• Our Women’s Euro 2022 Prediction sees England and France as the joint-favourites.
• Germany and Sweden are both given a 15% chance of victory.
• Reigning Champions Netherlands have a one-in-ten chance.
• Spain are the outsiders among the favourites at 8%.
A summer of football is upon us, and the preparations are in full swing. Teams are trying to one-up each other with creative and impactful squad announcement videos. Some have even commissioned a song for the tournament (it’s a bop, trust us). Irrespective of the preamble, Women’s Euro 2022 promises to eclipse its predecessors.
As a football-mad country gears up to host its own carnival, the big question looms: who sits on the throne at the end? Will football come home this summer? Will Germany reclaim their crown? Will Spain finally deliver on their promise?
With so many questions, we did what any normal person would do. We asked the supercomputer.
Is It Coming Home?
Ah, a host nation with Sarina Weigman as the manager. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s a combination that has been fruitful in recent memory.
Our supercomputer agrees with the omens, projecting England as having a 33% probability of reaching the final and a 19% chance to win it all based on 100,000 simulations of this tournament.
Their record under the new manager is fantastic. The first 13 games of Wiegman’s tenure have resulted in 11 wins, two draws and one iconic Arnold Clark Cup win. Their most recent game against Netherlands was the first time they had gone behind in a game and they ended up winning 5-1.
Add to that fact that, according to our Power Rankings, they’ve drawn the easiest group.
England’s path to the final isn’t straightforward. While they are heavy favourites to win the group, the proximity to Group B means trouble. If they win their group, they will then face whoever finishes second in Group B, likely to be one of Spain or Germany, both tough opponents that they came up against recently in the Arnold Clark Cup. Our predictor has Germany (80%) ahead of Spain (69%) when it comes to progressing to the quarter-finals.
If England get past that hurdle, they will face the winners of Group C/runners-up of Group D, likely to be Sweden in this case. A high stakes game against the Swedes might bring back the trauma of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.
While the signs leading up to the tournament are increasingly positive, the history isn’t. The last time England hosted the Women’s Euros they got knocked out in the group stage – even if it was an eight-team tournament in 2005.
England’s best finish at the Euros came in the inaugural edition of the competition in 1984, when they lost to Sweden in the final on penalties. It was a very different time – halves were 35 minutes long for starters. But the supercomputer is not superstitious. It does not believe in ghosts of the past. And so it puts England as joint-favourites once the ball starts rolling on 6 July.
Allez Les Bleues
France, the other favourites for the tournament according to our prediction model, are placed in a supposedly manageable group alongside Italy, Belgium and Iceland. That said, Group D has the lowest spread in our Power Rankings model between its teams of any group, as well as the lowest overall Power Rankings average (the lower the rank the better), suggesting things are poised quite delicately.
Our Power Rankings model really likes this French side, with Corinne Diacre’s team ranked second in world football.
Barring any slip ups, Les Bleues are touted as heavy favourites to win the group and will likely encounter the runners-up from Group C’s quartet of Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal.
That leaves Italy, Belgium and Iceland to compete for that runners-up spot. Italy currently lead the pack with a 53% chance to get past the group stages, while Belgium and Italy have a 33% and 32% chance respectively.
With this said, the supercomputer is cold and unfeeling towards the internal issues that have plagued Les Bleus ever since their home World Cup. There’s been visible friction between the veterans and manager Diacre, eventually culminating win Amandine Henry and Eugénie Le Sommer, two senior stars of the team, dropping completely out of favour. With an injury scare to Grace Geyoro as well, things look a little bleak in midfield.
France’s preparation for the tournament is focused on building momentum rather than testing their steel, with two friendlies planned against lowly-ranked Vietnam and Cameroon.
Time will tell whether France can put their internal struggles aside and come together when it really matters.
The Group B Conundrum
Part of the reason why Germany and Spain, two of the favourites to win the tournament among the general public, don’t have the best odds is our model is because of the relative difficulty of their groups.
Depending on how you define “Group of Death”, one could argue Group B, featuring the quartet of tournament favourites Germany and Spain alongside last edition’s runners-up, Denmark, and Finland, is one of them.
Germany are no strangers to winning the Euros, having lifted the trophy a record eight times. In fact, 2017 was the first time they failed to reach the semi-final stage of the competition since 1995, winning it six times back-to-back over that time. Germany have the best odds in Group B for progressing to the knockout stages, higher than Spain’s.
Beyond the group stage, if Germany manage to top their group, their next opponent would be the runners-up of Group A, the weakest group on paper. That’s an evidently manageable quarter-final tie. Getting through that will likely see them face our tournament favourites, France, in the semi-final. The odds for each of those teams progressing to the final are pretty even, with France given a 32% chance while Germany are projected at 27%.
