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ECB Watch: Sweden wins the euro World Cup!

If international football teams performed according to economic criteria, one from the eurozone would not necessarily come out on top.

At his monthly press conference on July 6, European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet was asked if it was a coincidence that all four semi-finalists in the 2006 World Cup were members of the eurozone. Trichet mischievously replied: “I will not draw any conclusion from the fact that the four best teams in the world all belong to the euro area. But if anybody across the Atlantic or across the Channel wants to stress that, well, after all, it would be their decision.”

It’s only a game

Well, two can play the game of drawing analogies between football and economic performance. How about applying an economic analogy to footballing prowess? Let’s take a handful of indicators of economic performance and apply them to the eight EU member states that got through to the second round of the World Cup – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain from the eurozone and Sweden and the UK from outside it – and see who comes out on top. Note the necessary but questionable assumptions here that England is represented by the whole of the UK and that the US would not have made it through the group stages.

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