EURO 2016 Qualifying – Final Predictions

EURO 2016 Qualifying concludes in October. 20 of the 24 teams that reach the finals will be determined this month. The final 4 spots will be determined in the playoffs which take place in November. We’re going to give you a rundown of how things look as of this moment. We’ll also project a final 24, and finally, give you an idea of what we expect the final pots to look like in France next summer.

Let’s go.


Group A

Of all the groups, this one has the most settled thus far. Iceland and Czech Republic have already qualified. We gave them a 99% chance and 79% chance to reach the finals respectively, prior to September’s matches. We also gave Latvia and Kazakhstan a combined 0% chance to reach the finals. They’ve since been eliminated.

We’re down to Netherlands and Turkey playing for 3rd place. We give Turkey a 1.44% chance of being the best 3rd place team, and Netherlands did not finish as the best 3rd place team in any of our simulations. There’s a 99.4% chance that whoever finishes 3rd heads to the playoffs.

Turkey has a 2 point lead on the Netherlands. Their final two are at the Czech Republic and home against Iceland. That’s awful tough. But given that both have already qualified, perhaps it’ll be a little easier than initially expected.

Netherlands is at Kazakhstan and then hosts the Czech Republic. It’s a little bit easier, but they still have to make up 2 points in just 2 games. We give the Netherlands a 59.2% chance to claim 3rd place and Turkey a 40.8% chance to finish 3rd.


Group B

EURO 2016 Qualifying has been wild in Group B. It looked like Belgium would run away with the group, but Wales has emerged as a strong contender. Both teams are on the verge of qualifying for EURO 2016. Neither team finished outside of the top 2 in any of our simulations. Before September, we gave Wales a 99.98% chance and Belgium a 99.56% chance. That’s just about up to 100%. Wales needs just one point to qualify and they’re at Bosnia, followed by a home match against Andorra. Belgium is at Andorra and then hosts Israel. A draw or win against Israel or a win against Andorra will see Belgium qualify. That’s just about a lock to us.

It’s also extremely unlikely that the 3rd place finisher is the best 3rd place team. The odds are basically 0%. That tends to happen when everyone beats up on the last place team. Israel currently holds two points on Bosnia and 4 on Cyprus. We’ll start with Israel.

Israel hosts Cyprus, and then is at Belgium. Two wins lock up 3rd place. But it’s incredibly important for them to defeat Cyprus. Winning that match puts all the heat on Bosnia to win their final two. If Israel cannot defeat Cyprus at home, it’ll blow this group wide open as they have an extremely difficult final match at Belgium.

Bosnia-Herzegovina hosts Wales and then is at Cyprus. That match against Wales is going to be absolutely electric with Wales just needing a draw to qualify for EURO 2016. At a minimum, Bosnia is going to need 2 points, if not more to get through. And if Israel defeats Cyprus, Bosnia is in a world of hurt.

Cyprus is four points behind Israel and not yet mathematically eliminated. They play the two teams they’re competing with, so two wins may indeed be enough considering Israel would then need to win at Belgium. They don’t exactly control their own destiny, but it’s as close as you can get. The odds are against them, but they’re not out of it yet.

To finish 3rd: Israel 76.9%, Bosnia-Herzegovina 22.0%, Cyprus 1.1%


Group C

This group always looked like a 3 team race. Slovakia was perfect through 6 matches of EURO 2016 Qualifying, but only took 1 point in September. They were passed by Spain, and Ukraine is now right on their heels. It’s still highly likely that Spain/Slovakia are the top two with Ukraine in 3rd. We think there’s a 96.4% chance that happens. Belarus, Luxembourg, and FYR Macedonia have all been eliminated. The top 3 have all locked up at worst a spot in the playoffs.

There’s also a pretty decent chance that the best 3rd place team comes from this group. There’s about a 25% chance Ukraine is the best 3rd place team, and another 2% for Slovakia. Spain didn’t finish outside the top 2 in any simulation.

