EURO 2016 Qualifying Odds – September 2015 Update

source: ESPNFC.com

 

We’re just about 60% through qualifying for EURO 2016, and we wanted to provide an update on the tournament and where each team stands. We’ll also look at our predictions from before the tournament started and see how good (and bad!) we did. All about accountability at WGF enterprises.

At this point our projected 24 finalists have changed a decent amount. We still project 17 of the same 24 to make it. No idea if 17 of 24 is good or not.

 

Group A

Right off the bat, here’s a group we missed the mark on. After the World Cup, we had this group pegged as the Netherlands’ to lose. That was obviously a mistake. This is turning out to be arguably the strongest group of all in qualifying. There are 4 teams in this group that you could seriously consider in the top 15-20 in Europe. We’re now projecting the Czech Republic and Iceland as the top two after initially having the Netherlands and Turkey in there. The bottom two remain the same.

Iceland

What more needs to be said about this team? They’re on track to be a European finalist, which is awesome for everyone except the teams they leapfrogged to get there. After going down 1-0 at home to the Czech Republic, they stormed back to win 2-1 and emerge as favorites to top the group. They made it to the World Cup 2014 playoffs, so it’s obvious this team has talent. That’s finally shining through. Huge match at the Netherlands that could lock down a spot in the finals.

Odds to reach finals: 99.44%

 

Czech Republic

After a furious start, the Czech Republic has stumbled a bit. They looked like a shoe-in for the finals at the start of the year, but only managing a draw at home against Latvia has brought them closer to the pack. The Dutch are now right on their heels. We ultimately think this team ends in 2nd or 3rd, and if it is third, it’s highly likely they wind up in the playoffs. You have to beat Latvia at home. And you now have to beat Kazakhstan at home to keep pace with a hard charging Dutch squad.

Odds to reach finals: 79.30%

 

Netherlands

In the opposite direction, the Netherlands perhaps had a bit of a World Cup hangover. They started out this campaign very poorly, and for awhile it looked all but certain that at best they’d be headed to the playoffs. But recent form has improved, and 3 points is 3 points. They’re now back in the race with the top two, and although the odds appear to be against them cracking it, nobody can be surprised if they qualify directly. Host Iceland then at Turkey, so this is a critical stretch.

Odds to reach finals: 62.86%

 

Turkey

And even more so than the Netherlands, Turkey stumbled out of the blocks and immediately were at a disadvantage. There’s an extremely high probability they finish 4th in this group, but their goose is not just yet cooked. They’re within striking distance but really need to get 3 points from the teams in front of them. You can’t just tread water and get a draw. Not good enough. Tough group for a tough team. Even worse, they’re going to have a tough group for World Cup Qualifying.

Odds to reach finals: 13.34%

 

Latvia/Kazakhstan

We’re lumping these two together because we combined give them a 0.00% chance of advancing. We expected this to be the bottom two (despite Latvia coming from Pot 4), and we don’t see any reason to change that now. In fact, they’ve done even worse than expected. We thought these two would combine for 13.85 points. We now project only 8.40 combined.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group B

We knew Belgium would be near the top, but Wales has really surprised us. We liked them heading into the tournament due to their difficult strength of schedule. That’s clearly paid off, and Wales has emerged as our favorite. It would be a massive surprise to not see Wales and Belgium 1/2 in some order. The battle for 3rd between Bosnia, Israel and Cyprus is shaping up to be a good one.

Wales

After defeating Belgium, Wales is in the driver’s seat to lock up a spot at the finals. They’re 5 points up on 3rd with home tilts against Andorra and Israel still on the docket. They also go to Cyprus. To be done with Belgium and atop the group is massive. We initially projected 16 points, but Wales is going to blow that number away. Could certainly clinch a spot in September.

Odds to reach finals: 99.98%

 

Belgium

Despite losing to Wales, Belgium is still fine. They have two home matches and still get a match with Andorra. They may not pass Wales, but they’re going to be in the top two. Our initial projection had Belgium with 24 points. We still think they wind up in the 22 range, so basically as expected. They’re a virtual lock to be in France.

