Thirty-two countries will be represented in South Africa when the World Cup final starts. Five-time champions Brazil are joint favorites with Spain to lift the Jules Rimet Cup.
But while attention will be on the pitch, economists and analysts at Goldman Sachs took the chance to assess the economies of the participants. Does gross national product have much to do with success on the pitch? Not really, Goldman concluded, pointing to a -0.17 correlation between GNP and Fifa's current world rankings.
But 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."
And as for stock market performance, that looks like even less of a reliable predictor, Goldman said. Still, those willing to use that as a guide for 2010 should put their money on Brazil, Chile, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.
By Kim Khan, CNBC Europe
Posted 9 Jun 2010