EURO 2016 Qualifying Re-Preview

Back in February, we posted a “rapid reaction” to the EURO 2016 draw. With now 5 more months of matches in the books, it’s time to take yet another look at the EURO 2016 Qualifying groups and see how things have changed. As a reminder, there are 53 teams in 9 groups competing for 23 spots alongside host France. The top 2 teams in each group will qualify, the best 3rd place team will qualify, and the 4 winners of the 3rd place Playoffs will also qualify.

Here are the groups:

Group A
Netherlands, Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Iceland, Kazakhstan

Group B
Bosnia-HerzegovinaBelgium, Israel, Wales, Cyprus, Andorra

Group C
Spain, Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Luxembourg

Group D
Germany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group E
EnglandSwitzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, San Marino

Group F
Greece, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands

Group G
Russia, Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova, Liechtenstein

Group H
ItalyCroatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Malta

Group I
Portugal, Denmark, Serbia, Armenia, Albania

 

We will also be taking a different approach to projecting points, which will cause some variance. In Group A for example, we project Netherlands to win all 10 group matches. But odds are they wind up with something less than that. While they may have a 90-95% chance to win an individual match, taking that number to the 10th power produces an unlikely unblemished record.

The formula for projecting points for an individual match is as follows: (Win Probability x 3) + (Draw Probability x 1). The sum of those points is a team’s projected points in qualifying. These projections should be MUCH more accurate. We’ll keep this page updated regularly, so keep checking back. We’ll hold our predictions steady before the tournament begins.

Projected Points as of 9/4/2014

 

The Group Stage

Group A (Netherlands, Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Iceland, Kazakhstan)

What we thought would be a runway for the Dutch is now an even stronger probability after their impressive showing in Brazil. They’re our overall #2 team, and they shouldn’t have much difficulty finishing top of the group. Our next highest ranked team is Turkey at #21 in UEFA. They do have a leg up on the Czech Republic and Iceland now, but it’ll be tight. The Czechs really didn’t do much right, and Turkey has risen a lot since our last writing. Although Latvia came from Pot 4, they are unlikely to make much noise. It would be an extremely large surprise to see the best 3rd place team emerge from this group.

Team Old Points New Points
Netherlands 30 27.25
Turkey 16 18.55
Iceland 16 13.98
Czech Republic 22 10.54
Latvia 1 7.18
Kazakhstan 4 6.67

 

Group B (Bosnia-HerzegovinaBelgium, Israel, Wales, Cyprus, Andorra)

It’s crazy to think that Belgium came from Pot 2. The UEFA National Team Coefficient was not kind, but the draw certainly was. Drawing Bosnia out of Pot 1 bodes well for Belgium’s chances of advancing. Wales and Israel will be tough, but Cyprus and Andorra are in way over their heads here. Since our March formula adjustment, Wales has benefited greatly due to the increased SOS metric. We now like them even more than Israel. This is a very tough group. We have Wales and Israel about on par with Turkey and Czech Republic. Had either of those two teams been in Group A, they would’ve been a threat to finish 2nd. It’s possible that Wales or Israel may be the best 3rd place team, but given 6 points from Andorra is an almost certainty, they could be penalized.

Groups like these are where the new point projection formula should pay huge dividends.

Team Old Points New Points
Belgium 27 24.10
Bosnia-Herzegovina 27 21.59
Wales 12 16.03
Israel 18 15.87
Cyprus 6 5.52
Andorra 0 2.26

 

Group C (Spain, Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Luxembourg)

This group is pretty strong top to bottom. Macedonia and Luxembourg are no pushovers. Don’t be surprised to see both of them above 5 points from this group. This group has pretty clear segmentation, and despite Spain looking dreadful at the World Cup, it would be an even bigger shock to see them not qualify for EURO. They’re still the best team in this group. Ukraine and Slovakia should battle it out for 2nd. Belarus may be able to sneak up to 3rd, but they have 3 really good teams ahead of them. Expect Spain to finish 1st, with Ukraine and Slovakia in some order at 2 and 3.

Team Old Points New Points
Spain 28 23.96
Ukraine 25 20.55
Slovakia 14 16.15
Belarus 14 11.04
Luxembourg 0 6.40
FYR Macedonia 8 5.91

 

Group D (Germany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Georgia, Gibraltar)

We said this group was going to be a runaway in our preview. That was before Germany became World Champions. There’s not even another team in this group that made it to the 2nd place Playoffs in qualifying. We’re no longer projecting Germany at 30 points, but this is about as high as you can get. It basically results in 9 wins and 1 draw. I’d be willing to throw down on them to run the table.

After that it gets a little more interesting. Pulling Scotland out of Pot 4 is very unfortunate for Ireland and Poland. We like the Scots to finish an impressive 2nd in this group and qualify directly. The 3rd place battle will probably result in a team headed to the playoffs. Germany is just too good, and each team may start off 6 points in the hole. Anything from Georgia and Gibraltar beyond the bottom 2 should be considered a major victory, but we don’t think either will leave the party empty-handed. It’ll be tough.