Odds to reach finals: 99.56%

 

Israel

Here’s where things start to get a bit interesting. Whoever finishes 3rd from this group is not going to be the best 3rd place team. So there are basically three teams playing for one spot in the playoffs. We currently give Israel a slight edge over Bosnia. They’re at Belgium and Wales and host Cyprus and Andorra. Looks like 6 points to us unless Cyprus pulls off a shocker. That would put the magic number for Bosnia at 15, which is no easy feat.

Odds to reach finals: 23.40%

 

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Definitely one of the most disappointing teams in qualifying to us. After qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, we thought Bosnia had a real good chance to reach France. But right off the bat, a home loss to Cyprus set the tone for this qualifying campaign. Bosnia has done a nice job to dig themselves out of a hole, and defeating Israel in their last match is big. They also host Andorra, but the big match is going to be the final one at Cyprus. They may have a chance with a win to move on, but the odds are not in their favor at the moment.

Odds to reach finals: 21.06%

 

Cyprus

With the aforementioned win over Bosnia, we thought Cyprus was going to make a run for it. They’ve still done reasonably well, but they’ve slowed down. They host Belgium and Wales, and perhaps grabbing a point here or there will help. Three of their final 4 are at home, so it is certainly feasible for Cyprus to do. But they’re done with Andorra, which gives some other teams a leg up. We ultimately think Cyprus finishes 5th despite a strong showing.

Odds to reach finals: 6.02%

 

Andorra

Andorra was never a threat. They’re pointsless, and we don’t think they get one at all.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group C

This group was always going to be a three horse race with Spain, Slovakia, and Ukraine. But to this point, Slovakia has been perfect in qualifying, winning all 6 matches. That’s vaulted them to the top of our projections, but Spain is still not far behind. In the 2,500 simulations we ran, only Belarus got into the top 3 in a total of 0.8% of projections. It would take a miracle for that to happen. We said “expect Spain to finish 1st, with Ukraine and Slovakia in some order at 2 and 3”. That may pan out.

Slovakia

When you win every match, it’s tough to find anything negative. They travel to Spain next, and we fully expect them to park the bus. Even a point basically punches their ticket. Their final three include home matches v Ukraine and Belarus and a trip to Luxembourg. They could be dancing in September. Bravo for exceeding our expectations.

Odds to reach finals: 99.84%

 

Spain

Still in great shape. They’re ahead of Ukraine and still have matches against Macedonia and Luxembourg. If they take three against Slovakia, they’re not gonna miss out on the top 2. Only hiccup has been a loss at Slovakia, so likewise, they’ve really done nothing wrong in qualifying. We expected 24 points. We still expect 24 points or more. Spain is going to be in France.

Odds to reach finals: 99.68%

 

Ukraine

Despite only a 4.4% chance in our estimation to crack the top two, we have Ukraine with an almost 95% chance of finishing 3rd. But we also give Ukraine a 10% chance of being the best 3rd place team. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, as the more points they can get the better. Their matches against Luxembourg are likely to be tossed. We initially projected Ukraine to finish ahead of Slovakia, but that looks extremely unlikely at this point. They’ll have to make their bones in the playoffs.

Odds to reach finals: 56.84%

 

Belarus

Initially a bit of a dark horse for us, Belarus was clearly the 4th best team in the group. We still expected around 11 points from them, but that was never going to be enough to move on. We still expect around 10, as they have an easy remaining schedule. They’re just in too big of a hole to get back, as they can only max out at 16 points.

Odds to reach finals: 0.42%

 

FYR Macedonia/Luxembourg

Our projected bottom two wound up in the bottom two. Both teams should be eliminated soon.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group D

It was tough not to like Germany in this group. While Poland, Scotland and Ireland all seemed solid, it seemed unlikely that one would emerge to challenge the world champions. But that’s not what happened. Out of nowhere, Poland has been on fire in qualifying. And both Scotland and Ireland have proved extremely tough. Germany has just 13 points through 6 matches, and this is going to be pretty close down the stretch. There remains much to be determined.

