WATCH: The World Cup kicked off in Russia on Thursday. Soccer fans were ecstatic, but not everyone was there for the game.

Some are using the huge sporting event to protest human rights. And as Mike Drolet reports, it’s not easy to control the discussion.

Over the years, a number of methods have been concocted for predicting the winner of the most widely-watched sporting event in the world – the World Cup. And this year is no different.

While the task of making such predictions has often fallen to statisticians, sports pundits or clairvoyant animals, researchers at two European universities have used machine learning to predict who will take home the Cup in Russia by simulating the tournament 100,000 times. WATCH: World Cup’s “Egyptian King” hailed as soccer saviour The group of researchers from the German Technische Universitat of Dortmund and the Technical University in Munich used several factors, including FIFA rankings, each country’s population and their gross domestic product (GDP), bookmaker’s odds, how many of the national team players play together in a club, the player’s average age and how many Champions Leagues they’ve won, reports Motherboard.

The results reveal that Spain, followed by Germany and Brazil, are most likely to take home the cup this year. The researcher’s methods arrived on Spain as the most likely winner by a margin of almost 20 per cent. Read more from…

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