With the start of Euro 2024 just round the corner, we ask the Opta supercomputer for its Group C predictions for England, Denmark, Serbia and Slovenia. Who will qualify for the last 16? 

It’s the start of another major international tournament, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to look at England – who have won just one major men’s trophy in their history – and predict football to finally ‘come home’. 

Gareth Southgate’s men do indeed come into Euro 2024 as favourites, partly due to impressive recent performances in tournaments and also the sheer volume of attacking talent the Three Lions have at their disposal. 

They must overcome a group containing Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark, perennial ‘dark horses’ Serbia and a Slovenia team who produced their best-ever qualifying performance to get to Germany. 

We look at the Opta supercomputer’s predictor numbers to see how Group C is likely to play out.   

Euro 2024 Group C Predictions: The Quick Stats

  • England are overwhelming favourites to reach the last 16, doing so in 95.4% of pre-tournament simulations.
  • Denmark are the likeliest team to join them at 69.2%, though Serbia (56.2%) and Slovenia (42.1%) can’t be discounted. 
  • The Three Lions are the favourites to win the whole tournament (19.9%), which would be their first ever European Championship success.   

Will it be 11th-time lucky for England in Germany, with this their 11th men’s European Championship participation. No team has played as many games in the tournament (38) without ever winning it. 

Of course, they came close three years ago, losing to Italy on penalties at Wembley in the final. Penalty shootouts excluded, England have lost only one of their last 18 games at the European Championship (W10 D7), which was their shock exit against Iceland in the round of 16 of the 2016 edition under Roy Hodgson (2-1). 

They made light work of their qualifying group, finishing six points ahead of Italy in second place. It was the eighth consecutive qualifying group for a major tournament in which England have finished in first place, since failing to qualify for Euro 2008 after finishing third in their group. 

Captain Harry Kane will likely be crucial to any chances the Three Lions have. The Bayern Munich striker was involved in 10 goals during qualifying (8 goals, 2 assists), scoring or assisting in all seven of his starts. Indeed, Kane has been directly involved in at least one goal in his last 16 starts in Euros qualifiers (20 goals, 8 assists). 

No European player has scored more goals than Kane across the last three major international tournaments, 12 in total (6 at the 2018 World Cup, 4 at Euro 2020, and 2 at the 2022 World Cup). The only other player to match that tally is France’s Kylian Mbappé. 

England start their campaign against Serbia on 16 June – and we recently predicted Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for that game. In the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 pre-tournament simulations, they advanced to the last 16 in a massive 95.4% of them, while England went on to win the whole thing 19.9% of the time, more than any other country.

Can they finally win their first major men’s tournament since 1966? 

Euro 2024 Group C Predictions

Denmark will be one of the many teams looking to stop them, while also wanting to avenge their 2-1 loss to England in the semis of Euro 2020

Since winning the Euros in 1992, Denmark have reached the knockout stage of the tournament on only two occasions: the quarter-finals in 2004 and the semi-finals in 2020. They are given a healthy 69.2% chance of doing so for a third time, though, and kick things off in Stuttgart against Slovenia on 16 June. 

Kasper Hjulmand’s men topped their qualifying group with 22 points, winning all five home games.  

After a mixed debut season for Manchester United, Rasmus Højlund will be eager to shine. He scored seven goals in qualifying, more than any other teammate, and also recorded the most shots (23), shots on target (13) and highest xG (5.2) of any Danish player. His hat-trick against Finland in March made him the youngest (20 years, 47 days) treble scorer for Denmark in a Euros qualifier since a 19-year-old Michael Laudrup in 1983 against Luxembourg. 

There should be excitement as Denmark’s 33 matches at European Championships have produced on average 2.79 goals (42 for, 50 against), the highest ratio of the 12 teams to have played more than 20 matches in the competition. 

For Serbia, this will be their first participation at a European Championship as an independent nation, having competed as Yugoslavia and FR Yugoslavia in five previous editions. 

Serbia had no trouble finding the net in qualifying, being the only nation in Group G to score in all eight games (15 goals in total). Across qualifying for both the 2022 World Cup and Euro 2024, Serbia have scored in their last 22 matches (excluding play-offs) since losing 5-0 to Ukraine in June 2019. 

It may not be a surprise to learn that they are a threat in the air, with five of their 15 qualifying goals coming from headers, 33% being the highest ratio of teams that made it to Germany. With a strike pairing of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic, defences will quite literally need to be on their toes. 

They will have some experience to call on, too. Manager Dragan Stojkovic has made the most appearances of any Serbian player at European Championships, playing seven times across the 1984 and 2000 tournaments for Yugoslavia, scoring once. He is both the youngest (19y 102d) and oldest (35y 114d) player to have appeared at the Euros for Serbia (as Yugoslavia/FRY) and the fourth-youngest player to score in the competition (19y 108d)

Serbia have been handed a 56.2% chance of making it to the knockout stage. 

Slovenia are the outsiders of Group C, but that’s not to say they will be a pushover for anybody. 

They have never won a European Championship match, with their only previous participation coming at Euro 2000 when they drew two and lost one in the group stage, including a 3-3 draw with FR Yugoslavia. 

Slovenia impressed in qualifying, winning seven games and 22 points, both records for them in a major tournament qualifying campaign. They finished second in Group H behind Denmark on goal difference. 

Twenty-year-old striker Benjamin Sesko will be their likely dangerman, scoring five goals and assisting two more in nine qualifying appearances, the most goals and assists combined of any Slovenian player. The RB Leipzig talent recently became the youngest player to score in seven consecutive Bundesliga matches in the competition’s history, beating the previous record of Rudi Völler. 

Matjaz Kek’s men make it to the last 16 in 42.1% of the supercomputer’s simulations. 

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