A Football Manager simulation crowns the 2018 World Cup champion–and it's perhaps the deepest team in the field.
The World Cup draw was made on Friday and now football fans across the globe can dream about what the next major tournament will hold for their team.
England’s Group G draw alongside Belgium, Panama and Tunisia garnered a mixed response, with Belgium potentially being the only real threat, despite England’s recent record of international group stage failures.
Only time will tell how Southgate’s England side will fare in Russia, but maybe the best way to predict the outcome would be a video game.
Aside from being thoroughly addictive, the Football Manager games have the reputation of using an extensive database of players and teams that sees it stand shoulder to shoulder with pundits.
And, thanks to the Mirror, it has been used to simulate next year's tournament, with interesting results…
In a stark contrast to previous years, England knocked it out of the park in the group stages, with routine victories over Panama and Tunisia, before a gripping 3-2 victory over Belgium.
They then beat Poland 1-0 in the round of 16, setting hopes higher than ever, before being dumped out in the quarterfinals by Brazil.
Harry Kane (unsurprisingly) finished the tournament as England’s top scorer with three, and Raheem Sterling was ranked England’s best player with an average match rating of 7.37.
In this simulation, the crown went to France, who beat Argentina 2-0 in the final.
They topped their group, and even sunk Brazil, who knocked England out, in the semis.
Antoine Griezmann proved the danger man for Les Bleus with four goals and Paul Pogba finished the tournament as their best performer.
Despite being knocked out in the semifinals, Neymar finished as top scorer, with five goals to his name, edging out both Kane and Griezmann.
For a second consecutive World Cup, Leo Messi was given the Golden Ball despite finishing on the losing side in the final yet again. He garnered an impressive average rating of 7.70 across the tournament.
The most entertaining fixture came in Group F, with Sweden about to beat Mexico 3-2, before West Ham’s Javier Hernandez snatched a late equalizer.
Despite this being a mere simulation of life, we can all agree that would make a memorable tournament. But let’s be honest, when was the last time a World Cup was boring?