The talent pool at Germany’s disposal has left sometimes them visibly confused when deciding their strongest line up, something which hasn’t always worked in their favour. Their record against the top 10 international sides in the past 18 months doesn’t incite much confidence either with Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side losing to France, Netherlands and England in this period and managing a draw against Spain at the Arnold Clark Cup.
The Case for Spain
Another much-fancied team, Spain, find themselves in a similar boat. This squad comes into the tournament with a lot of hype behind it, particularly with the players’ domestic performances. Just as some of the most successful Spanish men’s teams did, this squad also features a core from a dominant Barcelona side.
Unfortunately, Spain have also garnered a reputation of being notoriously inefficient in front of goal when it matters.
Failing to win the group would see them face the winners from group A, likely to be England, in the first knock-out round. It’s a matchup capable of being the final. Get through that and Sweden await in the semi-finals. Those are two extremely tough encounters, and that’s borne out in their 17% chance of reaching the final.
Jorge Vilda’s side have been the great pretenders at the international stage – bags of talent but lacking execution.
Pernille Harder’s Denmark side were runners-up in 2017, coming very close to lifting the silverware. They find themselves in a battle of the heavyweights in Group B but will love a repeat of 2017 where their run to the final included defeating Germany with a late goal in the quarter-finals.
Given how tough their group is, the supercomputer doesn’t like their chances though, with the Danes projected a 5% chance of making it to the finals and just a 2% chance of going one better than in 2017.
With a third-place finish at World Cup 2019 and a runners-up medal at the Olympics, Sweden are the perennial bridesmaids of international football. One could argue the super Swedes deserve a winners medal for their performances in those competitions but glory has evaded them ever since their victory in the inaugural edition of this competition.
A group with holders Netherlands alongside Switzerland and Portugal shouldn’t be much of a hassle for the Blaglut, with our model assigning them an 80% chance to advance to the quarter-finals and a 48% chance to make it to the final four.
The Swedes will hope to push beyond a mere podium finish though, and the supercomputer suggests there a 15% chance of that happening in the summer.
Defending the Crown?
The Netherlands have excelled in the last two major international tournaments. They won the 2017 Euros in front of a home crowd, before reaching the final of the World Cup two years later. They were in their golden period, but things haven’t gone to plan since then. The Dutch lost their manager Weigman and were recently handed a 5-1 beating by her new team and tournament favourites, England.
Their group is manageable with our prediction model giving the Orange Lionesses a 71% chance to advance to the quarter-finals.
Defending the crown however seems a tough task. Unless they finish top of the group, they are likely to encounter France and Germany/Spain en route to the final, three other title contenders. Avoiding big teams is impossible in a 16-team tournament and they will have to run the gauntlet to win this summer. Our supercomputer gives a 10% chance of that happening.
Two-time champions, Norway, have been bolstered further in attack following the return of Ada Hegerberg. They will be eager to shake off the disappointment from 2017, where they exited in the group stage losing all three games while scoring zero goals.
Martin Sjögren’s side have underperformed at the international stage, but the talent pool is as stacked as it could be, at least in the attacking department.
While Norway are the second most likely team to advance to the quarter final stage from group A (61%), Austria are very much capable of spoiling the party again. Sjögren’s side’s path in the knockouts is a difficult one as well. Finishing second would see them face the winners of group B in the quarter-finals, one of Spain or Germany, a task easier said than done.
Case for the Underdogs
Football is synonymous with hope. Hope that on a given day, for those 90 minutes, nothing else apart from the scoreline matters. Whether you have the historical pedigree, the form, the numbers, it all comes down to 90 minutes. That’s when magic happens.
In 2017, debutants Austria topped a group that had France in it. Their semi-final run included zero losses in normal time. A failed World Cup qualification followed but since then they have earned a reputation of being a solid team capable of causing problems to any side.
Laura Feiersinger was a centre-piece last time and they will be hoping to recreate some of that magic again. Irene Fuhrmann’s side are projected a healthy 40% to progress to the quarter-final stage, upsetting one of England or Norway.
While Italy’s men’s side failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 their female counterparts made history by qualifying for the 2019 edition following a 20-year absence. Placed in Group D, with France, Iceland and Belgium, Luigi Bertollini’s side will be looking to go one better than 2017 and as far as possible. Le Azzure are predicted to have a 53% chance of advancing to the quarter-finals with a one-in-four chance to reach the semi-final stages.
So, the supercomputer decrees that football might be coming home this summer. We have just over a week to wait before we get to find out how that journey might begin.
Stats Perform’s Women’s Euro 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 thousands of 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.
Banner image created by Matt Sisneros