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UEFA EURO forecast: France will be European Champion

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Ein Lederball liegt auf Rasen © Pixabay

After winning the FIFA World Cup, France could also win the European Football Championship – this is the conclusion of researchers from the Universities of Innsbruck (Austria) and Ghent (Belgium), TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity and the Technical Uni­ver­sity of Munich (Germany) and Molde Uni­ver­sity College (Norway). England and Spain also have a good chance of winning the title, according to the forecast.

On Friday, 11 June, Europe's men's football teams will start the European Championship a year later than planned. The favorite this time is France with a probability of winning of 14.8 percent. This is what an in­ter­na­tio­nal team of researchers consisting of An­dre­as Groll and Franziska Popp (both TU Dort­mund, Germany), Gunther Schauberger (TU Munich, Germany), Christophe Ley and Hans Van Eetvelde (both Ghent Uni­ver­sity, Belgium), Achim Zeileis (Uni­ver­sity of Innsbruck, Austria) and Lars Hvattum (Molde Uni­ver­sity College, Norway) has shown with the help of machine learning. Their forecast com­bines several statistical models for the teams' strengths with in­for­mation about the team structure (such as market value, number of Champions League players, club match performance of individual players) as well as socio-economic factors of the country of origin (population and gross domestic product).

100,000 simulations

With the predicted values from the researchers' model, the entire European Championship was simulated 100,000 times: match by match, following the tournament draw and all UEFA rules. This results in probabilities of all teams advancing to the different tournament rounds and ultimately winning the European Championship. The favorite this time is France with a probability of winning of 14.8 percent, followed by England (13.5) and Spain (12.3). Of course, the tournament is not over – this is also shown by the relatively narrow gaps in the win probabilities at the top, plus of course the already low probability even of the top nations. "It is in the nature of forecasts that they can also be wrong – otherwise football tournaments would be very boring. We provide probabilities, not certainties, and a probability of winning of 15 percent also means a probability of 85 percent of the team not winning the tournament," says Achim Zeileis. So far, however, the predictions have been quite successful: Achim Zeileis' Innsbruck model, which is based on adjusted odds from the betting providers, was able to correctly predict the EURO final in 2008, as well as the World and European Champions Spain in 2010 and 2012, among others. This year, it will be used as part of a more comprehensive combined model developed by the teams led by An­dre­as Groll (TU Dort­mund), Gunther Schauberger (TU Munich) and Christophe Ley (Ghent Uni­ver­sity), which surpassed the forecasting quality of the betting providers at the 2018 World Cup.

Germany in the tournament

It is no secret that the German national team has been drawn into a particularly challenging group this year: "There are three very strong teams in Group F, in­clu­ding the current world champion France and the European Champion Por­tu­gal, both also finalists at EURO 2016, plus Germany," explains An­dre­as Groll: "Compared to the top teams in the other groups, the probability of making it to knockout stage is lower in this group. But those who do make it have a very good chance of advancing further." The forecast sees a probability of 85.3 percent for both Germany and Por­tu­gal to make it to the round of 16; for France, the probability is slightly higher at 89.7 percent. Ger­ma­ny's probability of becoming European Champion is 10.1 per cent, well below that of the favorites and exactly on a par with Por­tu­gal.

Aufnahme eines Mannes, der an einen Wellenbrecher gelehnt auf einer Tribüne steht © Roland Baege​/​TU Dort­mund
Prof. An­dre­as Groll leads the field of work Statistical Methods for Big Data at the Department of Sta­tis­tics of the TU Dort­mund.

Machine learning

The researchers' calculation is based on four sources of in­for­mation: A statistical model for the strength of each team based on all in­ter­na­tio­nal matches of the past eight years (Ghent Uni­ver­sity), another statistical model for the strength of the teams based on the betting odds of 19 in­ter­na­tio­nal bookmakers (Uni­ver­sity of Innsbruck), further in­for­mation about the teams, for example market value, and their coun­tries of origin, such as population size (TU Dort­mund and TU Munich), as well as detailed ratings of the individual players and their individual performances both in their home clubs and national teams (Molde Uni­ver­sity College). A machine learning model com­bines the other four sources and optimizes them step by step. The researchers trained the model on historical data, as An­dre­as Groll explains: "We fed the model with the current data for the past four European Championships, i.e., between 2004 and 2016, and compared it with the actual outcomes of all matches in the respective tournaments – so the weighting of the individual sources of in­for­mation for the current tournament will ideally be very precise.” In any case, we will find out how well the model performed by the evening of 11 July at the latest.

The entire forecast with interactive graphics


Contact for further in­for­mation:

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Cam­pus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Cam­pus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Cam­pus to South Cam­pus by car, there is the connection via Vo­gel­pothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Cam­pus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. There are two stations on North Cam­pus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Cam­pus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Cam­pus and offers a direct connection to South Cam­pus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity are spread over two campuses, the larger Cam­pus North and the smaller Cam­pus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

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