Street vendors sell Brazilian flags in Sao Paulo on Monday. The 2014 World Cup will be held in 12 cities in Brazil. The soccer tournament starts tomorrow and runs until July 13. Photo: Reuters

Paris and London - Brazil will beat Germany to win soccer’s World Cup and will also score the most goals, according to a survey of economists across 52 countries.

The host nation eclipsed Germany and Argentina as the top choice among 171 economists from 139 companies in a poll published yesterday.

The host country is also tipped to find the net the most times, topping Argentina and Spain.

Projections of a sixth World Cup victory for Brazil mesh with bookmaker odds and forecasts based on economic models created by Goldman Sachs, UniCredit and Danske Bank. Paddy Power and Ladbrokes both rank Brazil as favourite, at odds of 3/1.

“It’s kind of hard to bet against Brazil – they have home advantage, the climate, crowd and recent record,” said Peter Dixon, a poll participant and global equities economist at Commerzbank in London. “It’s pretty obvious if you look at Brazil’s soccer rankings who should win.”

Respondents were asked to select their top four teams for the tournament, which kicks off tomorrow with Brazil playing Croatia. The final takes place on July 13 at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

While 98 respondents chose Brazil as the winning team, points were also awarded, with 10 for first place, 7.5 for second, four for third and one for fourth. Brazil topped the league with 1 270.5 points, almost twice Germany’s 763 and Argentina’s 641. Defending champion Spain secured 614.5 points, and after that support for other teams fell away, with Portugal the next highest ranked on 94.5 points. The US got just 8.5 points and England 7.

The predictions for the winner centred almost exclusively on Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain. Of the 171 responses, only six economists diverged, with three choosing Portugal, two opting for Italy and one for Uruguay.

“It seems as if this isn’t going to be a wide open tournament,” said Lou Crandall, the chief economist at Wrightson ICAP in New Jersey.

“I spent a lot of time trying to forge a way for Italy to get as far as the final four, but couldn’t get them there.”

Four-time champion Italy last won the tournament in 2006. It got 73 points in the Bloomberg survey.

Breaking away from the consensus, Deutsche Bank analysts Bilal Hafeez and Henrik Gullberg said on Monday that England was their pick, though they admit the analysis was based on “well-reasoned arguments” such as patterns of World Cup winners and the performance of previous champions.

They applied these to a model that points to Brazil having the most chance of winning followed by Germany, Spain, and France.

When it came to goals, 72 economists picked Brazil to score the most, while 44 identified Argentina. Eighteen said Spain and 16 picked Germany. Ladbrokes has Brazil and Argentina as joint favourites, at odds of 11/4.

Goldman Sachs and UBS disagreed over whether victory would buoy Brazilian equities. – Bloomberg