Team Old Points New Points
Germany 30 27.17
Scotland 16 19.46
Republic of Ireland 20 15.15
Poland 16 14.37
Georgia 1 5.59
Gibraltar 4 3.61

 

Group E (EnglandSwitzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, San Marino)

Here’s where the formula falls apart a little bit. We project San Marino to somehow finish with almost 1 point. While the overall projections may be a little more accurate, that one is going to fall through the cracks. This is a less than impressive group, but as we indicated previously, this is a tough draw for Slovenia. Estonia surprised in the 2012 Qualifiers and made it to the playoffs, but we just don’t see it happening here. This group should end up with England and Switzerland as the top 2 in some order. If it’s anyone but Slovenia in 3rd, it’ll be a pretty large surprise.

Team Old Points New Points
England 28 23.04
Switzerland 25 21.71
Slovenia 16 17.93
Estonia 11 11.20
Lithuania 7 10.60
San Marino 0 0.76

 

Group F (Greece, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands)

Man is this a weak group. To draw Greece and Hungary out of the Top 2 pots into the same group is brutal. Romania and Finland should be beyond ecstatic with this draw. We thought Greece would still be able to finish first in our previous edition, yet they’ve now fallen even further. We don’t project a group winner to have fewer points than the one from this group. While we project Hungary to finish 4th, they are not far behind the other 3 in terms of class. Even Northern Ireland has a remote shot. Check out how close we’re projecting this group to be. Don’t expect things to be settled until the final matchday.

Team Old Points New Points
Greece 26 20.11
Finland 20 19.74
Romania 20 18.94
Hungary 12 14.88
Northern Ireland 7 7.41
Faroe Islands 0 2.90

 

Group G (Russia, Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova, Liechtenstein)

Yet another group that has no clear frontrunner. Russia always seems to do well in qualifying but just can’t get over the hump in the major tournaments. This is one of those predictions where we’ll probably be off from the consensus. We have Austria at #17 overall, just ahead Russia. Since the February projection, Austria has gotten a draw against Uruguay and a road win over Czech Republic. Both are impressive results. They also have played a tough schedule. They’re a good team.

It was a little surprising to see Sweden all the way down at #38. Since the last posting, they lost all 3 matches. They’ve lost 6 of their past 8, with their only 2 wins over Iceland and Moldova by a combined 3 goals. Perhaps it’s just a deflated team, but they need to get it together quickly. Montenegro may put up a bit of a fight, but it’s all been downhill since they were in World Cup qualifying position and lost 4-0 at home to Ukraine. If Moldova or Liechtenstein can get out of the bottom 2, it would be pretty surprising. Expect Montenegro in 4th with the other 3 fighting for the automatic qualifiers. The best 3rd place team may come from this group.

Team Old Points New Points
Austria 16 21.58
Russia 28 20.70
Sweden 21 18.85
Montenegro 16 13.61
Moldova 6 7.70
Liechtenstein 0 2.11

 

Group H (ItalyCroatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Malta)

Ugh. This group is questionable at best. Italy and Croatia are OK #2 teams, but neither is a true number 1. Thankfully, they drew Norway, who is one of the most overrated teams in the world. Bulgaria and Azerbaijan aren’t bad Pot 4 and 5 teams, but they shouldn’t be much of a threat to either of the top 2. The 3rd place finisher in this group is going to the Playoffs. It’ll be virtually impossible to qualify directly. Not much new to say about this group. Expect the top 2 teams to finish top 2 in some order. If you’re looking for a dark horse team to get to the Playoffs, jump on board Azerbaijan. Fun team to root for and play in a pretty cool stadium.

Team Old Points New Points
Croatia 25 22.95
Italy 25 21.86
Bulgaria 16 14.04
Azerbaijan 10 12.66
Norway 10 10.32
Malta 0 2.46

 

Group I (Portugal, Denmark, Serbia, Armenia, Albania)

Our final group is going to be wild. No slouches here, and some of the best viewing atmospheres in Europe. Every game in this group should be thrilling. We see both Portugal and Serbia as a good amount better than Denmark right now. Armenia and Albania are incrementally worse, which means anything other than Portugal/Serbia top 2 would be truly surprising. Due to the quality of the teams around them, the 3rd place finisher here is probably unlikely to be the best 3rd place team. The winner should be heading to the playoffs.

Team Old Points New Points
Portugal 22 18.78
Serbia 19 17.33
Denmark 8 9.53
Albania 4 5.59
Armenia 4 4.95

 

The 24 Finalists

Group 1st 2nd 3rd
A Netherlands Turkey Iceland
B Belgium Bosnia-Herzegovina Wales
C Spain Ukraine Slovakia
D Germany Scotland Republic of Ireland
E England Switzerland Slovenia
F Greece Finland Romania
G Austria Russia Sweden
H Croatia Italy Bulgaria
I Portugal Serbia Denmark

 

I know we’re really going out on a limb here. All 9 group winners, sans Austria, went to the World Cup. As did France. The other 4 UEFA World Cup participants we have projected 2nd.

But there are some changes from the initial preview. Into the Top 2 are Turkey, Scotland and Austria. Out are Czech Republic, Ireland and Sweden. Finland also takes a step up.

We also have Wales replacing Israel in 3rd. We currently have Romania as the team with the most points in 3rd place, just ahead of Sweden. Of the remaining 3rd place teams, we rank Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia and Wales the highest. It should be a great tournament with great Playoffs.

As always, we appreciate any feedback and welcome your thoughts. Please be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global so you don’t miss our latest content. Thanks for reading!