Spain hosts Luxembourg and is at Ukraine. A draw at Ukraine will punch their ticket. A win over Luxembourg punches their ticket. The odds of them losing both matches is so small, that as we said, they finished in the top 2 in every simulation.

Slovakia hosts Belarus and then is at Luxembourg. It’s a huge advantage to be already done with Spain and Ukraine. Slovakia is 2 points behind Spain and 3 ahead of Ukraine. One win or one Ukraine loss punches their ticket to France. Their odds of qualifying directly are 96.4%, and overall a 99.5% chance of reaching the finals.

Ukraine goes to Macedonia and then hosts Spain in the final match. They have to get 3 points in that first match to get back into contention. But even 6 points may not be enough to crack the top two. They certainly need some help. They have a 3.6% chance of qualifying directly, a 25% chance of being the best 3rd place team, and a 71.4% chance of heading to the playoffs.

All of this jives with what we expected before September. There really weren’t any surprises in the September qualifiers.


Group D

This has been one of the best groups in qualifying. Germany, Poland, Ireland and Scotland have all been very competitive, and are all still alive. But Scotland was the team that really slipped up in September. We gave them almost a 60% chance to reach the finals before their September matches. We now give them just a 6% chance to reach the finals. That’s very unfortunate after a very strong campaign. Germany looks to be very close to qualifying, and Poland might not be far behind them. Georgia and Gibraltar are out.

As is the case with group B, when you get a team like Gibraltar who everyone beats up on, it’s very difficult to produce the best 3rd place team. There’s just about a 100% chance the 3rd place team from this group goes to the playoffs.

Germany is 2 points ahead of Poland and 4 ahead of Ireland. Given Poland still hosts Ireland, there’s a 99.96% chance Germany qualifies directly. Germany is at Ireland and finishes by hosting Georgia. Just a draw at Ireland will be enough to see Germany through to the finals. A win over Georgia will also do it if they haven’t clinched after the first match.

Poland is just two points ahead of Ireland, but they’re in a great spot. They’re at Scotland before hosting Ireland. So it’s not a given they crack the top two. But the real benefit is that Ireland has to play Germany, and if Germany wins that match, Poland needs just 1 point from their final two matches to get through. We give them a 94.6% chance of being among the top two.

Ireland is not far back in points, but they have an awfully tough schedule. They host Germany and then travel to Poland. Two extremely difficult matches, plus they have to make up points. Ireland still has a really good shot to finish 3rd, as they’re 4 points ahead of Scotland. A win in either match will ensure a spot in the playoffs. We give them a 5.44% chance to finish top 2, and an 82.36% chance to finish 3rd. Those are pretty good odds.

Scotland may be back in points, but they’re also not out of it given Ireland’s difficult schedule and the fact that they hold the tiebreaker over Ireland. Scotland hosts Poland and is at Gibraltar. It’s possible they win two matches and sneak into 3rd place. They can get through with 4 points if Ireland loses both, and we think there’s just a 12.2% chance they get to the playoffs.


Group E

We’ve been tooting our own horn for this group in EURO 2016 Qualifying throughout the process. Everything still is what we expected. England has already qualified. And San Marino has been eliminated. But after that things get very interesting. 6 points separate 2nd place and 5th place, so it’s not over yet for anyone else. This is one of only two groups with 5 teams still alive.

Switzerland is on 15 points. Slovenia is on 12 points. Estonia is on 10 points. Lithuania is on 9 points. The problem for Estonia and Lithuania is that both Switzerland and Slovenia still get San Marino. As a result, their odds are extremely slim of getting towards the playoffs. We’ll repeat it again. Bottom feeder that everyone beat up on does not produce the best 3rd place team. There was not a single simulation which saw the best 3rd place team come from this group.

Switzerland hosts San Marino before finishing at Estonia. A win over San Marino may be enough, even if they lose at Estonia. We give them a 99.48% chance to finish 2nd in the group. In every other simulation, they finished 3rd. That’s what happens when you host San Marino.

