Sweet Sixteen: Predicting Euro 2020’s Knockout Stages
We’re now down to the final 16 teams at Euro 2020 following the elimination of eight sides from the group stages. All the favourites remain in the competition, but some will definitely fall in the Round of 16 with England hosting Germany and Belgium facing Portugal in Seville.
Who will lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy in London on July 11? We obviously don’t know the answer to that, but we can put our deep historical data to use, and with the help of Stats Perform’s AI team we’re able to give you some numerical support for the most likely outcomes.
What does our tournament predictor say as we head into the knockout stages of Euro 2020? We look at the numbers and explain away.
France and Belgium
Before a ball was even kicked at Euro 2020, we gave these two nations the best chance of winning the tournament and that is still the case after both won their respective groups.
France are attempting to become only the fourth team to win back-to-back World Cup and European Championship, after – in no particular order – West Germany (Euro 1972, World Cup 1974), Spain (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012) and France themselves (World Cup 1998, Euro 2000).
Our predictor now gives them a 19.6% chance of winning Euro 2020. That’s slightly down from 20.5% pre-tournament but being in the trickier half of the draw alongside Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Italy has dented their chances ever so slightly.
Should France do it then Didier Deschamps would become the first man to win the World Cup and European Championship both as player and manager. He’s also the only manager at Euro 2020 to have won the tournament as a player.
Belgium have never won a major tournament, unless you count the 1920 Olympics, which you absolutely should not. They won Group A with maximum points but weirdly raised more questions than they answered about their validity as tournament winners following shaky victories against Denmark and Finland. The return of Kevin De Bruyne from injury is a huge boost and Romelu Lukaku seems to be carrying his brilliant domestic form from 2020-21 into this tournament with three goals in three games so far.
Belgium come in as second favourites in the tournament predictor now (17.9%), but they’ll have to do it the hard way. A possible route of Portugal > Italy > Spain/France before the final? If they get to the final, then you’d have to say they deserve the title.
The Record Winners
Spain and Germany
No nation has won the European Championships as often as both Spain and Germany (three), with 40% of the previous editions of the tournament won by one of these teams. Both teams find themselves on opposite halves of the draw, so this could even be a repeat of the 2008 final between the two nations.
Germany were just six minutes away from group-stage elimination before an 84th-minute equaliser against Hungary from Leon Goretzka saved their tournament. Regardless of how late to the Last 16 party they entered, they survived the ‘Group of Death’ and now find themselves in the widely regarded easier half of the draw.
A Last 16 tie away at Wembley against England sounds like a tough task, but the Germans haven’t lost a game at the home of English football since 1975 – winning six and drawing two in that time, including that penalty shootout progression against England at Euro 96, where current Three Lions’ manager Gareth Southgate missed the all-important penalty.
Germany come in as fourth favourites at 9.3% behind Spain (12.9%) in third. The Spanish passed teams to death in the group stages but couldn’t find their form in front of goal until midway through the first half in their final game against Slovakia.
Spain made by far the most successful passes (2,050) and averaged more possession (76.1%) than all teams in the group stage, while only Italy (60) and Denmark (59) attempted more shots than they did (48). Spain scored just one of the first 41 shots in the tournament but found their form at the right time in scoring three of their final seven.
The There or Thereabouts
England, Netherlands and Italy
Two of these sides have won a European Championship title. And then there’s England.
Italy cruised through the group with three wins and three clean sheets and, based on our match predictor, have second-easiest tie in the Last 16, with a 76.1% chance of progression against Austria in London. Hopes are high in Italy, with the Azzurri on a joint-record 30-game unbeaten run and having won a record 11 games in a row without conceding a single goal, but with potential clashes with Belgium/Portugal in the quarters followed by France/Spain in the semis it’s going to be tough to keep that going for the remainder of Euro 2020.
Our predictor gives the Italians an 8% chance of winning the tournament, mainly due to that very tough potential route to the final and being in the tougher side of the draw than the two teams just above them at 8.5%: England and the Netherlands.
The Dutch were another team with a 100% record in the groups and with eight goals they are top-scoring team coming into the knockout stages. They are looking to win their opening four games of a European Championship for only the second time, having last done so at Euro 2000, where current coach Frank de Boer played in every minute of their four victories to open the tournament.
England won Group D to make it to the Last 16, just the third time in their last 11 major tournament appearances that the Three Lions have topped their group, alongside Euro 2012 and World Cup 2006. England went on to exit both of those tournaments on penalties following a 0-0 draw, so we all look forward to the inevitability of this happening yet again against the Germans in this tournament.
England have never won a European Championships knockout match in 90 minutes (D4 L2) – four games have gone to penalties, with England only progressing once via this method, against Spain at Wembley at Euro 96.
The Reigning Champion
Portugal have had it rough at Euro 2020. They’ve already had to play two European giants in the group stage and now face the second favourites in our tournament predictor, Belgium. Win this tie and it’s likely to be Italy in the quarters before a potential tie with France or Spain in the semis.
We give them just a 5.8% chance of retaining the European Championship title, due mainly to how tough their route to the final would be. Only one team has retained the European Championship title before (Spain in 2012) and it doesn’t look likely to happen again this year.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo. Mr. Euros himself. The 36-year-old is currently top scorer at this tournament with five goals, extending his all-time scoring record to 14 goals in European Championship history. If there is any player that can carry their team through the tournament and defy the expected, it’s him.
Denmark and Sweden
Denmark became the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group stage games. To qualify after such an inexplicably difficult start to the tournament was a surprise, but the Danes put in an excellent display against Belgium in the second game before a thrilling 4-1 victory over Russia in their final match to qualify as the second-placed team in Group B.
Sweden surprised everyone by winning Group E ahead of Spain but completed the fewest passes of any side in the group stage (591). Functional, we guess.
Both of Sweden and Denmark are both favourites to progress to quarter-finals in their matches against Ukraine and Wales respectively, but our predictor gives them little chance of winning Euro 2020. The Danes are given a 3.6% chance of tournament victory, which is just above Sweden (1.9%).
Switzerland, Ukraine, Wales, Czech Republic, Croatia & Austria
Well, Greece won it in 2004, didn’t they?
None of these sides won their group, with half of them qualifying as the best third-placed teams. Of these six, the two with the best chance of winning their Last 16 ties are Ukraine (36.8%) and Wales (32.4%) according to our match predictor, but none of them are favourites for their games.
Are all six of these teams tricky opponents for anyone at Euro 2020? Absolutely.
Do we think any of them will go on to win Euro 2020? Unlikely.
Once the knockout ties begin, these percentages will change. We’ve got a dedicated Euros hub on The Analyst with live updates, as well as many more features including advanced team and player stats.
You’ve seen our (projected) results. Now, you may want to know how this is all worked out.
Stats Perform’s Euros Prediction model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Stats Perform’s team rankings. The odds and rankings are based on historical and recent team performances.
The model considers the strength of opponents and the difficulty of the “path to the final” by using the match outcome probabilities with the composition of the groups and the seedings into the knockout stages. It then simulates the remainder of the tournament 40,000 times. By analysing the outcome of each of these simulations, the model returns the likelihood of progression for each team at each stage of the tournament to create our final predictions.