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And the World Cup winner is …

And the World Cup winner is …

Forget pundits’ speculation and FIFA rankings: Lloyd’ of London predicts that France will be the winner of soccer’s World Cup, which kicks off on Thursday in Russia.

Aiming to go 2-0 in the sports prediction business — having correctly called the 2014 tournament for current champions Germany — Lloyd’s and its research partner, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, ranked the 32 national teams competing based on insurable value.

France tops the insurance tables with £1.4 billion ($1.88 billion) in insurable value. Fans of England — not fancied by most experts — will be pleased to learn that their team ranks second with players worth £1.17 billion.

Fans of Germany and Brazil, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 by FIFA, however, may be disappointed if their progress follows the insurance rankings rather than the international soccer federation’s ranking, as their teams are worth just £1.05 billion and £1.1 billion, respectively.

Rank outsider, according to Lloyd’s, is Panama, whose team’s insurable value is less than the average value of one player in the England squad, whom they will meet on the field June 24. No pressure, England.




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