Poland

Currently in first place, Poland has made a very strong case for themselves. They have a huge task at Germany, and anything from that match will go a long way. They still get to beat up on Gibraltar and have a home match with Ireland which they must get points from. We have them out front right now, but they’re certainly no lock yet. Our projection is probably a little optimistic

Odds to reach finals: 94.76%

 

Germany

A chance against Poland to really turn the tide in Group D. If they can nab 3 points, they’ve got to feel confident they’ll be among the top two in the group. This was a tough group, and it was never going to be a runaway despite what the stats said. But Germany is no lock at this point to reach the finals. There’s still work to be done, and they still have to go to Scotland and Ireland. We’ll see.

Odds to reach finals: 90.92%

 

Scotland

Not only did Scotland miss out on Pot 2 by failing to win at Ireland, the odds of them reaching the top 2 in Group D went way down. We now give Scotland just a 27% chance of qualifying directly. But that’s not all that bad. We still give Scotland a better than 50/50 chance of reaching the finals, as even if they wind up in the playoffs, they should be one of the better teams there. It’ll all depend on the draw. Added benefit of still playing Georgia and Gibraltar.

Odds to reach finals: 59.26%

 

Republic of Ireland

Unfortunately not looking good. Despite being just 5 points behind first, Ireland has a very tall task ahead. They do have Georgia and Gibraltar as their next two, and 6 points are a must. But they still have to travel to Poland and host Germany, and it’s going to be very tough sledding. Had they been level at this point, things would certainly look brighter, but they need to make up points on some really good teams.

Odds to reach finals: 8.52%

 

Georgia/Gibraltar

These two were always destined for the bottom. And neither has gotten a point against another team. It’s too late to come back.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group E

Finally! A group we nailed! The exact order we projected initially is the exact order we still project. We did think Switzerland would put up a little better fight, but this was always England’s to lose. But Slovenia, Estonia and Lithuania are still likely battling it out for 3rd in this group, so there’s still a lot to play for.

England

Along with Slovakia, the only team that’s been perfect in qualifying. Unlike Slovakia, nobody is nipping at England’s heels. They’re 6 points clear of 2nd place, and they very well may be the first team to qualify. They’re at San Marino, and they’ll win that. If Slovenia also fails to win at Switzerland, they’ll be through. England will be in France, it’s just not mathematically clinched yet.

Odds to reach finals: 100.00%

 

Switzerland

Huge opportunity for the Swiss hosting the team behind them in the standings. A victory will put the Swiss in the clear and virtually lock them into the finals. They still host San Marino and get Estonia again, so looking very strong. We had them projected with 22 points. We now project 21 points. Their performance is exactly what we expected. And we now expect them to reach the finals.

Odds to reach finals: 98.62%

 

Slovenia

Just like the Swiss, their upcoming match holds the key. If Slovenia can get points on the road, it’ll go a long way to keeping them in the race for the top 2. But if they come up empty, it’s basically playoffs or bust. Nobody from Group E will be the best 3rd place team. It’s up in the air right now, but we’re leaning against Slovenia qualifying. They’re likely to be one of the final teams to miss out.

Odds to reach finals: 43.84%

 

Estonia

Again not much has changed for Estonia. We projected 11.20 points initially. We now project 11.09 points. The opportunity is there, but the matches are difficult. Estonia still travels to Slovenia, and it is likely that match will determine who goes on to the playoffs. If Estonia can pull a surprise, the odds will swing in their favor. They’ve got to beat somebody unexpected, however.

Odds to reach finals: 5.54%

 

Lithuania

Basically the same as Estonia. We started with a projection of 10.6 points. We now project 10.3. Lithuania has more work to do than Estonia, however. Again, the chances are there, but we give them lower odds.