Slovenia is in an interesting spot. They host Lithuania and are at San Marino. Just a draw against Lithuania knocks them out, but it also would relegate Slovenia to 3rd place. It would be something if Lithuania managed to win, but it does seem unlikely. There were some simulations where Slovenia dropped out of the top 3, but it was very, very small. 0.52% to finish 2nd, 99.28% to finish 3rd, 0.20% to finish 4th. So there’s a 99.3% chance Slovenia will be in the playoffs.

Estonia is just 2 points back, which is within striking distance. The problem is that they’re at England before hosting Switzerland. They probably are going to need to win both due to Slovenia playing San Marino, but you never know. We give them just a 0.12% chance of getting into 3rd place.

Lithuania is at Slovenia and then hosts England. They have to beat Slovenia. No way around it. They then are most likely going to need to defeat England as well and hope for some luck. Just a 0.08% chance of finishing 3rd.


Group F

Man is this a fun group. It looked like Romania was going to run away with this thing, but they played 2 goalless draws in September. Hardly convincing. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has taken over to top the group and Hungary are lurking right behind. And Finland has made their final push to get into the playoffs.

We really like Romania and Northern Ireland to finish top 2. We think there’s about a 95% chance that happens. But Hungary is in a great spot. There’s a 46% chance they’re the best 3rd place team and qualify directly. That’s pretty damn good. The Faroe Islands were eliminated after defeating Greece twice. We were pulling for them. Greece is also out, as they were far and away the most disappointing team in qualifying.

Northern Ireland is up 1 point on Romania and 4 on Hungary. That means either 1 win or 1 Hungary loss punches their ticket. They host Greece before finishing at Finland. That’s about as good as you can hope for, and we fully expect them to get through. They mathematically cannot finish worse than 3rd place. We give them a 96.68% chance to finish top 2.

Romania is in just about the same boat as Northern Ireland despite being a point behind. They host Finland and are at the Faroe Islands. We actually give them a higher chance than Northern Ireland to finish top 2 despite us favoring Northern Ireland to top the group. It’s 97.72% to finish top 2, which is a slight dropoff from our 99% odds before September. They should be fine.

Hungary is in an interesting spot. They host Faroe Islands then go to Greece. Hungary has the benefit of not taking all 6 points from Greece, while Greece is likely to finish dead last. That’s what gives them the edge to be the best 3rd place team. We only give Hungary a 0.08% chance of dropping to 4th. They’re 5.6% to finish top 2, 46% to finish as the best 3rd place team, 48.3% to head to the playoffs. It really is a toss up whether they go to the playoffs or qualify directly.

Finland isn’t out of it yet. But they play the top two in this group: Northern Ireland and Romania. They need at least 4 wins to get through to the playoffs. We give them just a 0.08% chance. But they’re still alive.


Group G

Austria has won the group after blowing through EURO 2016 Qualifying. Russia and Sweden looked like they’d be competition, but not at all. Austria cruised through. Liechtenstein and Moldova have been eliminated. That leaves the direct qualifying spot and 3rd place to Russia, Sweden, and Montenegro. And boy is it close.

Russia has 14 points. Sweden has 12 points. Montenegro has 11 points. But we fully expect them to finish in that order due to their remaining schedules. There’s a minute 1% chance Russia winds up as the best 3rd place team, but we wouldn’t count on it. The 3rd place team is likely headed to the playoffs.

Russia is at Moldova and then hosts Montenegro. They have to take 3 at Moldova, and doing so will put them in an outstanding position. But given Montenegro is right behind them, there could be a lot to play for in that final match. Ultimately we think Russia finishes 2nd, but there were some simulations where they finished 4th. 87.84% to finish 2nd, 11.88% to finish 3rd, 0.28% to finish 4th. Russia needs 4 points to clinch.

Sweden is at Liechtenstein then hosts Moldova. They definitely have an opportunity to jump Russia if Russia doesn’t take 6 points. But Russia does have the tiebreaker over Sweden, so if they are level, Russia goes through. Given their schedule, it’s going to be very difficult for Montenegro to get back into it despite being just one point back. We give Sweden a 12% chance to finish 2nd, an 87.44% chance to head to the playoffs, and 0.56% to finish 4th.

