccer lover, I read the whole thing so you don’t have to.
Goldman Sachs clients voted this 4-3-3 team as favorites:
———— Buffon ————
So I have no idea why Ribery made this, and we’ll ignore the dissonant assignment based on the formation (no All-Star team ever truly makes sense). What else does this tell us about Goldman Sachs clientele?
- They are frontrunning douches who probably only have stadium boxes for business and impressing hot chicks into sleeping with them. Man U, Chelsea, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid are the homes of these players. This is like proclaiming your passion for Star Wars by saying “Dude, that Darth Vader guy is amazing!” The most “underdog” team represented by these players is Juventus. Juventus, otherwise known as the winningest team in Italian history. Way to dig deep and show your fanhood, guys.
- Like most people. they vote for defenders based on what commentators say about them rather than analyze them for themselves. I’m borderline okay with Ashley Cole, but John Terry? And while you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger Dani Alves fan than myself (trust me, there have been some embarrassingly rhapsodic text messages about that man), the fact that Maicon didn’t make the honorable mention list is outrageous. Rio Ferdinand was first-out!
YOU HOLD POWER IN A GOVERNMENT? YOU LIKE (AND BY “LIKE” I MEAN “ARE NOT CONFUSED BY”) SOCCER? WRITE FOR US!
Goldman Sachs being Goldman Sachs, they are able to pull in a quite-powerful lineup of government officials into the packet (business and government blurring together you say? Piffle, dear boy. Since when did you join the Reds?), including: Tito Mboweni, Former South Africa Central Bank Governor; Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov; and Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes.
A LITTLE GOLDMAN SACHS MATHEMATIZING
GS’s odds and probabilities:
1. Brazil – 9/2 – 13.76%
2. Spain – 4/1 – 10.46%
3. Germany – 10/1 – 9.40%
4. England – 11/2 – 9.38%
5. Argentina – 7/1 – 9.08%
6. Netherlands – 11/1 – 7.07%
7. Italy – 12/1 – 6.46%
8. France (!) – 16/1 – 6.13%
9. USA (!!) – 66/1 – 2.81%
10. Serbia – 66/1 – 2.61%
Lookit, if they end up being right on France, and Les Bleus make the quarterfinals, I’ll own to it *rereads that first part, collapses into pile of snorts and guffaws*. But if I’m right, I want a cushy corner office, a cut into the latest “20 and 20” private equity deal, and full immunity from international prosecution for corporate malfeasance. Turnabout’s fair play. Full graph below:
THERE’S POOR FOLK ABOUT, LOOK COMPASSIONATE
Following some of that sterling analysis, our GoldSacks boys make sure to toss out a couple pages to “charity”, where some bland-sounding man puts out a bland-sounding plea to help raise money for education in Africa. This is where I get sorta serious for a moment and link to former GS economist Dambisa Moyo’s website. She wrote a book called “Dead Aid” that is the most clear-headed take on Africa, aid, and the continent’s future available today. She’s positioned herself as the anti-Bono: if that doesn’t commend her to you, I’m at a loss.
ECONO-WONKING THE WORLD CUP
GS then gets into comparing the standard BRIC economic sphere. For those non-wonks, BRIC refers to “Brazil, Russia, India, and China” which is widely considered the big 4 of Growth Countries. It’s interesting for those of us who read policy papers for fun in college (virgins, that is), but everyone else can skip it. Though this excerpted paragraph is worth reading.
Being big is definitely an advantage for countries when it comes to football. The fact that Germany and Italy are the most successful European nations, followed by England and France, almost definitely has something to do with the size of their populations. The more men you have, the more there are to choose from—it is probably that simple. Brazil is easily the largest population country in Latin America, so the same seems true. Being big and wealthy would appear to offer further advantages. Russia has the biggest population of any country that might be regarded as vaguely European but, consistent with their relatively low GES (Growth Environment Score which tracks stuff like corruption and stability –ed.) compared with the likes of a Germany, Russia—so far—has not been able to transform the standards of its national football team, as many would argue it hasn’t for the country as a whole or for people’s living standards.
2006 proved to be a bitter-sweet experience for Australia. Losing to the eventual winner Italy saw Australia emerge as one of the biggest surprises of the 2006 campaign. However, the manner of the loss has not been forgotten. Australians unanimously believe a dive in the Australian box by Italian player Grosso saw Italy awarded a questionable penalty and a 0-1 score line at the 94th minute mark. Australians are much better prepared in 2010, with Russell Crowe seen in the Australian camp teaching the players to fall over convincingly and writhe in pain.
With players of the calibre of Drogba, Kalou, Eboué and the Touré brothers in the Ivorian starting eleven, the connoisseurs among us will be relishing the feast of attacking football in prospect, although expectations may need to be tempered with the arrival of a pragmatic European coach in the form of Sven-Göran Eriksson.
Following a sequence of leveraged buy-outs during the boom years, clubs in England’s Premier League owe an aggregate £3.4bn, as much as all other European clubs put together.We should put that number in a little perspective. English clubs also have half the assets of Europe’s football clubs; £3.4bn is also what the UK government currently borrows every week.
Known more for hobbits, idyllic scenery and brutes in black jerseys crashing into one another on the rugby field than skills with the round ball, New Zealand has come storming back onto the world stage of soccer—well, at least sidled through the back door.
looks very friendly to England, and in an effort to help boost the game in the US, let’s assume they come second! Both Algeria and Slovenia may have good grounds to question this.