Mathematicians predict just how likely England are to win Euro 2020 final 4 months ago

Mathematicians predict just how likely England are to win Euro 2020 final

Maybe this will calm your nerves...

Be honest, you didn't see this coming a few weeks ago did you. And yet here we are, in the final, and on the verge of history. Deep breaths everyone.


So whilst we're all a bag of nerves and have no idea how the final will pan out, lets looks at some good old fashioned maths to remind us that it is in fact coming home.

A purely data and stats-driven prediction obviously has its flaws, but on paper it looks like England are favourites, so I'm all ears.

Celebrity maths teacher Bobby Seagull, of University Challenge fame, says that the odds are stacked in the Three Lions' favour against Italy.

Looking at the international records of both countries, he said: "Italy have only won four of their nine finals, so a 44 percent track record.

"While England, 1966, one out of one. We have a 100 percent track record. So the stats say it's coming home."

Erm, yeah. Thanks for that Bobby, although I think the data may be a tad skewed there.


But wait, there's more. And it's much more concrete this data.

Ray Douse, who is director at virtual maths tutoring service Maths-Whizz, gave some better statistical insight.

He told the Mirror: "With more than 55 years having passed since England's solitary win at a major senior football competition, is it a coincidence that the implied chance of England beating Italy on Sunday from the odds on Betfair is about 55 percent?

"What other guides do we have to assess the probability of an England victory? Well, the head-to-head record of England against Italy is not encouraging.


"In eight meetings between the teams in World Cup and UEFA European Championships, Italy have won seven and lost only one, so that suggests England's probability of winning is only 12.5 percent.

But looking beyond the head-to-head record, there is hope for England. Douse added: "Goldman Sachs have a very sophisticated model that has processed data from 6,000 matches since 1980 to conclude that England have a 58 percent chance of beating Italy.

"The only trouble with that model is that it was predicting Belgium to win the Euros until they got beaten."

Meanwhile Oxford professor Dr Tom Crawford agrees that on paper, England are the favourites.

He said: "Crunching the numbers, we see that Italy have had a much more difficult route to the final than England in terms of the quality of teams they have faced.

"On average, England have faced a team 11 places below them in the European rankings, whereas Italy's opponents have only been four places worse off.

"As for the final, with home advantage and a European ranking three places higher than the Italians, the expectation is that England should have more than enough to finally bring football home on Sunday. Come on England!"

However, as the age old saying goes, football is played on grass not paper. As we all know, anything can happen in 9o minutes. Or 120 minutes. Or longer....