We are down to the final matchday in UEFA, and the possibilities seem endless. We’re here to break down each group, each scenario, and the probabilities of each happening.
First, Italy has already punched their ticket to the UEFA playoffs. So there are 7 spots available to the remaining teams.
France v. Belarus
Netherlands v. Sweden
For France, win and they will top the group. Additionally, if Sweden does not win, even a draw will suffice. But Sweden knew what they were doing against Luxembourg. They needed goal differential and they got it, so they should feel very strong to at least make the playoffs. Here’s how we project the matches to turn out.
We give Netherlands a 0.00% chance of beating Sweden by 7 goals, so from our perspective, they’re out. Additionally, because Greece has a 6 goal shortfall in GD v. Sweden, we have Sweden as a lock to get to at least the playoffs. We give France a 94.5% chance to win the group, and Sweden a 5.5% chance. Should France finish 2nd, they’re mathematically guaranteed to be in the playoffs.
Portugal v. Switzerland
About as straightforward as it gets. If Portugal defeats Switzerland at home, they qualify for Russia. If Switzerland gets a result, they will qualify. Whoever finishes 2nd is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. We give Portugal a 55.1% chance to win.
Northern Ireland is locked into 2nd place. Any point will guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. Even with a loss, they have a few outs depending on what happens in the other groups. They’re in great shape.
Northern Ireland: 98.5%
Serbia v. Georgia
Wales v. Republic of Ireland
|Wales||Republic of Ireland||47.7%||22.0%||30.2%|
Here’s where things get more interesting. Serbia, Wales, and Ireland are all in play here. If Serbia wins, they’ll qualify directly. If Serbia draws Georgia and Wales does not win, Serbia will likely qualify directly (unless Ireland wins by 6 goals). If Serbia loses by 1 and Wales/Ireland draw, Serbia qualifies directly.
Couple all of this together and we give Serbia an 82.3% chance to win the group, Wales a 15.5% chance, and Ireland a 2.2% chance.
Once you get to the playoffs, the Group D 2nd place finisher may be in trouble. We think there’s a 26.7% the worst 2nd place team comes from this group. If Wales wins, they are guaranteed at least a spot in the playoffs. If any of the top 3 draw, there’s no guarantee a Group D team gets in.
Republic of Ireland: 14.8%
Denmark v. Romania
Poland v. Montenegro
Montenegro will need a miracle. They need to win at Poland and have Romania win at Denmark. There’s only a 1.2% chance hat happens, and even then, they still need help.
Poland also just needs a point to qualify directly, or any Denmark slip-up. We give Poland a 94.8% chance to top the group. When you add all of it up, it really looks like it’ll be Denmark headed to the playoffs. Because of their goal differential, they should be fine. Group E will send a team to the playoffs.
Slovakia v. Malta
Slovenia v. Scotland
3 teams in play, but the probabilities are very straightforward. Scotland needs to win, or draw and have Slovakia not defeat Malta. We give Scotland a 40.1% chance of finishing 2nd in the group. Slovakia needs a win and Scotland not to win to finish 2nd. We estimate that probability at 58.2%. Slovenia must win and have Slovakia not win. There’s about a 1.7% chance of that happening.
But it does not end there. Group E could be in a bit of trouble should the 2nd place team not be Scotland.
If Scotland defeats Slovenia, they’re guaranteed to be in. But no team has a greater probability in qualifying of finishing 2nd and not making it than Slovakia. There’s a 38% chance Slovakia is the worst 2nd place team. Even though Slovakia has a greater chance than Scotland to finish 2nd, Scotland has a much better chance to make the playoffs because of the scenarios necessary for them to finish 2nd.
Nothing to see here. Italy is locked into 2nd place and locked into a spot in the playoffs.
Estonia v. Bosnia-Herzegovina
Greece v. Gibraltar
Bosnia is basically out. They must win, have Greece not defeat Gibraltar, and get a ton of help. Not gonna happen, even though they’re not mathematically eliminated yet.
Greece is in a weird spot. Their last game against Gibraltar will not count towards the 2nd place standings. They just need to make sure they finish in 2nd place. We give them a 98.1% chance of doing so. They’re in the clubhouse with 13 points and a +4 goal differential for the 2nd place standings. They will need some help, but look to be in pretty good shape.
Ukraine v. Croatia
Iceland v. Kosovo
Iceland had a historic victory over Turkey, while Croatia choked at the death against Finland. This has put Iceland in a fantastic spot. Win and into World Cup 2018. We give them a 91.4% chance of topping the group. Iceland is a practical lock to make the playoffs should they finish 2nd.
Additionally, since 14 is the magic number for the playoffs, it’s simple for Ukraine. Defeat Croatia at home and keep your campaign alive.
Croatia is in a bit of a tough spot, but also will move on with a win. If they only draw at Ukraine, they will finish 2nd, but are in real danger of missing the playoffs. Croatia should be looking to win, so that Ukraine v. Croatia game should be interesting.
Putting it all together, here’s what the playoffs look like:
As far as our results, what we ultimately expect the playoffs to look like are:
Key results for us are: Slovenia draws Scotland, Wales defeats Ireland, Croatia draws Ukraine.
The pots for the Playoffs, based on the October FIFA Rankings would be:
Agree or disagree? Thank you for reading and enjoy the final matchday. Please give us a follow on Twitter @We_Global