The S&P custom index group created a methodology to calculate the Golden Boot Indicator (GBI) in order to speculate on the most likely winner. S&P took the goal-scoring totals for 12 of the worldÆs most proficient goal scorers and divided by the number of games each has played over the past four years, beginning at the 2002 World Cup.
The firm's analysis suggests Les BleusÆ Henry is most likely to lift the trophy, with a GBI of 0.6756 (152 goals scored in 225 games played). This suits your correspondent, who drew France in the office pool. HereÆs S&P's full GBI results:
Thierry Henry, France: 225 games, 152 goals, GBI 0.6756
Adriano, Brazil: 160 games, 105 goals, GBI 0.6563
Ruud van Nistelrooy, Netherlands: 189 games, 124 goals, GBI 0.6561
Ronaldo, Brazil: 165 games, 106 goals, GBI 0.6424
David Trezeguet, France: 146 games, 88 goals, GBI 0.6027
Luca Toni, Italy: 95 games, 55 goals, GBI 0.5789
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine: 159 games, 92 goals, GBI 0.5786
Michael Owen, England: 166 games, 83 goals, GBI 0.5000
Miroslav Klose, Germany: 177 games, 84 goals, GBI 0.4746
Ronaldinho, Brazil: 184 games, 84 goals, GBI 0.4565
Hernan Crespo, Argentina: 144 games, 62 goals, GBI 0.4306
Wayne Rooney, England: 189 games, 64 goals, GBI 0.3386
While this is all fine and well, may we suggest that for 2010 in South Africa, a more sophisticated methodology is required. Like all things related to investments, past performance is no indicator of future performance. Moreover, the analysis lacks a team factor û how likely is Ukraine to play enough games to give Shevchenko a shot at the Golden Boot? Nor is there the medical input: is Rooney going to play enough games to contend? Then there is the old-farts factor: Henry and Trezeguet are brilliant players but, letÆs face it, the French side is looking a little peaked.
Similarly, S&PÆs other attempts to sort World Cup data for predictive clues comes up short. It has customised an index comparing the best-performing countries from the 1966 World Cup through to the 2002 event. It reveals that, to no great surprise, Brazil and Germany are tournament powerhouses, that Argentina has underperformed compared to its glories in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and that England has done better since it failed to qualify in 1994.
So S&P is not going to help anybody take a view on the World Cup. We'll just have to watch the games and find out for ourselves.