World Cup Predictions SDG 6 Edition: Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia, Denmark vs. Tunisia, Mexico vs. Poland, France vs. Australia

 Argentina Saudi Arabia who scores better on access to drinking water and sanitation

There’s another great day of football ahead with 4 matches in group C and D. For those of you joining us for the first time, here is how we make predictions based off of SDG6:

How we make our predictions: SDG6

During the FIFA World Cup, the expert team of Nazava is going to predict the outcomes of the games by comparing the countries performance on SDG 6. For the sake of simplicity we only use 

  1. The amount of people that can drink from a tap in their house, or phrased by the UN as the “proportion of the population using safely managed drinking water services” (SDG 6.1.1)
  2. The percentage of people having access to a proper sewer system or as the UN says The percentage of the population with access to a safely managed sanitation system
  3. The amount of people that can wash their hands, defined by the UN as the percentage of the population that has a hand washing facility at home. 
  4. A wild card. This will be a totally subjective or maybe even somehow objective observation by the Nazava Word Cup Prediction team 

Alright, now let’s get started with the matches, starting with Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia!

Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia

Background Argentina

Streets are becoming green as Argentinians are very hopeful that their beloved team will win the World Cup this year. Also because this will be Messi’s last chance to finally win the World Cup final because he’s likely to retire before the next World Cup in 2026. Argentina has only been absent in 4 world cups.  The so called Albicelestes won the world cup in 1978 and 1986.  The 1978 one was especially painful for your Dutch correspondent. Argentina finished second in 1930, 1990 and 2014.

Background Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is well known for its oil, deserts and camels but less so for its performance on the football pitch. However, Saudi Arabia has participated in 6  World Cup tournaments before the current one. Their best World Cup  was in 1994, when they reached the round of 16. Now let us take a look at the water and sanitation statistics to see who will win this match.

Saudi Arabia how they compare access to drinking water sanitation and handwashing

People who can drink from the tap:


Argentina is not reporting to the UN on their progress towards providing people access to clean and safe drinking water.  Also tells us that nobody has access to safely managed drinking water in Argentina.  However, most websites tell you that most water is safe to drink in Buenos Aires and most other cities. We can conclude that even though Argentina brought us some of the best football players they might not have the best statisticians.  

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is also not reporting how many people can drink from the tap to the UN.  According to JMP 59 % of Saudi households can drink water from the tap. This is in line with google searches. The water can be a little warm but that does not consider a health risk. We need to say that the water from Mecca known as ZamZam water is also potable but might taste a little saline because its high amount of dissolved solids (,mg%20L%E2%88%921%2C%20respectively.) 

Result:  A win for Saudi Arabia. 

Percentage of households enjoying a connection to a proper sewage system


The UN SDG 6 website tells us the figure is 51 percent. There are apparently some large sewage construction projects underway but as of now nearly half of human excrements still go untreated. 

Saudi Arabia

59% of households are connected to a proper sewage treatment system.  

Result: Small win for Saudi Arabia. 

Percentage of people that can wash their hands with soap in their house

Both countries do not report how many households can wash their hands with soap in their house. We are upset by this. Handwashing is important also when you come from the country of Romario or when your country has a lot of oil (that stuff is really sticky). 

According to a study by the Alan Turing Institute, the Saudis are world champion hand washing.

Result: Win for Saudi Arabia. 

Wild card 

We give the wild card to Argentina because of Messies role as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.  

Final Verdict: Saudi Arabia, Argentina 3-1  – (An unexpected) win for Saudi Arabia. 

Time for the next match: Denmark vs. Tunisia!

Denmark vs Tunisia


Denmark is a Scandinavian country known for its Lego. Also to the horror of Americans Danish parents leave their babies outside in the baby car when they go shopping. Also a Danish (the bun ) is called a spandauer in Denmark. The Danish have had two female prime ministers.  There are almost 6 million Danes which are reportedly among the happiest in the world. The Danish football team has been to the World Cup 5 times. 


Tunisia’s population is twice the size of Denmark but they rank only 120th on the world happiness index. Tunisia is known for its high quality dates but its main export is insulated wire.  Tunisia’s prime minister is also a woman. The Tunisian version of the spandauer would be baklava. Just like the Danes, the Tunisian squad participated 5 times in the World Cup. So there seem to be many unexpected similarities between Denmark and Tunisia. Let’s dive into the prediction.


Percentage of people that can drink from the tap in their house



97% of households enjoy safe drinking water from the tap in Denmark. Your correspondent thought this would be 100%.  Your correspondent couldn’t find any information on the fate of the 3 % of Danes left behind. Hence we assume these are just some isolated estates using well water. 



In this Northern African country 79% of the population can drink water directly from the tap.  This is a high percentage for which we salute the Tunisians!  Tourist websites still recommend buying bottled water. We recommend using a water filter (  if you are really not sure, that will prevent a lot of waste.


Winner on water is Denmark


Percentage of people that live in a house connected to a proper sewage system



92 % of the Danes have a nicely functioning sewage system. The Copenhagen sewage system was established in 1857. Still we do not exactly know the fate of the remaining 8 %.  Do they use septic tanks, do they defecate in the open? Please DM us if you have the answer. 



Tunisians have had a sewer system since the Carthegian empire starting 9 centuries BC so roughly 3000 years before the Danes. Currently 81% of Tunisians enjoy access to a proper sanitary sewer or equivalent technology. 


This is very tight, but the winner here is Denmark.


Percentage of people that can wash their hands with soap in their house

Like many of the rich world countries the Danies are too sloppy to report how many people can wash their hands with soap. Some pre-covid studies report that 1/5 surgeons in Danmark does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Tunisia does report handwashing statistics and 84% of households have access to handwashing facilities. 


