Tuesday, September 8, 2009

UEFA 09/09/09 Match Discussion and Predictions

Tomorrow should bring some great matches. Without further ado, I'll start going through them.

Group 1

Malta - Sweden
Poisson predictions:
Malta win: 4%
Draw: 12%
Sweden win: 84%

Sweden need a win in this one. Fortunately, they should get it.

Albania - Denmark
Albania win: 10%
Draw: 24%
Denmark win: 66%

The Danes maintain their dominant position with a likely win.

Hungary - Portugal
Hungary win: 20%
Draw: 27%
Portugal win: 54%

This is the match of the group this week. Let's assume Sweden gets the win in Malta. A draw would put Hungary a point behind the Swedes. Unfortunately, this is not good news because the Hungarians still must travel to Portugal and then Denmark to wrap things up while the Swedes travel to Denmark and then host Albania. It's hard to see them catching up given those schedules so it's definitely a must win for Hungary. For Portugal it's pretty similar. They would go four points behind Sweden with a draw. With a win they stay two behind. Fortunately, this is a better position than Hungary a point behind because the Portuguese host Hungary and then host bottom-dwelling Malta. Portugal have a pretty good chance if they can manage to win out, but they absolutely need a win this Wednesday.

Expect to see a lot of end-to-end football if the score is tied late.

Group 2

Israel - Luxembourg
Israel win: 86%
Draw: 12%
Luxembourg win: 2%

Israel's slim chances turn to none if they can't get this win.

Moldova - Greece
Moldova win: 11%
Draw: 23%
Greece win: 66%

After failing to get a result in the Alps last week, a win would really help Greece here. A Switzerland slip up would put winning the group back in play and a Swiss win would put the Greeks into a dominant position for second place. If Greece fail to get a win here it makes next month's match against Latvia more interesting and possibly a must-win.

Latvia - Switzerland
Latvia win: 36%
Draw: 26%
Switzerland win: 38%

Once again Switzerland find themselves involved in the match of the week for the group. I suppose that's a good thing as it means you are at least in the mix. A win for the Swiss means they've pretty much won the group. A draw combined with a likely Greek win means they'll still have work to do. A win for Latvia turns the whole group on its head as these two teams and Greece will be tied with 16 points. For Latvia, anything but a win turns their trip to Athens next month into a must-win if they want any chance at the playoff.

Group 3

Czech Republic - San Marino
Czech Republic win: 99%
Draw: 1%
San Marino win: 0%


Northern Ireland - Slovakia
Northern Ireland win: 60%
Draw: 19%
Slovakia win: 21%

Northern Ireland must win to have a shot at winning the group. They also really need the points for second-place position. According to the model, they would have about a 1 in 3 shot at making the finals with a win, but just a 1 in 10 chance with a draw. Slovakia are still the favorite to win the group even with a loss, but a win puts them into a seriously dominant position at the top and a draw significantly improves their chances, mainly because it keeps Northern Ireland behind them.

Slovenia - Poland
Slovenia win: 34%
Draw: 30%
Poland win: 35%

The model obviously thinks this should be a great match. The situation is pretty simple. A win for either and that team is in a pretty good position to finish second in the group while the loser is pretty much eliminated. A draw isn't all that great and both teams would have an outside shot at second.

Group 4

Liechtenstein - Finland
Liechtenstein win: 18%
Draw: 28%
Finland win: 54%

Finland need a win and a Russian loss to put second into play.

Wales - Russia
Wales win: 16%
Draw: 27%
Russia win: 57%

With Germany likely to get a win the Russians need a win here to stay in the hunt for top of the group.

Germany - Azerbaijan
Germany win: 97%
Draw: 3%
Azerbaijan win: 0%

German fans might as well watch the match in Cardiff.

Group 5

Bosnia-Herzegovina - Turkey
Bosnia-Herzegovina win: 33%
Draw: 22%
Turkey win: 57%

For Turkey this is a must win. They are currently 4 back of the Bosnians (Bosnia-Herzegovinans?). While the schedule is favorable - the last match the Turks host Armenia while B-H welcome Spain - they will almost certainly run out of time if they don't pull back to within a point Wednesday night. For the home side, a draw is a good result and a win puts them mathematically in second and certainly into the playoff round.

Armenia - Belgium
Armenia win: 16%
Draw: 27%
Belgium win: 57%

Neither team has any shot at the playoff round.

Spain - Estonia
Spain win: 97%
Draw: 3%
Estonia win: 0%

The champions of Europe will mathematically clinch the group Wednesday night.

Group 6
Andorra - Kazakhstan
Andorra win: 10%
Draw: 23%
Kazakhstan win: 67%


Belarus - Ukraine
Belarus win: 42%
Draw: 21%
Ukraine win: 37%

This is a very important match for the Ukraine. They are down three points on Croatia with a match in hand, but that match is at home against England next month. Ukraine and Croatia finish with similar matches - at Andorra and at Kazakhstan respectively. Anything less than three points here and they force themselves into a must-win versus England.

England - Croatia
England win: 46%
Draw: 30%
Croatia win: 23%

England get the chance to deliver a little payback for Croatia keeping them out of Euro 2008 and mathematically clinch the group with a win. For Croatia, any result would be great and give them a leg up on Ukraine for the second spot.

Group 7

Faroe Islands - Lithuania
Faroe Islands win: 7%
Draw: 24%
Lithuania win: 69%


Romania - Austria
Romania win: 74%
Draw: 17%
Austria win: 9%

Austria maaaaaaaybe has a shot at second with a win and a loss by France. Not really though.

Serbia - France
Serbia win: 36%
Draw: 30%
France win: 34%

Serbia are currently four clear of France, but the last two matches are much easier for the French. They have the Faroe Islands and Austria, both at home, whilst Serbia hosts Romania and travels to Lithuania. With a win Serbia is mathematically in. A draw and they're still heavy favorites to win the group. A win by France and it flips around and the French become slight favorites to qualify without the pesky playoff.

Group 8

Montenegro - Cyprus
Montenegro win: 55%
Draw: 22%
Cyprus win: 23%


Italy - Bulgaria
Italy win: 39%
Draw: 35%
Bulgaria win: 25%

This is a crucial match for these two teams and Ireland. Ireland currently sit second having played an extra match. Italy are only one point up and Bulgaria 5 behind the Irish. Next month Italy travels to Dublin. Anything less than a win for the Azzurri and they go into the Ireland match needing a result. Bulgaria need a win to compete for second.

Group 9

Scotland - The Netherlands
Scotland win: 11%
Draw: 25%
Netherlands win: 64%

Scotland need a win here mainly because without it they are in serious jeopardy of finishing as the worst second-place team.

Norway - Macedonia
Norway win: 66%
Draw: 23%
Macedonia win: 11%

Either team would have a very slim chance at making the playoff with a win.

Biggest Matches:

For automatic qualification, here are what I view as the most important matches of the day with the most important first:
1. Serbia - France
2. Italy - Bulgaria
3. Latvia - Switzerland

Some groups the best team is a lock or close to it and the interesting competition is for second. These are the biggest of those matches in my view:
1. Hungary - Portugal
2. Belarus - Ukraine
3. Bosnia-Herzegovina - Turkey

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