Brazil was the winner of 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan.


UBS bankers have used a mathematical model to predict the champions of the South Africa 2010 World Cup – and say England and Spain have just 4pc chance of winning.


Brazil, who have claimed the trophy a record five times, are the likely winners this summer, with 22pc probability of victory, the Swiss investment bank said.


The UBS Wealth Management team found Spain, the European champions and bookmakers' favorite, to have just a 4pc shot at the title. Fabio Capello's England also has just a 4pc chance, it said.


"Football fans may feel that the European champions and firm fans favorite Spain is under-rated by the UBS model," the bank's global equity research team said in its World Cup 2010 research paper on Wednesday."And our local UK readers may feel the same about England’s chances. However, both teams have tended to be underachievers when it comes to the World Cup finals themselves. In the last three events, Spain and England were ranked amongst the strongest teams but did not make it beyond the quarter-final stage.


"Brazil has the highest probability [of winning]."


UBS used its "econometric toolbox and quantitative models" to forecast the winner based on factors including historic results and the teams' current "Elo ratings" – which take account of not only recent wins, losses and defeats, but the conditions under which those events occurred. Beating a powerhouse like Brazil or Spain would improve a team’s Elo ranking much more than beating a smaller side like Malta or Andorra.


The bank also believes World Cup hosts South Africa, despite their uninspiring recent form, are all but guaranteed a place in the second round, rating their chances at 78pc.Brazil are the second most likely to progress with 74pc. The country least likely to progress, with a probability of just 29pc, is Paraguay, UBS said.


England was rated 63pc likely to escape the group stage and 21pc guaranteed to reach the semi-finals.


The UBS model was applauded in 2006 when it selected the winner, Italy. The bankers also correctly predicted 13 of the final 16, six of the final eight, and two of the semi-finalists.


However, when using the model for the 2008 European Championship, the forecast winner did not make it to the second round. "The moral of the story is that one needs to be humble about the predictive power of one’s model," the Wealth Management team said.


UBS's predicted quarter-finalists


Country              Likelihood of winning World Cup 2010
Brazil                     22pc
Germany                18pc
Italy                      13pc
Netherlands            8pc
France                   6pc
Argentina                5pc
Spain                    4pc
England                  4pc