EA Sports predicts Lionel Messi, Argentina as 2022 World Cup champions

EA Sports predicts Argentina to win 2022 World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Lionel Messi has never lifted the World Cup trophy, but EA Sports foresees him finally getting his chance next month.

The video game mogul released its simulation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup using “FIFA 23” on Tuesday with Argentina coming out on top. Messi and Co. claim the title in the simulation by beating their top rival, Brazil, in the final.

It may just be a video game simulation, but EA Sports has been spot-on with its predictions over the last three tournaments. The company correctly predicted Spain to win it all in 2010, Germany as champs in 2014 and France’s triumph in 2018. While none of those victories were shocking, it bodes well for Argentina’s chances in Qatar.

EA Sports has Argentina and Poland making it out of Group C with Mexico and Saudi Arabia bowing out before the knockout stage. From there, Argentina is predicted to beat Denmark 2-1 in the round of 16, the Netherlands 1-0 in the quarterfinals and France 1-0 in the semifinals before toppling Brazil 1-0 in the final. Argentina has not faced Brazil, the No. 1 team in FIFA’s latest world rankings, in a World Cup since 1990.

The simulation sees Messi lead Argentina in a major way. The four-time “FIFA” cover athlete scored eight goals across seven simulated matches, edging the Netherlands' Memphis Depay and France’s Kylian Mbappé for the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards. Messi said in early October that the 2022 World Cup would be his last.

Elsewhere in the bracket, the U.S. men’s national team not only advanced past the group stage – it reached the quarterfinals.

EA Sports had England and the USMNT making it out of Group B. While England fell to the Netherlands in the round of 16, the Americans beat Senegal 2-1 before falling to France by a score of 1-0 in the quarters.