Result: a win for Tunisia. 

Final Prediction :…..Denmark Tunisia 2-1 . Win for Denmark

Next is Mexico vs Poland!

Mexico vs Poland who wins on access  to safe  water and sanitation


Mexico land of sombrero’s tequila and number 13 on FIFA


Mexico is a large and populous country south of the United States.  With its 130 million inhabitants it managed to make a selection that is currently ranked 13th in the world. Mexico participated in almost all World Cups ever organized however it never made it to the semifinals. Football is the most popular sport in Mexico unlike in its northern neighbour. Mexico is widely known for its cuisine and culture. 


Poland land of Pierogi and Europe’s last original forest

Joseph Stalin once remarked that imposing Communism on Poland was akin to “fitting a saddle onto a cow.” as the Polish were less then willing to have communism imposed on them after having suffered that much during the second world war.  Poland, currently ranked 26 on the FIFA country ranking, has been to the World Cup 8 times.  Poland’s star player Lewandowsky ( has almost as many followers on twitter as the entire population of Poland (38 Million). 


Where can more people drink water from the tap? Poland or Mexico


In Mexico only 43% of the population can drink water from the tap, and that figure is contested by reports on the internet indicating that you should never drink tap water. So if you are living in Mexico, maybe investing in water filter might be a good idea.  There is even a name for the illness caused by local water, Montezuma’s revenge, also known as Traveler’s Diarrhea. 


In Poland it is generally safe to drink from the tap. Because of a lack of trust in the authorities (remember the saddle on the cow) many Poles do not trust the water and buy bottled water anyway.  For some reason the Polish word for water (woda) is almost the same as for Wódka (Vodka), the most popular spirit in Poland.  


Winner : Poland


Do Poles or Mexicans enjoy wider access to proper sanitation?



Mexico, looking at the amount of households connected to a proper sewage system, Mexico is doing a relatively good job with 57% of households. 3 years ago Mexico completed the building of an enormous tunnel, the Emisor Oriente Tunnel that discharges waste water from Mexico city over a length of 62.5 kilometers.  Sewage is still a big challenge in Mexico but a lot of work is being done to improve the situation.



91% of Poles live in a house with a proper sewer system. We might need to correct this number a bit. There was a massive fish die off in the Oder river. One of the causes is said to be the 1,400 outlets discharging sewage into Polish rivers operate without a legal permit.

Winner: We still feel Poles have better sanitation systems, win for Poland


Do more people have access to hand washing facilities in Poland or Mexico?


We will give this point to Mexico as Poland is not reporting on this indicator. We checked some other studies and in terms of hand washing behavior the Poles and Mexicans are very much alike ( .


Winner: Poland


Wild card. Poles and Mexicans are surprisingly alike.  

When you compare these countries closely they are very much alike. Both Mexicans and Poles value catholic and family values. Both countries provide vital workers to their neighboring economies. Nothing will get done in Germany or the US without Polish or Mexican labor respectively. There are even 832 words that are similar in Polish and Spanish ( . Cumbaya!  Let’s enjoy the game. No need for a wild card. 


Prediction : Mexico Poland 1:2 – Poland Wins!

And finally, France vs. Australia!

France vs Australia – Where do you have better drinking water and sewers?


France football stars and female smokers

France has won two World Cups, one in 1998 and another in 2018. Interestingly it’s best soccer team PSG home of Messi, Neymar and Mbappé is owned by the host nation of the World Cup 2022. Also 31.9% of French adult women smoke, the fifth highest in the world. The French also self proclaimed to be the world champions in complaining.  This however has never been proven, which is something many French complain about. 




Australia or downunder is not the antipode of France. The antipode of Australia is in the Pacific west of Morocco. In Australia only 11.5 percent of the women smoke also because Australia is the most expensive country to smoke with a pack of cigarettes costing over $26.  Australia’s population is around 1/3 the size of France.  Australian Rules Football is a lot more popular than Association Football in Australia. 

Is water from the tap better in France or Australia?



France reportedly has 99% access to safe drinking water. However in France, around 8.7 billion liters of water in plastic bottles are bought annually.  50% of French people don’t trust or like tap water because of things that are added to it (chlorine, etc.), unpleasant taste, or regional issues like Paris’ infamous hard water.  The French are of course famous for their fine taste which is probably why they do not like their own, perfectly fine water.  If you are French and want to save some money, we can ship water filters to you from the Netherlands. Saves a lot of plastic :-) 



Australia is not reporting on drinking water . Which is a shame because we understand that most people are connected to piped water that is perfectly safe to drink. Certainly some rural areas will have self supply sources that need filtration but that is nothing to be ashamed of.


France wins this point . 


Does France or Australia have better wastewater treatment?


79 % of French people use toilets that are connected to a proper sewage system. This is a bit lower than the other OECD countries that we have seen so far.  21 Million people are not connected to a sewer network which is almost the entire population of Australia. 



25% of Australians are not connected to the sewer grid. Many of those off the grid houses use treatment systems that are not considered safe. This is one of the challenges of having a sparsely populated country.


France wins this point. 


Who has better access to hand washing facilities?

Frustratingly both counties do not report progress on SDG 6.2.1b which is driving your correspondent crazy. Hand washing is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce disease , so just report on it!. 

Thanks to the research by Alan Turing institute we can see that the French wash their hands significantly less often than the Austrialians. 


This point goes to Australia. 


Wild card

Yours truly was considering giving the wild card to Australia because the French are so addicted to bottled water.  Your correspondent is afraid the French will complain, so he keeps his cards in his pocket for later.

Prediction : France – Australia : 2-1 . Win for France!