Odds to reach finals: 2.08%

 

San Marino

Got a point! San Marino will not be in France, however.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group F

Safe to say we missed on this group. Had the whole thing basically turned upside-down. We projected a close finish at the top between Greece, Finland, and Romania. Yikes. We now project Greece to finish dead last by a fairly wide margin. This group looks like Romania’s to lose at this point.

Romania

Just as good a shot as anybody to reach EURO 2016. Romania has performed pretty well against a group without much punch. But they’ve done so allowing just 1 goal in qualifying. No other team has allowed fewer than 2, so it’s not like Romania is undeserving. Northern Ireland and Hungary are on their heels, but we think this is the best team in the group. And when the best team in the group already leads it, they’re our clear favorite.

Odds to reach finals: 99.36%

 

Northern Ireland

What a turn of events. We did not see this team making much noise in qualifying. We only projected 7 points initially, which was a clear miss. The North Irish have turned things around and have steadily climbed the WGF rankings and the Group F standings. They’re a severe threat to qualify directly, as we give them an almost 90% chance of doing so. Remaining schedule helps, as we give them the edge over Hungary. They’re still going off at 1000/1 to win EURO 2016.

Odds to reach finals: 94.54%

 

Hungary

No reason Hungary should fall out of the top 3. They’re so far ahead at this point, that they really need to just focus on passing one of the two teams ahead of them, as the playoffs should be a worst-case scenario. While we think they’re the odd man out, there’s still a 10-15% chance that Hungary qualifies directly as the best 3rd place team. It all depends on who finishes last in this group. We projected Hungary with 15 points. We now project them with 17 points. They’re basically where we expected.

Odds to reach finals: 63.68%

 

Faroe Islands

I don’t think anyone will get tired of seeing Faroe Islands beat Greece. They’ve made progress, and it should be an interesting World Cup Qualifying campaign. But it’s a long shot for the Faroese to reach the playoffs. They only climbed to 3rd in 1.2% of simulations. The odds are certainly stacked against them. But people are taking this team more seriously now, and that’s a good thing. They could play spoiler down the line in this group.

Odds to reach finals: 0.60%

 

Finland

Another disappointing campaign. We thought that this group was the perfect recipe to turn things around. But the team just isn’t that strong. They won’t be at EURO 2016.

Odds to reach finals: 0.20%

 

Greece

Not sure a prediction has ever missed like this. We had Greece projected for 20 points. We now project just 5. One of the worst campaigns in history and an absolute embarrassment coming out of Pot 1.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group G

We’ll take our lumps when we miss, but we were all over Austria in Group G. We liked them to clear Russia and Sweden, and they’ve certainly delivered. England is the only other team we project to win a group by more. Austria is 8 points ahead of 3rd place Russia with just 4 to play. It should be down to Sweden and Russia for 2nd and 3rd exactly as expected. Montenegro is running out of time.

Austria

Apparently our 21.58 points to top the group was too modest. We’ve now got them all the way up at 25.50. And like England, they’re the only other team we have at 100% chance of qualification. They only need 5 points from 4 matches to qualify for EURO 2016 and still host Moldova and Liechtenstein. Austria is going to roll into the finals, and this is a very dangerous team. We’ve been hot on them for awhile, and it’s paying off.

Odds to reach finals: 100.00%

 

Sweden

We now favor Sweden to edge Russia after the Russians continued poor performance. This is more a case of what Russia hasn’t done rather than what Sweden has. Sweden is at Russia followed by hosting Austria, so we’ll find out soon what this team is made of. If they can get through those two with a couple points, they’re going to be in great shape. We ultimately think they grab 2nd place and an automatic qualifier.

Odds to reach finals: 91.62%

 

Russia

Definitely looking sketchy at this point. Russia really needs three points at home against Sweden. If they come out of that match with just a draw, they’re looking at the playoffs at best. While Montenegro and Liechtenstein are unlikely to overtake Russia, they’re each only 3 points behind, and the Russians could start to feel the pressure. “What do you know… about pressure?!?!?” “Well I have kissed a man”. Ironic that joke is used on Russia.

