With the start of the tournament on the horizon, we get the Opta supercomputer’s Euro 2024 Group B predictions for Spain, Croatia, Italy and Albania. Who will qualify for the last 16?  

The draw for Euro 2024 threw up some very interesting groups, and arguably none more so than Group B, with three teams each with a reasonable chance of going all the way in Germany. Former European champions Spain and Italy are joined by a Croatia side that finished third at the 2022 World Cup, as well as Albania.   

So, who will qualify for the last 16? And which teams have the best chance of progressing the furthest in the tournament?   

We look at the Opta supercomputer’s predictor numbers to answer those questions and more. 

Euro 2024 Group B Predictions: The Quick Stats

  • Spain are favourites to reach the last 16, doing so in 89.1% of pre-tournament simulations.
  • Luis de la Fuente’s side are the favourites to top the group at 47.3%. 
  • Italy (80.3%) and Croatia (67.8%) are also expected to join La Roja in the knockout stage.   

Three-time European champions Spain get their Euro 2024 campaign under way on 15 June when they take on Croatia in Berlin. 

Not including penalty shootouts, La Roja have lost only two of their last 22 matches at the Euros (W13 D7), but perhaps concerningly for them, those two defeats came against Croatia and Italy in the 2016 tournament.  

Spain will surely be confident of progression to the last 16, though, having reached the knockout stage in six of their last seven Euros appearances; the only exception coming in 2004. 

They get through Group B in 89.1% of the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 pre-tournament simulations, and top the group in 47.3% of them. 

Euro 2024 Group B Predictions

Spain will need to find their way into their opponents’ penalty box with regularity, though. Their last 50 goals at the Euros have all been scored from inside the box. Their last goal from outside the penalty area was Raul’s strike against Slovenia in the group stage of Euro 2000. 

De la Fuente will be the first Spain manager since Javier Clemente (World Cup 1998) to take charge of La Roja at a major tournament having never been capped by the national team as a player. 

At 9.6% to go all the way, Spain are the fourth favourites to win Euro 2024 according to the supercomputer behind England (19.9%), France (19.1%) and Germany (12.4%).   

They will have to overcome a group that not only features a 2022 World Cup semi-finalist, but also the defending European champions.   

Italy (80.3%) are the supercomputer’s second favourites to qualify for the last 16. They surprised many when they lifted the trophy three years ago at Wembley, having beaten Spain in the semi-finals on their way to defeating England in the final, both on penalties.  

Should Italy succeed again in Germany, they will become only the second country to successfully defend the trophy after Spain did so in 2012

This will be Luciano Spalletti’s first major international tournament as head coach of the Azzurri. The former Napoli boss follows in the footsteps of 10 other Italian coaches who have taken charge of Italy at the Euros, with no non-Italian manager ever doing so. 

As the cliché suggests, don’t expect their games to be high-scoring affairs. Italy’s 45 matches at European Championships have produced an average of just 1.84 goals (52 for, 31 against), the lowest ratio of any of the 25 teams to have taken part in 10+ matches in the competition. 

Italy only win the Euros again in 5.0% of simulations, making them an outside shout as eighth favourites, just one place ahead of another of their Group B opponents. 

Croatia will be a strong proposition, though their performances at European Championships have not yet matched their World Cup outings. They have reached the semi-finals in 50% of their World Cup appearances (3 out of 6), but are yet to reach the final four at the Euros (no semi-finals in 6 appearances). 

Zlatko Dalić will become the first manager to lead Croatia into four consecutive major tournaments. Since his appointment in 2017, Croatia have reached the final four of the World Cup twice (2nd place in 2018, 3rd place in 2022) and the round of 16 at Euro 2020. 

Croatia have a 67.8% chance of advancing from Group B, but are given only a 2.0% chance of winning the whole tournament. 

Veteran Luka Modrić will, of course, be crucial to their prospects. Excluding play-offs, the Real Madrid star was involved in the fourth-most open-play shot-ending sequences of any player during Euro 2024 qualifying (66), behind Bruno Fernandes (81), Kylian Mbappé (75) and Granit Xhaka (74). 

Albania are the undoubted underdogs of the group, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be an easy opponent for any of the other three teams. 

Sylvinho leads Albania into only their second major international tournament after Gianni De Biasi took them to Euro 2016. The former Arsenal and Barcelona left-back will become the first Brazilian head coach at a European Championship since Luiz Felipe Scolari led Portugal in 2008. 

Albania finished top of their Euro 2024 qualifying group ahead of Czech Republic and Poland. Jasir Asani was a big help in that, being involved in more goals in qualifying than any other Albania player (3 goals, 2 assists). Indeed, his three goals were scored from just four shots on target. They also have the talents of Rey Manaj to call upon in attack – the striker scored 18 goals in the Turkish Süper Lig for Sivasspor in 2023-24.

They are given just a 33.4% chance of getting through to the last 16, but if they can make a good start in their opener against Italy on 15 June, don’t count them out.

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