Monday, September 7, 2009

UEFA - Group Analysis

UEFA is a beast so I'm separating it into multiple articles. This one is just going to be looking at each group and discuss the race for the top two. The next article, to be published shortly, will focus on the playoff round in greater detail and look at how likely each group and team is to finish as the worst second-place team. I'll also do a preview of each game Tuesday.

Group 1

Denmark are in great shape up 4 points with 3 matches to go. Their schedule is favorable as they travel to Albania this week and their last two matches, where a draw will most likely be good enough, are at home. Zlatan's last-minute goal was probably the most important of his life (and he's had a lot!) as it put Sweden in a great position to make the playoff. They are a point behind second-place Hungary but still have matches against Malta and Albania. Hungary is ahead but has the hardest schedule - they play Portugal at home Wednesday then travel to both Portugal and Denmark next month. Portugal are now on the outside looking in, but a win could put them back in it.

Poisson Percentages:
To win group:
Denmark - 96.4%
Sweden - 3.1%
Portugal - 0.3%
Hungary - 0.1%

To finish 2nd and make the playoff round:
Sweden - 48.6%
Portugal - 39.0%
Hungary - 4.1%
Denmark - 3.1%

To finish 2nd, but not make the playoff:
Portugal - 2.9%
Sweden - 1.9%
Hungary - 0.4%

Group 2

With the win over Greece, Switzerland is now in prime position to win the group. The Euro 2008 co-hosts are no lock, however. Switzerland plays at Latvia on Wednesday and a Latvian win would put the two teams even on points with similar goal differentials - they'll be tied there if Latvia win by a goal. The Greeks are still in it as well and have an easiest schedule with matches at Moldova, at home against Latvia and hosting Luxembourg the last matchday. It's still wide open.

To win the group:
Switzerland - 64.6%
Greece - 28.8%
Latvia - 6.6%
Isreal - 0.1%

Good enough 2nd:
Greece - 53.5%
Switzerland - 28.6%
Latvia - 16.2%
Isreal - 1.4%

Second but out:
Latvia - 0.1%
Greece - 0.1%

Group 3

Slovakia are in the driver's seat but that could change this Wednesday. They are two clear of the Northern Irish with a match in hand. A loss in Belfast puts things back in play though. Poland and Slovenia are still in the hunt as well. They play Wednesday with the winner in the hunt for first if the Slovaks slip up and second if Northern Ireland do.

To win group:
Slovakia - 63.7%
Slovenia - 12.0%
Northern Ireland - 11.6%
Czech Republic - 5.3%

Second and in the playoff:
Northern Ireland - 25.5%
Czech Republic - 19.2%
Slovenia - 15.6%
Poland - 15.0%
Slovakia - 14.9%

Group 4

Germany have a leg up on Russia as they're one point clear. They also face Azerbaijan at home while Russia travel to Wales. Next month they travel to Moscow in what appears to be the match that decides the group. If the Germans get any result there they'll go through, but for Russia a win puts them through. The loser of this duel goes to the playoff round.

To win group:
Germany - 75.3%
Russia - 24.7%

To finish second and make playoff:
Russia - 75.0%
Germany - 24.6%
Finland - 0.3%

Group 5

Spain are in a dominant position up 6 with three matches to go and clearly the class of the group. Bosnia-Herzegovina are poised for second, 4 points clear of Turkey. B-H and Turkey play in Zenica Wednesday where anything but a win for Turkey sees them out.

To win group:
Spain - 99.95%
Bosnia-Herzegovina - 0.05%

To finish second and make playoff:
Bosnia-Herzegovina - 70.6%
Turkey - 28.2%

To finish second but fail to make playoff:
B-H - 1.0%
Turkey - 0.1%

Group 6

England are in control here with a 4 point lead and a match in hand. Croatia would need a win at Wembley stadium to have any chance, but it likely wouldn't matter anyway. More importantly for Croatia, they are looking over their shoulder at the Ukraine who are 3 points out of second but have a match in hand. Ukraine's big win over Andorra, including two goals on stoppage-time penalties in the second half, helped them as it closed the goal-differential gap.

To win:
England - 99.0%
Croatia - 0.6%
Ukraine - 0.4%

To finish second and make playoff round:
Croatia - 69.4%
Ukraine - 29.5%
England - 0.8%
Belarus - 0.2%

To finish second but fail to qualify:
Ukraine - 0.1%
Croatia - 0.1%

Group 7

The draw by France means that Wednesday's match in Serbia is a must-win if they want to win the group. The good news for les bleus is that they are almost certain to make the playoff if they don't pull off the group win.

To win:
Serbia - 69.65%
France - 30.35%

To finish second and make playoff:
France: 67.2%
Serbia: 30.2%
Romania: 0.8%
Austria: 0.5%
Lithuania: 0.5%

To finish second but not make playoff:
France: 0.65%
Romania: 0.2%

Group 8

Italy didn't impress Saturday, but as they say 3 points is 3 points. They remain a point clear of Ireland with a match in hand. That match in hand will be played Wednesday when they host Bulgaria. They really could use the three points as they travel to Dublin next month. Bulgaria really need a win to get into the hunt for second. They are 5 points behind with this match in hand.

To win group:
Italy - 87.1%
Ireland - 10.5%
Bulgaria - 2.4%

To finish second and make playoff:
Ireland - 61.7%
Bulgaria - 26.0%
Italy - 10.0%

To finish second and miss playoff:
Ireland - 2.1%
Bulgaria - 0.2%

Group 9

The Netherlands have won the group. The race for second is mostly between Scotland and Norway. Unfortunately for the two of them, there is a big chance they won't have enough points to make the playoff even if they win second place. Macedonia playing surprisingly well and the Dutch domination have put both in a bad spot.

To win group:
The Netherlands - 100%

Second and in playoff:
Scotland - 14.6%
Norway - 5.1%
Macedonia - 0.1%

Worst Second-place team:
Scotland - 37.1%
Norway - 36.4%
Macedonia - 6.7%

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