Soccer fans did not have to wait long for the first major upset at the World Cup. In a moment that will go down in history as one of the biggest shockers in any edition of the tournament, world soccer powerhouse Argentina lost 2 to 1 to the virtually unknown team of Saudi Arabia on the third day of play in Qatar.
In other words, a team whose players are worth a combined total of $770 million lost to a team worth nearly 16 times less than that. (In all sports, these are the worst blunders in history.)
To compile a list of the most valuable national teams at the World Cup, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report by consumer data site Statista. Information on players’ transfer value – the estimated amount for which a team can sell a player’s contract to another team – came from CIES Football Observatory, a website that specializes in the statistical analysis of soccer and players.
England’s squad has the highest collective transfer value, reaching just over $1.5 billion. The least expensive squad is that of Costa Rica. It is worth around 1.5% of England’s, at about $23 million.
Argentina’s hiccup notwithstanding, money helps make teams better. The most valuable national teams are also generally those with the highest chances of winning the World Cup (at least before the group stage is over). Value doesn’t always correspond with quality, however. This is where the teams at the tournament rank in the world.
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