Odds to reach finals: 62.62%

 

Montenegro

Never really got off the ground, and unlikely to. Our projection for Montenegro has dropped 3 points, and that’s probably doom. The top 3 in this group are so good. But it’s not over yet, and the way Russia is playing, you never know.

Odds to reach finals: 2.16%

 

Moldova/Liechtenstein

We thought these teams would definitely pick up some points, and they have. But they’re not going to reach the finals now. Too much to overcome.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group H

Now we’re rolling. This group was rather easy to hit. Croatia/Italy as the top two. Then a free for all after it. And as we indicated in the preview, the 3rd place team from this group is going to the playoffs.

Croatia

Despite being just 4 points ahead of Norway, this is all Croatia’s to lose. They’ve got the schedule they need to put the other teams to bed. We fancy them over Italy, but it doesn’t really matter. Also, stop playing in empty stadiums. Or at least try to stop.

Odds to reach finals: 99.98%

 

Italy

Basically the exact same as Croatia. Going to finish in the top 2 and qualify directly for EURO 2016. We had Italy pegged for 22 points before. We have them predicted at 22 now. We get a lot of hate for our Italy rankings, but our projections for them are spot on. We give them respect when it’s due, but they’re not the invincible team many make them out to be.

Odds to reach finals: 99.28%

 

Norway

It’s going to be a good battle for 3rd place with Bulgaria. We give Norway the slight edge, but any slip up could see them overtaken. We’ll find out Thursday when Norway heads to Bulgaria. If they get a point, they’ll be in the driver’s seat. That’s a game to watch for sure. Ultimately, it should come down to the playoffs.

Odds to reach finals: 33.92%

 

Bulgaria

Disappointing effort thus far. We thought Bulgaria would be able to overtake Norway. They still may do just that, but the heat is on. A showdown with Norway on Thursday is going to set the tone for the rest of qualifying. We ultimately think that Bulgaria is going to fall short.

Odds to reach finals: 17.02%

 

Azerbaijan

Our sleeper team went to bed. We really thought the Azeris could make some noise and be a surprise in qualifying, but it was not to be.

Odds to reach finals: 0.02%

 

Malta

Another campaign. Another disappointment.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Group I

Definitely one of the most interesting groups. Now that Albania was awarded a victory, things are even tighter. Not going to make a joke there. Somebody will be the odd man out of Portugal/Denmark/Albania, but that may be OK. There’s about a 40% chance the best 3rd place team comes from this group. 3rd place may be enough to qualify directly. But how bout these apples.

Albania

That’s right. We now are projecting Albania to top Group I. While yes, there is a greater chance they don’t top it than they do, they still have the highest odds in our estimation. And we didn’t even count the awarded win towards our rankings. This is our new team. We’re on board. Real test at Denmark will let you know where this team stands.

Odds to reach finals: 93.14%

 

Portugal

Has been perfect other than the loss to Albania. Portugal still stands a very good chance of getting to EURO 2016. Don’t think anyone would be surprised to see them at the top.

Odds to reach finals: 93.00%

 

Denmark

Certainly exceeded our expectations. We still think there’s a very high chance Denmark reaches EURO 2016 even if they finish 3rd. A win over Albania this week virtually assures them a spot at the finals. Still in great shape.

Odds to reach finals: 83.58%

 

Serbia/Armenia

Serbia is out. Actually out. The only team in Europe to already be eliminated. Armenia will be there shortly.

Odds to reach finals: 0.00%

 

Thanks for reading the EURO 2016 Qualifying odds update. We’ll be back with updates soon. Follow us on Twitter @We_Global!

Our final 24:

France
England
Austria
Wales
Croatia
Slovakia
Spain
Belgium
Iceland
Romania
Italy
Switzerland
Poland
Northern Ireland
Albania
Portugal
Sweden
Germany
Denmark
Czech Republic
Hungary
Netherlands
Russia
Scotland

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