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Germany Is Most Likely to Win 2018 FIFA World Cup, UBS Simulation Reveals

The investment bank has crunched the numbers.

Germany’s national soccer team could have a very good summer, UBS revealed on Thursday. The investment bank has run a simulation of 10,000 virtual tournaments to deduce who is most likely to win this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, running from June 14 to July 15. Based on the data, it looks like the last tournament’s winners are set to claim a fifth title — but there’s always the chance of a last-minute upset.

Overall, the research showed that the likelihood of either Germany, Brazil or Spain winning is 60 percent. Michael Bollinger, head of emerging market asset allocation, said that the teams share “a number of factors which tend to be reliable indicators of how well a team will be doing during the tournament.” They are the top three teams according to the Elo rating that measures how well teams have played in the past, giving stronger weight to teams that beat higher-ranked teams. None of them lost a game in the qualifiers, bar Brazil that only lost its first game against Chile in 2015. All three have also won the World Cup before. Bearing these factors in mind, the team devised a simulation, based on the last five tournaments, to produce the winners:

The chances of each team and how far they will get into the World Cup.

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The team used what’s called a Monte Carlo simulation to find the odds. That means the statisticians drew a number of random variables out to allow for the fact that sports sometimes produces surprise results. It’s the same statistical method that revealed how black holes can “flip” other black holes, and it’s ideal in places where random variables would likely upset the probability of certain results.

While UBS expects Germany and Brazil to get an easy start, Spain will have to work hard to beat European champions Portugal in the opening match. The research also suggests to not count Belgium, England, France or Argentina out of the running just yet. Argentina will depend on star player performance, but France’s results will depend on who they face in the semi-final. England and Belgium have balanced teams, but will probably have to face Brazil.

The opening game, set for June 14, will be the first big test of UBS’ simulation. At 6 p.m. Moscow time, Russia faces Saudi Arabia in a game that Russia is expected to win with a probability of 78 percent. Of course, that also means there’s a 22 percent likelihood that doesn’t happen.

Soccer is of great interest to investors and statisticians, and sometimes the results are surprising. A report published in November 2017 claimed that nations who have played each other in the World Cup are 56 percent more likely to later engage in conflict.

Google Calendar Down: Outage Map, Timeline, When It Will Be Restored

You're free, be free!

Well, it looks like we can all go home early. Google Calendar, an office logistics mainstay, which tracks countless appointments for some 500 million people and basically keeps our lives in order, is down.

It’s not yet clear when service will be restored, though concerned users can still access their appointments by downloading the Calendar App, which Inverse was able to verify is still working. 

Facebook Libra: 5 Ways the Cryptocurrency Aims to Fix Bitcoin’s Big Flaws

The world's largest social network is launching a global cryptocurrency.

Facebook is going all-in on crypto. The world’s largest social network, with over a fourth of the global population, detailed plans Tuesday to launch a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin that could enable seamless cross-border transactions.

Libra, launching in developer form now with a full launch set for the first half of 2020, aims to improve access to global financial services. Its website highlights how 1.7 billion people are without a bank account, and they pay around $4 more per month for access to cash. Those that do have accounts can wait up to five days to complete a transaction. Increasing access to financial services, it explains, could reduce extreme poverty by 22 percent.

PS5 vs. New Xbox: Sony and Microsoft's New Console Prices Might Stun Gamers

Competition is hot. And that's good for gamers. 

Both Microsoft and Sony have now pulled the curtain back on their next-generation consoles to give gamers a glimpse of what’s in store for 2020. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett systems will pack solid-state drives (SSDs), support ray tracing, and handle 8K resolution graphics. These developments will bridge the gap between console and PC gaming, perhaps for good. But what will that mean for gamers’ wallets?

New Xbox: Release Date, Price, Specs, and Games for Microsoft Project Scarlett Console

Microsoft finally revealed their next-generation console plans.

Microsoft’s released the first details about its next-generation console ambitions during its E3 2019 keynote on June 9. During their presentation, the company gave gamers their first official teaser of its Project Scarlett console and rattled off a release date, a list of specs, cloud features, graphics capabilities, and a massive roster of expected games.

PS5: Release Date, Price, Specs, and Features for Sony's Next Powerhouse

The upcoming console might have more perks than expected.

The PS5 will try to set a new bar for console gaming with graphics capabilities that rival expensive PC rigs, and possibly even a companion VR headset. Many of the PS5’s notable specs have been confirmed, but the release date, price, and other details have been contained to leaks and rumors.