Montenegro did what they had to do in September to stay alive getting two wins. But they were against the bottom two, and the remaining schedule is not friendly. They host Austria before going to Russia, and that’s not a spot you want to be in when you have to make up points. They actually finished 2nd in a few simulations, but it is likely Montenegro winds up 4th. 0.16% to finish 2nd, 0.68% to finish 3rd, 99.16% to finish 4th.


Group H

You may have missed it, but Croatia was docked a point for blatant racism. That one point actually makes a pretty decent dent in their odds to qualify. Croatia was just about a lock to get through, but that’s not the case anymore. Italy now looks certain to win the group and Norway is looking much better. Those 3 teams have been guaranteed at worst a spot in the playoffs. Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Malta are out.

Italy sits on 18 points. Norway is 2nd with 16. And Croatia has dropped from 15 to 14. They have work to do.

Italy is at Azerbaijan before finishing by hosting Norway. If they defeat Azerbaijan, they’ll qualify for France. If they don’t defeat Azerbaijan, things get interesting, as that match with Norway is going to be a blast. They could be playing for a qualifying spot. Due to Croatia being docked, Italy’s odds of finishing top 2 jumped from 88.5% to around 94%. They’re looking very good.

Croatia is still projected to finish 2nd, but their odds of finishing top 2 dropped from 92.5% to 77.2% just by being docked that one point. That’s a pretty large difference. They host Bulgaria and are at Malta, so they’re looking pretty strong to finish on 20 points. Anything less than that could very well see them in the playoffs. And they’ll be a dangerous team in the playoffs.

Norway must be thrilled to be in this spot. They host Malta before traveling to Italy. And if they defeat Malta, the game against Italy is going to be unbelievable. But it may not mean anything if they defeat Malta and Croatia doesn’t defeat Bulgaria (just an 11% chance). Norway has almost a 30% chance to finish top 2, which is awful cruel despite being in a good spot. We’re leaning towards them heading to the playoffs.


Group I

It’s down to three teams. Serbia and Armenia have been eliminated, so it’s down to Portugal, Denmark and Albania. Portugal is on 15 points. Denmark is on 12 points. And Albania is on 11 points. But the issue is that Denmark has just 1 match remaining while the other teams have two. As a result, we like Portugal and Albania to qualify directly.

Portugal is in the driver’s seat, and they need just a point from 2 matches to qualify. Portugal hosts Denmark and then is at Serbia. That match against Denmark is huge for both teams. If Denmark can’t get any points, they’re basically headed to the playoffs. We give Portugal a 96.4% chance to qualify directly. That’s actually a little lower than we expected.

Albania hosts Serbia and is at Armenia. They must be licking their chops. Given that it is unlikely Denmark defeats Portugal, one win from those two matches will see Albania qualify for EURO 2016. We give them an 82% chance to qualify directly, a 4% chance to be the best 3rd place team, and a 14% chance to go to the playoffs.

Denmark just has the lone match at Portugal and they really could use the full 3 points. There’s a 5% chance they’re the best 3rd place team, but they need points. There’s also a 21.5% chance they finish in the top 2. There’s a 73.5% chance Denmark is headed to the playoffs.


Final 24

Our top two from each group (teams in bold have qualified):

A: Iceland, Czech Republic
B: Belgium, Wales
C: Spain, Slovakia
D: Germany, Poland
E: England, Switzerland
F: Northern Ireland, Romania
G: Austria, Russia
H: Italy, Croatia
I: Portugal, Albania

And our projected best 3rd place team: Hungary

The 8 teams to go to the playoffs we believe are:

Republic of Ireland

Of those 8, our 4 highest ranked are Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, and Israel. We’ll project those as our final 4. Given the projected 24, here’s how the pots should look for the EURO 2016 finals.


Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
France Italy Poland Iceland
Germany Portugal Romania Republic of Ireland
Spain Russia Czech Republic Israel
England Switzerland Slovakia Wales
Netherlands Austria Hungary Albania
Belgium Croatia Denmark Northern Ireland


Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global for latest news, odds, and projections.